R&D team members
Did you predict ingredients like mushrooms, coconut and jackfruit to grow by leaps and bounds? At Campbell, our experts track trend evolution, it’s not only part of our work, but also part of our passion for food, nutrition, cooking and innovation. What new or emerging cooking style, kitchen gadget, global flavor or specific ingredient will win over consumers? This month, Campbell experts share the trends they are watching into 2021.
Food & Flavor: Chickpeas & Extreme Heat
Chef Erika Ellefsen is watching chickpeas expand into more and more food and beverage categories. This inexpensive plant-based food provides fiber, protein, folate and other beneficial nutrients. It is a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine. The growing interest in chickpeas support shoppers’ focus on health and well-being, including in the snacking category. Chef Erika predicts chickpeas will expand into new product innovations globally—changing the way we perceive chickpeas today. She predicts you will begin to see chickpeas as an ingredient in several new snack products, fresh ready-to-eat products, beverage offerings, frozen desserts and even in some confections and baked goods.
Sriracha really brought heat into the mainstream market about 10 years ago, with hatch chilies coming into play about 3-5 years ago. The extreme heat trend uses spice techniques to incorporate new and exciting experiences with classic foods. Chef Erika expects extreme heat to expand as we see major brands play in this space and even some convenience stores adopting this trend. She predicts the extreme heat trend will continue to have more reach in innovations throughout the whole grocery store, such as in the snacks aisle, frozen foods sections, the beverage aisle (spicy immunity shots), and even the dried goods section of the grocery store (cans, pastas, boxed kits).
Nutrition: Food as Medicine
Elise Deming, Campbell nutritionist, is focusing more than ever on consumers viewing food as medicine. While this trend isn’t new, the ongoing pandemic has consumers reaching for anything that may boost physical, mental and emotional well-being. As research develops and uncertainty persists with the COVID-19 virus, she expects growing interest in functional ingredients, nutrients and dietary patterns tied to immunity, longevity and even mood to increase in popularity. Consumers may also be more willing to try products linked to better sleep, reduced anxiety and improved energy. She expects to see more food and beverages in grocery aisles showcasing functional ingredients as more consumers look to food to provide potential health benefits. While a healthy diet is an important part of overall health, Elise cautions to study ingredients, claims, and companies before purchasing or recommending products promising benefits. Finally, she reminds us that NOTHING is a miracle fix.
Kitchens: People Need Simple Solutions More Than Ever
A lot has changed since the onset of COVID-19—especially in kitchens across America. Novice cooks, some of whom previously relied heavily on takeout and grab-n-go meals, were forced to roll up their sleeves for cooking 101. Confident cooks learned to work with whatever ingredients they had access to, and many continue to feel the toll of preparing all meals at home. Sheila Miller, Test Kitchen Manager, sees more families are cooking at home and many are looking for new, easy recipes to switch up their meals. It’s a good time to lean on experts in the food industry to make the mealtime struggle easier with all-in-one dishes, that require little time and effort. She finds people want more one pot recipes, sheet pan recipes and slow cooker dinner ideas to make mealtime simpler.
Trends are an exciting part of food, nutrition and cooking. We will see what 2021 brings and if our predictions are correct. Check out a few of our team’s favorite products and recipes below.
“My favorite product in our extensive portfolio is Goldfish® Veggie Crackers, Sweet Carrot variety, and one of my favorite recipes when I am craving comfort food is Easy Skillet Lasagna.”—Erika Ellefsen, Campbell Culinary Chef II
“My favorite product is Pacific Foods® Organic Reduced Sugar Oat Original Beverage and one of my favorite recipes is Easy Sheet Pan Lasagna.”—Elise Deming, Campbell Nutrition Scientist
“My favorite Campbell’s recipe is Easy Chicken Pot Pie . I have many favorite products including Campbell’s® Cream of Chicken Soup, Swanson® Broth and Pepperidge Farm® Stuffing.”—Sheila Miller, Manager, Test Kitchen