After a stressful 2020, many people have turned to food more than ever as a means of comfort, wellbeing and community. From cooking practices to changing attitudes toward health and the world we live in, you can expect many of the items on this list to become a permanent part of the culinary landscape even beyond 2021.A Return To ComfortIn response to all that has happened during the pandemic, this year has celebrated a forgotten approach to dining one that embraces the need for simpler, comforting and soul-nourishing cuisine. Born of quarantine cooking and making ends meet, 2020-21 found more and more people familiarising themselves with traditional everyday ingredients they already had on hand, and cooking age old, traditional recipes.A Greater Effort To Go Waste-FreeWith concerns of climate change on the rise, were more aware than ever of making eco-conscious purchasing decisions, making low- or zero-waste one of the most popular food trends of 2021. Going low-waste with food means drastically reducing unnecessary packaging (especially plastic) and repurposing food scraps that may have previously ended up in the bin. Instead of discarding chicken or fish bones, carrot tops, and broccoli stems, use them in broths and stocks. Try putting cauliflower leaves into some of your dishes. Transform day old veggies into sumptuous pestos or garnishes.Health Over Everything ElseInterest in the uniqueness of healthy foods and ingredients has increased, paving the way for superfoods and more novel food ingredients. Food and nutrients also play an integral role in maintaining overall mental and cognitive health. Eating foods and beverages that were sourced ethically and produced in a sustainable way is seen as essential to eating well. Quick, easy, and high-nutrient alternatives to solid food also continue to drive growth in the functional nutrition marketplace.Experiential Dining At HomeMore exclusive types of dining experiences in the dining roomthink tasting menus, appetisers in the living room followed by a three course sit down meal, cooking and baking together. Dining experiences at home that go above and beyond with more access to exotic ingredients, recipes and cuisines.Veganism And VegetarianismWhat many thought was a fad is now mainstream. People are reducing meat consumption, embracing plant-based diets, and going vegan or vegetarian. Driving this trend are millennials who are acutely aware of the impact meat consumption is having on the environment and how animals are treated in the process.FlexitarianismNot everyone is ready or willing to make the switch to a total plant-based diet, which is why the trend of flexitarian eating is also on the rise. The concept of being a flexitarian is simple: Meat becomes a once-in-a-while or only-on-the-weekends food rather than part of your regular meal rotation. Reducing meat consumption even slightly has still been shown to be overall better for the environment and general health, making this one of the biggest food trends for 2021.Say Cheers To More Alcohol-Free Drink OptionsAs Generation Z and Millennials begin to better understand the health risks of over-indulging in alcohol, many are choosing to put down the bottle. Sweet and savoury booze-free beverages are a rising food trend in 2021, which makes perfect sense with how customizable they are with the addition of intriguing herbs, fruits, vegetables and even floral notes to every sip. Believe it or not, alcohol-free drinks is the new trend. Companies now offer alcohol-free options that look pretty enough to pour in a glass and still feel fancy. Breweries are experimenting and producing more alcohol-free beers in response to growing demand.Spicing Up The PantryCooking and experimenting with spices, condiments and sauces is a big trend. Whether you make your own garam masala, chimichurri, sriracha, or even thai curry paste, adding pre-prepped flavour to simple ingredients means meals come together easier, and are often more exciting to eat. Plus, condiments often have long shelf lives, and can be stretched over a number of meals.Fusion CuisineFusion, or the mixing of cuisines, has such a bad rep that many serious foodies and culinary experts stay away from the term. Fusion cuisine has always been a thing in India. We were eating it long before the term was coined, or blacklisted, and long before there was such a thing as butter chicken pizza. India is famous for inventing dishes that combines elements of different culinary traditions that originate from different countries, regions, or cultures. Due to the lack of being able to try these at food establishments, home cooks have made this their own during the lockdown cooking various cuisines with local ingredients and pantry staples is a trend we dont want to let go off.Breads And Spreads2020 was the year we all learned how to bake homemade bread. From tangy sourdough to hearty rye to classic white, home-baked breads are sticking with us as an ongoing food trend in 2021. 2021 also introduced us to homemade and gourmet spreads and butters for absolutely any kind of bread. If you have gotten comfortable with almond and cashew butters, now is the time to seek out watermelon seed butter. The opportunities for spreads are truly endless!