The new trends are all about adaptation and giving customers what they want.

In 2020 the effects of Covid rippled out into all parts of the economy and as a result of drastic shifts in the way humans went about doing even the most menial things, almost every industry had to learn to pivot and sometimes even reinvent itself. The way people dine was one of those fundamental shifts - we saw food delivery services from high-end hotels and well-known restaurants including some Michellin starred establishments.

This year's trends are a result of those shifts as they continue to ripple out and morph the Food and Beverage industry as we know it. Looking ahead, one thing is for sure - many people are quite over food delivery and DIY meal kits. Things need to change.

Healthy Food is Back

As a consequence of the pandemic, people seem to care a lot more about what they put into their bodies. This is especially so in 2021, as some people look back, they also look down to realize how much weight they've gained over the past year. In 2021, they'll want to turn that around.

Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants shared data with us that showed how they have seen a shift away from comfort food, towards more healthy dishes with fresher ingredients and even more vegan and vegetarian options.

Kimpton also tells us that we can expect to see more extensive use of healthful ingredients. Expect menus to start to contain things like healthy bowls of bulgur or farro, with roasted vegetables and mushrooms and punchy, herbal dressings. Freeze dried fruits and vegetables will also see a surge in popularity.

Another shift that we are seeing is the use of carob as an alternative to cocoa powder.

Local Is Here

Supporting local communities is always a good idea - especially in times like these where local economies are struggling. Even though sourcing locally may sometimes not make business sense in the short-term, we are all about setting ourselves as well as everyone around us to be able to be resilient and get through this.

Local producers tend not to produce the same volumes as the more global producers do, which means that their prices are generally higher than mass-produced products. However, considering the logistics, carbon footprints, freshness and the feel-good factor that you get in helping your local farmers, local sourcing is making more and more sense. It's worth it.

Can't Travel - Wine Not?

Food and drink can take our minds on fascinating journeys. It can bring back memories, as well as take us to places that we've never been before.

Kimpton predicts that wines from new regions will emerge from places that travelers had dreamed of going to in 2020 including Moldova, Croatia, Hungary, Morocco, Lebanon, South Africa and even Mexico.

This year, I have discovered Franciacorta aka ‘the other Champagne ... but from Italy', as well as other sparkling wines that use Champagne's méthode traditionnelle from places like Tasmania Australia.

White wine from Lebanon and Russia should also be something you jot down on your 'to drink' list for 2021. Be adventurous, wine not?

A 'Drinks Sommelier'

There are a lot of innovative cocktails in food & beverage outlets in hotels. Sometimes - too many! All of these stimuli in your mouth needs to be explained properly, lest it become just gustatory noise.

Since there's nowhere to go and nothing to do, telling a story is a fantastic way to connect with your guests in these crazy times. A drink sommelier does just that.

The cocktails at Kimpton Maalai Bangkok's Ms. Jigger all have back stories. Each and every one of them have been created during and influenced by Ms. Jigger’s journey as she trots around the world.

But, who is Ms Jigger?

Dining with Options

Lockdowns have left bars and restaurants deserted. Only those who have been able to adapt have survived and like stand-alone bars and restaurants, we are seeing hotels follow suit, adapting in ways that they've never had to before. One of the ways we have seen hotels get creative is by turning their guest rooms into private dining areas, with some even going so far as to set up in-room hot-pots that guests can order and dine from.

Trends in 2021 are all about adaptation and bringing any sort of traveling experience that guests feel that they've been missing out on, to the guests in their establishments so that they can dream. Right now, people want to dream and there's no better way to taste a dream than through dining.