DSC Top 10 Food and Nutrition Trends for 2021

food and nutrition trends

Staying on top of trends allows dietitians and nutrition students to be at the forefront of new and emerging nutrition news and conversations. Our Top 10 Food and Nutrition Trends for 2021 will give you plenty of ideas for your social media content, recipes and blog articles!

Rather listen as a podcast? Check out the Dietitian Success Podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify or Google podcast episode #40. 


Why is it important for dietitians to know about food and nutrition trends? 

Because trends dictate human behaviour! So if you find yourself on the right side of a trend (whether that be the niche you choose, social media content you post, blog articles you write or recipes you develop), trends allow you to be on the cusp of what’s new and exciting. This is often also what a large volume of people are searching for in the market! 

How did we develop this list? 

We used the Mintel 2021 Global Food and Drinks Report, coupled with our own perspective on how things are changing within the dietetics landscape.  


So without further ado, here are the DSC top 10 nutrition and food trends for 2021: 

Trend #1 – Holistic wellness 

This is something we’ve seen grow in the last few years. A larger and larger subset of people care more about their overall health and wellness. This has become especially noticeable with the rise of boutique fitness studios like SoulCycle, Peloton, the use of personal fitness tracking devices like FitBit and the influx of health food and beverages to enter the market in recent years. 

survey conducted by the International Food Information Council found that 54% of consumers across the board (and 63% of those 50+) care more about the healthfulness of foods and beverages they are consuming in 2020 than they did in 2010. 

However, there is a broader understanding that health is not just about weight or physical appearance, but also encompasses mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing too. 

This represents a massive opportunity for dietitians. The health and nutrition space is NOT oversaturated. If anything, there is more opportunity than ever before. 


Trend #2 – Mindful health 

This term was coined by the Mintel 2021 Global Food and Drinks Report and we love it! 

This trend speaks to the fact that there is a growing focus on mindful behaviours, but also a growing curiosity related to the intersections between mental health and nutrition. So, what role does food play in our mental wellbeing at both a micro level (vitamins and minerals) and a macro level (social, emotional and cultural wellbeing)? 

Ultimately, we believe that there’s only going to be more opportunity in this area – whether that be through mindful eating education, intuitive eating practices, brain health, mental health or the gut brain axis. 


Trend #3 – United by food 

Again, this term was coined by the Mintel 2021 Global Food and Drinks Report. To us, this idea speaks to how food brings us together as a society but also, respect for cultural foods and practices. It’s no secret that dietetics education and training has (and still is) largely centered around the “traditional Western diet”. And in fact, many of the dietary guidelines deem common cultural foods as “unhealthy”.  

This highlights the essential need for dietitians and dietetic students to continue learning and unlearning when it comes to food, culture and social justice. We can’t just counsel clients with a “one size fits all” approach and cultural respect should be at the foundation of our recommendations. 

If you haven’t already, make sure and check out this article from the New York Times – Is American Dietetics a White Bread World?


Trend #4 – Personalized health and nutrition 

According to a 2020 survey, almost 18% of Americans use an app or device to track their health, including physical activity, food consumption or overall wellness. This truly supports the concept that people are paying attention to wellness more than ever before, but that they’re also interested in a personalized approach. 

This is something to keep in mind if you are a dietitian or nutritionist in private practice – how can you leverage technology to provide someone with a personalized experience (check out podcast episode 25 for more information on this)? There are a number of great meal planning apps that can help you achieve this, including Eat Love ProThat Clean Life or Nutrium.  


Trend #5 – Weight is still top of mind  

As frustrating as this may feel for a lot of dietitians, the pursuit of weight loss is not going away anytime soon. In fact, a survey showed that active dieting has grown as a result of Covid. However, this highlights the important role that dietitians play in helping their clients navigate this confusing world full of misinformation and fad dieting. 

Trend #6 – Foods with function 

This trend is speaking to the growing interest in foods and ingredients that do more for our bodies than just simply providing macro- and micronutrients. More and more people are interested in added benefits, like prebiotics, probiotics, fermented foods, antioxidants, fibre and more! 

So, next time you’re creating a blog or recipe to share with your audience, think – how can I incorporate foods with function that my audience might be curious about?


Trend #7 – Letting go of coffee and alcohol 

This is an observation related to the growing interest in non-alcoholic beverages and caffeine-free options. Now, to be clear, coffee and alcohol still play a big role in the vast majority of the populations’ lives. However, the expanding non-alcoholic beer section at the liquor store, trendy new non-alcoholic wine subscription services popping up and seeing more coffee substitutes in the market (like chicory root ‘coffee’ or mushroom ‘coffee’) leave us questioning, could this be a true trend or just a fad?


Trend #8 – Environmental awareness 

We’re seeing this trend through both the prevalence of reusable food packaging, less reliance on single-use plastics and changing food habits. Particularly, more and more people are incorporating plant-based foods into their diets for both health and environmental reasons. This highlights a really interesting opportunity area for dietitians in both the sustainability and plant-based foods areas. 


Trend #9 – Gut health 

Gut health is everywhere! As research in this area continues to develop, more people are becoming aware of their gut health and the role that it plays in overall wellness. We’ve also seen this reflected in food and beverage products that tout “digestive benefits”, including prebiotics and probiotics like we’ve never seen before. 

This also highlights the need for continuing education for dietitians on gut health topics, including IBS and low FODMAP as these things will come up in practice, regardless of which area you are in. We have courses for both – check them out here!


Trend #10 – Virtual care 

The acceptance of virtual care has been an interesting side effect of Covid-19. It’s quite shocking to see how much has changed in only a year with regards to people’s comfort level with virtual consultation. There’s really no reason why a private practice dietitian needs to have a physical location anymore, as virtual care delivers a great client experience while being more affordable and flexible. We have a ton of content on starting a virtual private practice in our Business membership

Overall, staying on top of trends through tools like Mintel, Google Trends or Pinterest allow dietitians to be at the forefront of new and emerging nutrition news and conversations! 

Make sure to check out our amazing free resources here


Dietitian Success Center is THE continuing education resource for dietitians and dietetic students. Our mission is to make it easier for dietitians and dietetic students to build expertise. We do this through evidence based online courses for dietitians, community and ready-to-use client nutrition handouts. Plus – we give you the tools to start and grow your dietitian private practice! 

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