Some food trends come and go. Others remain popular, inspiring us all to broaden our pallets, view our culinary choices with new eyes or even take a whole new approach to the eating experience.

Over the past year or so of the pandemic, the emphasis has fallen on making healthier food choices so we can boost our immune systems and protect our bodies. We’ve become more aware of how our food choices affect our planet. And we’ve also learned that simplifying our lives is often better.

All these factors have massively affected the food trends we’ve seen so far in 2020 and 2021. With this in mind, here are the top 5 UK food trends that we believe you need to know about.

1. Meal prep

Now that the kids have returned to school or university and many of us have returned to the office, our lives have become busier than ever. We also want to make healthier choices and save money at the same time. The answer is meal prep, the ongoing trend that looks set to stay for the near future.

The concept is simple- just cook and prepare your foods beforehand then store them effectively in the fridge, freezer or even vacuum packs then eat and enjoy at your leisure.

By doing so, you’ll stop choosing those unhealthy, highly processed, additive-laden pre-made meals and can make healthier choices for the whole family. It also helps you save money on eating out - when you have prepared your meals in advance, you can just grab what you need and reduce unnecessary expenses.


2. Plant-based diet

With the recent popularity of Netflix documentaries like Game Changers and Seaspiracy and a greater awareness of how our food choices affect the environment and our health, the plant-based food trend will continue to grow in 2021.

The statistics say it all. Sales of plant-based foods grew by an astonishing 243% in 2020 alone with “...nearly 31% more shoppers buying foods from the ‘meat and dairy alternatives’ category for the first time,” according to data experts, Dunnhumby Beyond.

Whether we’re making these changes to improve our health, protect animal welfare or reduce climate change, one thing is clear. Businesses will adapt to our needs and deliver

more plant-based options, a wider range of milk alternatives such as oat milk and even more ready-to-eat vegetarian and vegan foods.

3. Sugar-free foods

Have you explored the no-sugar or low-sugar trend yet? If not, perhaps now it’s time.

More Brits than ever are looking for low-sugar or sugar-free alternative food treats, according to research conducted by Mintel. Because customers don’t want to compromise on taste, we’ll continue to see a rise in foods naturally sweetened with ingredients such as raisins, figs and Stevia.

These healthier ingredients allow us to keep indulging in our favourite foods like snack bars (Nakd Bars), Cherry Bakewell tarts (Waitrose) or even no-sugar chocolate (Lindt Excellence) whilst still taking care of our health. 

4. Alcohol-free drinks

Sales of alcohol-free drinks and ‘mocktails’ continue to increase post-pandemic as people aim to reduce their alcohol consumption. According to research from YouGov, as many as 62.5% of adults in the UK have tried these alternatives with 25% considering themselves regular drinkers.

These low-calorie, high-quality beverages are just as fancy and tempting as the usual kind yet ditch the alcohol in favour of health-promoting ingredients such as CBD oil and botanicals.

Will it be the low-sugar, low-calorie Clean Gin, refreshing Punchy Peach, Ginger and Chai or even Heineken Zero? The choice is yours!

5. Gut-friendly foods

Choosing foods that take care of our digestive health isn’t a new trend, but again, it’s one that looks set to stick around. As we become more aware of the role that gut health plays in our immunity and overall wellbeing, we’ll continue to choose foods that take care of our gut health and avoid those that don’t.

We’ll continue to enjoy fermented foods like live yoghurt, Kombucha, Kefir, Miso and Sauerkraut, avoid gluten and other gut triggers and continue to put our health at the top of our list of priorities.


The recent COVID pandemic has further increased our awareness of how our food choices can affect our overall health and wellbeing. Trends such as meal prep, plant-based diet, gut-friendly foods and sugar-free, alcohol-free alternatives to our regular indulgences look set to change the stage and allow us to have our cake and quite literally, eat it too!