Trendsetters: The baked goods and snacks that will shine in 2021

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

What's in store for 2021? Pic: GettyImages/CharlieAJA
What's in store for 2021? Pic: GettyImages/CharlieAJA

Related tags New product development Trends better for you vegan Sustainability upcycled snacks gluten free diet Non gmo

As the pandemic continues to upend life, the products that will stand out next year will be those that address the consumer’s need for comfort, immunity and mental health, according to Saage Insights 2021 Trend Report.

The predictions were drawn from the New York consumer insights agency’s inhouse knowledge and qualitative studies, including digital ethnographic interviews, conducted with US consumers throughout 2020.

Trend 1: Bringing life into your space

With consumers preparing for a winter and early spring indoors, attention remains focused on optimising homes and bringing the outside world in, physically and virtually.

Trendsetters: Fairfields and Brakes

All the beef without the bull


UK artisan crisp producer Fairfields Farm has launched its plant-based Rib of Beef Crisps to capitalise on the growing demand for vegan offerings that still offer a mighty meaty punch.

Made from hand-selected potatoes grown on Fairfields Farm just metres away from its purpose-built crisp factory in Wormingford in Essex – which uses renewable energy – the vegan variant offers the taste of a rich roast dinner in a bag without any of the bull.

“We’ve had so many requests to launch a roast beef flavour, however our vegan customers are very important to us, so we wanted to ensure that whatever we created would appeal to both meat eaters and those following a plant-based diet,”​ said Laura Strathern, co-founder of Fairfields Farm.

The Roast Rib of Beef Crisps join the family-run producers growing portfolio of snacks, which includes Bacon & Tomato, Lightly Sea Salted, Sweet Chilli, Seal Salt & Aspall Cyder vinegar, Sea Salt & Black Pepper, Cheese & Onion, Kelly Bronze Turkey and Adnam’s Ghost Ship & Lentil Bites, available online and at EofE Co-op and online for an RRP of £18 for 12 x 150g bags.

Wishing you a vegan Christmas


UK foodservice supplier Brakes has rolled out a range of cakes and desserts aimed at helping operators capitalise on the burgeoning vegan sector, which has grown by more than 400% in the past five years.

Leading the range is a Vegan Jaffa Cake – the first in foodservice – complemented by another four classic treats that feature a modern twist, including Vegan Salted Caramel Cake, Vegan Choc Fudge (Pre-cut), Vegan Cherry & Chocolate Dessert and Vegan Jam Roly Poly.

Vanessa Baker, Category Manager Bakery, Desserts & Ice Cream at Brakes, said: “We’ve developed a fantastic range of vegan products, which do not compromise on taste or quality and will help our customers take a slice of this increasingly lucrative sector,” said Vanessa Baker, category manager, Bakery, Desserts & Ice Cream at Brakes.

“The growth in vegan products has been exponential and it shows no signs of stopping. It’s important, particularly in these difficult times, that we help our customers to capitalise on as many opportunities as possible. Having a great vegan range is an important part of that.  However, the beauty of these products is that while they are suitable for vegans, they offer the best of all worlds: a great tasting product that consumers will love, and which will be a fantastic addition to any menu in its own right – with the added advantage that they are also suitable for vegans.”

Baker continued, “Our research has shown a growing trend towards a familiar, nostalgic comfort food which has been driven by COVID-19.  Our flagship vegan Jaffa Cake is perfect for that.”

Trend 2: Immunity and protection

Awareness remains fixated on health and safety, driving a desire for products that promise the highest level of protection, purification, and immune support.

Trendsetter: Clio Snacks

Holistic health


Clio Snacks – the fresh snacking brand behind the world's first Greek yoghurt bar wrapped in chocolate – has introduced a line of Less Sugar bars.

With 60% of adults actively taking steps to boost their health, the sugar content is the number two decision driver of snacks behind protein count.

The Less Sugar bars – featuring Clio’s much-loved cheesecake-like textures in Mixed Berry and Peach flavours – contain only 100 calories and 1g of sugar, along with 8g of protein.

"We are thrilled to launch our Less Sugar bars, allowing us to introduce Clio to new audiences, including diet-specific consumers who follow a Keto lifestyle as well as those who are sugar and calorie-conscious,”​ said Heather Cox, president of Clio Snacks.

“Consumers are increasingly looking for low to no sugar offerings and we are excited to deliver a reduced sugar line that meets this need without compromising on taste or indulgence.”

Clio Less Sugar bars are currently available online and at Walmart, with plans to expand into select grocery and natural stores in early 2021.

Trend 3: Mental health focus

The shared experience of going through a global pandemic is changing attitudes toward mental health, driving openness on social media and a desire for products and habits that support mental wellbeing.

Trendsetters: Cookie Project and Carlo’s Bakery

Taste good and feels good, too

The Cookie Project_Christmas Cookie Bundle 1

Focusing on personal mental health is important, but so too is helping to boost the sense of worth and wellbeing of those in need.

Certified social enterprise The Cookie Project has created a Christmas Cookie Bundle, with proceeds generating employment for Kiwis with a range of disabilities, including sensory, cognitive, physical and mental health.

Featuring two limited edition Christmas flavours, along with The Cookie Project’s original Signature Butter Cookies, the sweet treats are made with the finest Kiwi ingredients, including Lewis Road Creamery butter.

Each bundle contains:

  • Santa’s Snack: Signature Butter Cookies with Cranberries, Pistachios and Caramelised White Chocolate
  • Rudolph’s Reward: Signature Butter Cookies with Cinnamon, All Spice, Nutmeg and Chopped Peanuts
  • Frosty’s Favourite: Signature Butter Cookies

Customers are also invited to scan the QR code on the back of the Bundle to find out more about the baker who made their Christmas cookies, as well as leave a warm message of encouragement.

The Cookie Project’s Christmas Cookie Bundle is available for purchase now via its online store for an RRP of NZ$29.90.

The uplifting power of colour


TGI Fridays has teamed up with Buddy ‘Cake Boss’ Valastro and Carlo’s Bakery to add a bit of rainbow brightness to the day.

The Rainbow Cake features six perfectly stacked layers of brightly coloured vanilla cake filled with a sweet vanilla icing and covered with rainbow sprinkles.

Carlo’s Bakery’s popular cake can be purchased by the slice at TGI Fridays outlets for a limited time, or for the entire cake to bring home this holiday season.

“It’s the time for celebrations and if you’ve ever seen one of Buddy’s cakes, you know they’re definitely something to celebrate,”​ said Sara Bittorf, TGI Fridays’ chief experience officer.

Trend 4: Comfort

Our current stay-at-home lifestyle is driving desire for relaxing, low-key, feel-good products and sensorial entertainment.

Trendsetters: Rice Krispies and Little Debbie

A hug you can taste


There is nothing more comforting than a hug from a loved one, but since this is in short supply these days, the Snap, Crack and Pop brand has whipped up a hug you can eat.

Inspired by the homemade treats, Rice Krispies Treats Homestyle are 50% bigger than the brand’s 22g bar, packing in extra marshmallows into every bite. Available in Original and Chocolate flavours, the treats are individually wrapped in writable wrappers, enabling consumer to pen a little extra love with a handwritten note.

“We all have memories of our families and friends in the kitchen preparing for celebrations and gatherings, and Rice Krispies Treats Homestyle look and taste like those memorable, homemade treats we make together,”​ said Sarah Reinecke, director of Brand Marketing for Kellogg's Portable Wholesome Snacks.

“For anyone gathering virtually, we wanted to give our fans a treat to enjoy the recognizable homemade taste that hearkens the emotions time together creates.”

Rice Krispies Treats Homestyle will be available in grocery stores nationwide in January for an RRP of $3.19 for a six-bar box, or $4.98 for a 12-bar box.

Warm up your tastebuds


McKee Foods has added another limited edition Little Debbie seasonal Mini Donut to its lineup.

Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate Mini Donuts are made from hot chocolate flavoured cake donuts rolled in a mixture of powdered sugar and cinnamon spices, creating a baked version of everyone’s favourite winter beverage.

“The chocolate and cinnamon is a wonderful flavour combination, reminiscent of steaming mugs of hot chocolate with cinnamon sticks,”​ said Erica Harrison, Little Debbie product manager.

“The donuts bring a little bit of comfort to cold winter days.” 

The warming treats are packed 7.74oz bright blue resealable bags, decorated with cosy creatures frolicking in a winter wonderland.

Available for a limited period (December to February) for a RRP of $2.19.
Trend 5: The new face of food

Sustainability is driving innovation within the food industry and consumers are embracing better-for-the-world advancements, such as the plant-based movement, upcycled ingredients and green packaging.

Trendsetters: Seven Sundays and​ Good Dee’s

Upcycled sunflower seeds


Seven Sundays has introduced a grain-free ready-to-eat cereal formulated with upcycled sunflower protein, cassava, Medjool dates and coconut oil.

Seven Sundays Grain Free Sunflower Cereal is debuting at Whole Foods Market stores across the US in Berry, Cinnamon and Cocoa variants.

The Minneapolis-based producer partnered with the maker of cold-pressed sunflower oil to source the leftover meal, which is rich in fibre and protein but is typically wasted or used as animal feed.

“We wanted to create something with a short ingredients list, only clean ingredients,”​ said Hannah Barnstable, founder of Seven Sundays.

“The driving force was our original mission, to clean up the cereal aisle, and we felt we could have a real impact on traditional boxed cereal.”

The brand – launched in 2011 – today offers a range of muesli varieties featuring nuts, seeds, fruits, whole grains and organic honey in more than 5,000 retail outlets nationwide.

No gluten, no preservatives, no guilt

Good Dees

Good Dee’s newest product is a Devil’s Food Cake baking mix, which maintains all the elements for a devilishly good treat but with none of the guilt.

According to the producer, the mix produces a  rich, moist cake that is ‘an absolute game change in the keto and gluten free market’.

Made with organic coconut flour and only containing 2g of net carbs per slice, it’s sweetened with allulose and monk fruit extract, making it a wholesome diet-friendly extravagance.

“This cake is not only a healthier way to hit those sweet cravings, it also makes for a splendid treat on occasions. Food sensitivities shouldn’t keep you from enjoying your food. With our devil’s food cake mix, you can indulge once again,”​ said a brand spokesperson.

Available from Good Dee’s online shop and on Amazon.

Trend 6: Retro throwbacks

What’s old is new again, with the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s pop culture sparking joy with consumers of all ages.

Trendsetters: McVitie’s and Kellogg’s

British icons


pladis is raising the snack bar with the rollout of four quintessentially British, dessert-inspired  variants of its bestselling biscuit bands.

McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Digestives take on a fruity form with Strawberry Cheesecake and Lemon Drizzle flavours, while  McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Hobnobs incorporate a touch of indulgence in Chocolate Brownie and Sticky Toffee Pudding variants.

The limited edition McVitie’s British Icons range is targeted at consumers between the ages of 25 and 40, and is also expected to drive frequency to the biscuit aisle by McVitie’s fans of all ages.

“McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives and McVitie’s Chocolate Hobnobs are two of our star performers – and you’d be hard-pushed to find a UK shopper who’s never tried one of these iconic biscuits,”​ said Emma Stowers, brand director for McVitie’s at pladis UK&I.

“During 2020 these brands proved more popular than ever, as shoppers enjoyed many more ‘hot drink moments’ at home. In fact, sales for the two brands grew by 35% between March and September .

“Innovation is crucial when it comes to keeping shoppers engaged with what’s on offer in the biscuit aisle. This is particularly important for younger shoppers who are increasingly seeking unusual and exciting flavour experiences. We’ve got a track record of success with introducing new formats and flavours to our bestsellers and we can’t wait to see what shoppers think of these exciting, new additions.”

The McVitie’s British Icons range is now available in Asda for an RRP of £1.59, with a rollout across other major retailers – including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons – as well as in convenience and wholesale in January.

Packaging will be recyclable through pladis’ partnership with Terracycle.

Bowl and spoon not required


Two iconic Kellogg's brands are stepping out in a fresh format for cereal lovers.

The breakfast-inspired bars – featuring the brand beloved Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes in convenient hand-held form– are bound to satisfy cravings for a cereal crunch throughout the day.

These bars are made with cereal pieces and are equal to a half serving of cereal (by weight).

“At Kellogg's, we’re always looking to innovate and deliver new experiences that our fans desire, and we know breakfast isn't the only time people munch on cereal,”​ said Sarah Reinecke, senior director of Brand Marketing.

“Whether you’re a cereal-loving kid or just a kid at heart, Kellogg’s Cereal Bars offer a whole new way to enjoy Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes wherever your day takes you.”

Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and Kellogg’s Froot Loops Cereal Bars are available in retailers across the US in 6, 18 and 36-count boxes.

Trend 7: Living with the pandemic

Consumers are adapting to pandemic life with habit shifts that will influence the future, from the rapid adoption of ecommerce to being more aware of the environment and those around them.

Trendsetters: Nunbelievable and Two Magpies

Making a difference


Nunbelievable is on a mission to provide 10 million meals in three years. The handcrafted baked goods producer is matching proceeds for every single cookie sold to one meal for those in need.

The New York-based company was founded in 2019 by two entrepreneurs who were inspired by a group of nuns who devoted their lives to provide meals for the hungry.

Nunbelievable is focused on giving back to the community, by donating a portion of proceeds to soup kitchens across America.

“When we created the company, our mission was to give back to those in need in our local communities, while creating delicious, artisanal baked goods we can feel good about,”​ said  Nunbelievable co-founder & CEO Bryan Janeczko.

“In our first year of business, thanks to the continued support of our customers, we have been able to provide over 200,000 meals to people in need.”

All its products are made from 100% natural, non-GMO ingredients, are free from artificial flavours, added preservatives and certified kosher.

Traditional cookie varieties include Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin and Double Chocolate Chip (gluten-free). Sugar free, keto-friendly cookies and snack size shortbread will be coming to market in early 2021.

Nunbelievable also a Corporate Gifting service, offering boxes containing 25, 100 or 200+ cookies delivered directly to the recipients doorstep.

According to co-founder & CMO Kuda Biza, it’s truly the gift that keeps on giving. “Not only will they receive a box of sweet treats, but they can also get to feel good, knowing that Nunbelievable will donate multiple meals to people in need.”

Nunbelievable individually wrapped cookies are available online, with an RRP ranging from $17.99 (6-pack) to $29.99 (12-pack).

Celebrate in style


Two Magpies Bakery has created a range of showstoppers that will add a touch of luxury to any occasion.

Drawing on years of baking experience, the Suffolk-based bakery has devised a celebration cake menu featuring bestsellers like its Black Magic Cake (a chocolate fudge cake filled with milk and white chocolate ganache and decorated with a mirror glaze finish and edible gold leaf truffles) and Caramel Crackle Cake (four layers of pillow-soft vanilla sponge, salted caramel buttercream filling, topped with a caramel drip glaze and decorated with caramel macarons, pretzels, caramel chocolate and popcorn).

Other tempting choices include its Lemon Drop Cake, Raspberry Bloom Cake, Tonka Bean & Blackberry Cake, Classic Carrot Cake, Dreamy Apple Cake or the gluten-free Tiramisu Cake, ranging in RRP between £30 to £120.

Available to order on the bakery’s website in a drop-down menu, customers can tailor their flavour and size selections, and add special messages and candles.

Cakes are available for collection from Two Magpies outlets in Aldeburgh, Darsham, Norwich and Southwold.

Related news

Show more

Follow us


View more