Food Trends 2021: 7 Important Trends To Watch in the New Year

What is the way forward?

The corona virus pandemic has successfully crossed the year with us. This was not in the cards because everyone was busy talking about what they will do “after Corona.” The Kenyan food market trends in 2021 will for the first time be guided by the effects of a global pandemic.

This is new because we have been used to lying to our bodies that we will take care of them for the whole year in the pretense of new year resolutions, only to resort to our junky ways of life and blame it on the luscious chicken displays in town and our busy schedules.

As we have seen in the best part of last year all the food trends were pointed towards eating healthy foods. This year will be no different especially with the news that our vaccine expired while the government was in KEMSA watching Tom and Jerry.

As we kick off the year, I have dug out a few important things we should expect in the food trends 2021 from the farms to the consumers.

1. More Focus on Immune Boosters

We have realized that in recent times, Instagram is no longer a place we go and immediately start feeling hungry as we salivate on those yummy-looking junk foods posted by vloggers.

No one wants to post themselves eating yams, pumpkins, and njahi on their timelines. No one wants to be seen eating omena and drinking porridge. Yet these are the foods that people are actually consuming more in the background.

I do not suggest you showcase them, but it is important to note that you are setting a food trend for the year 2021. If you are a farmer or food producer, take note of the trend and avail more foods that boost immunity such as fruits (especially lime, oranges, lemons, kiwi, tree tomato, pawpaw, grapes), seafood, garlic, ginger, honey, turmeric, vegetables, green tea, super seeds (especially sunflower, sesame, chia, pumpkin, flax).

2. The Yellow Beans Era

Yellow beans

If you don’t live under a rock, you have already seen the craze about yellow beans especially in Nairobi. It is no doubt the preferred type of beans by nearly everyone shopping for dry cereals because of its buttery flavor, swelling capabilities and more importantly doesn’t cause gassing in the stomach due to its low acid levels.

Commonly known as madondo, beans are typical occurrences in almost three quarters of Kenyan household menus and should not be ignored by those popularizing our food both online and offline. I have seen delicious yellow beans recipes on Cookpad and also on some Kenyan food blogs such as Kaluhi’s Kitchen and Nimoh’s Kitchen that makes me and many other Kenyans proud madondo trend setters.

The yellow beans trend is fast growing and anyone sane in the food industry should not ignore it. I have seen growing interest from smart farmers such as these ones here who have taken the cue to tap into the opportunity early enough. If you are a farmer, look no further this year.

3. Alternative Flour and Sugar

Let no one lie to you that porridge is baby food or a poor man’s food. I am in the business of selling flour as a small scale trader and I can assure you that the number of people opting for wimbi (millet flour), mtama/mawele (sorghum flour), mhogo (cassava flour) is astonishingly high.

Setting the food trend

This has made millers creative in their quest to satisfy this market by creating nutritious flour products through integration of ingredients in the flour such as omena (silver cyprinid), terere (amaranthus), karanga (peanuts), pumpkin seeds, and soy beans.

A good number of the city population is also moving away from refined maize flour to the traditional kisiagi flour which is more nutritious. Just check the number of people lining up for these products in healthy shops and traditional flour millers.

Everyone is also trying to move away from refined sugars to other alternatives. In this case, honey is the preferred natural alternative and is quickly gaining traction as the trending food in 2021. Over to you beekeepers.

4. Local Food Consumption

You probably noticed or heard about the influx of the pixie tangerine fruit in the local market late last year when most countries and airports went on lockdown due to COVID-19. This was a fruit that was not very popular in the local market.

Pixie Tangerines

With the pandemic, most countries have adopted strategies that would make them self-sufficient in feeding their population. This only means one thing to farmers. Target more local consumers.

We may argue about our local spending capabilities and other factors, but the train has left the station. We either adapt to the new market food trends 2021 or die complaining about our miseries.

There is a growing number of Kenyans willing to pay the extra coin just to get the best quality out there. If you doubt this, just look at the number of people opting for what used to be a reserve for the rich such as using taxis, flying, going for holidays, and even going out for coffee dates.

 5. Home Deliveries is the Thing

What the customer wants to hear in 2021

Who doesn’t like to be lazy on a boring Saturday afternoon and just dial for some ready-made food? The internet is here and the pandemic is also here; which means our lifestyles will never be the same again.

Most food trends in 2020 touched on increased online food delivery platforms and looking back, the trend lived up to expectations. 2021 will see even more activities inclined in home deliveries. Any food producer who will be rigid for their own reasons and wait for customers in their premises will end up Blakberrying or Kodaking themselves out of business.

6. Online Cooking Classes and Recipes

Everyone else who will not be ordering their foods online will be busy on their phones and computers trying to master a cooking skill or following an interesting recipe. If you are a content creator in love with food like me, you wouldn’t want to stay far from that segment of the population.

As more people work from home and continue observing high cleanliness standards due to the pandemic, it is expected that many will want to spare some time to sharpen their culinary skills and impress the masses. Masters, bring on the recipes.

7. Upward trend in Food Production

We all know how the pandemic came with the devil of job losses in the country. To most smart and able youths who did not go into self-pity, they went back to the basics and leased some land or revamped their idle land back home to do some serious farming.

Also Read: The Agricultural Paradox and The Failing Kenyan Coffee Farmer

If you see what I am seeing, then you know that this year will be a year of plentiful if mother nature embraces our hustler’s nation spirit of never say die. Restrictions of mobility will also mean companies sourcing raw materials from within and thus investing more on local farmers.

It is thus safe to say that the food trends in 2021 will be slowing us down from the fast-paced life we had been cruising on and bringing us down to the basics of healthy living.

Enjoy the new destination and let me know if there is an important food trend you think I omitted in this list.


  1. Anonymous said:

    Very informative piece. I think another trend that is as a result of the happenings of the “year before 2021” is that people have learnt to “stretch” their foods for purposes other than the obvious uses and save some coins while at it. For instance, many people have learnt to boil pineapple peels and add ginger and honey to make juice that can be enjoyed chilled or drinking the concoction while it’s hot to deal with flu.

    January 20, 2021
    • Good insights there. It is true people are becoming creative with food and having their home remedies ready. That is good for the overall health of the nation.

      January 21, 2021

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