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Report: Oat Milk, Nashville Chicken, Kimchi Surging in Popularity

Kerry Group recently released its 2021 Taste Trends report, highlighting food and beverage trends that are gaining traction in several regions worldwide.

The annual report aims to highlight the key ingredients and tastes currently influencing consumer demand.

The report noted trends from regions like Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, noting, for example, that European consumers are as adventurous as ever, seeking bold flavors like wasabi and sriracha. Yet, the report findings regarding the U.S. and Canada noted multiple trends that truly seem to be taking root with customers, such as the popularity of oat milk, as well as Korean barbecue.


One concept that’s virtually universal in its popularity these days is comfort food – be it barbecue chicken, mac and cheese, or items like chocolate, peanut butter, or caramel.

“In the past year, we have seen trends shift and accelerate due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” noted Leigh-Anne Vaughan, global strategic marketing director of Taste, in a press release associated with the Kerry report. “A taste for nostalgia has emerged, with consumers gravitating toward comforting and familiar food and beverages, such as cotton candy and cookie dough.”

Meanwhile, the Kerry report also indicated that health-conscious consumers are demanding products with less sugar. Perhaps the most eye-opening stat the report unearthed was this: oat milk’s popularity has exploded, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 385% between 2018 and 2020.


Other noteworthy findings (regarding North American consumers) from the 2021 Taste Trends report include:

  • Nashville barbecue has grown by 80% on U.S. menus over the past year
  • 50% of consumers say they love trying new non-dairy products
  • 48% of North American salty snack consumers liked the idea of a Korean Kimchi seasoned snack
  • 46% of restaurant operators say they’re having the most success with comfort foods these days
  • 45% of consumers associate ‘relaxing’ with drinks featuring floral flavors, like lavender
  • Sriracha is now on 13% of U.S. menus, growing by a 5% CAGR between 2017 and 2020
  • Between 2018-20, new product launches that featured basil experienced a 3% compound annual growth rate

“Consumers are looking for excitement, and are drawn toward enticing and visually impactful food and beverages to disrupt the monotony of day-to-day life,” Vaughan concluded. “They are exploring the world through their taste buds, in order to seek adventure.”