10 of the biggest food trends for 2021– and where to find them in Suffolk
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Plant-based meat alternatives
Plant-based meat replacements certainly aren’t new - but 2021 will only continue to see their rise in popularity due to people’s changing diets and a growing concern for animal welfare and the environment. Often made from legumes, mushrooms or soya, plant-based meat alternatives such as burgers are now so advanced many can replicate the sensory properties of meat. Hank’s Dirty in Ipswich is well-known for its range of meat-free takeaway options which includes 'bacon double cheeseburgers', 'chicken filets', 'hot dogs' and 'doner kebabs'
As numbers of people continue working from home, many have started to utilise their slow cookers more - and this is something we can expect to see carrying on well into 2021. The beauty of using a slow cooker is that you can cook pretty much anything in it, hassle-free. From curries, casseroles and chillis, to whole joints of meat and even desserts, slow cookers are a godsend as people just want something tasty, warming and low-effort. Why not pay your local Suffolk butcher a visit, get yourself a fresh cut of meat, and cook it on low for around eight hours with your favourite spices and seasonings? You’ll soon have a fuss-free, tender, homecooked meal for the whole family.
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With social distancing and outdoor dining showing no signs of slowing down, street eateries, or ‘streateries’, are something we will see a lot more of in 2021, restrictions permitting. Following the success of Junkyard Market in both Ipswich and Norwich, many more outdoor food markets are bound to pop up over the course of the year. Even your local farmers markets – when those are up and running again – are a great chance to enjoy some authentic food and drink. Once restrictions have eased, why not take a trip to one of the various award-winning Suffolk Market Events’ markets? With pop-up events in various towns across the county, none of the vendors have travelled more than 50 miles to attend, ensuring all of the fare is as local as it comes.
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Relatively new to the British market, hard seltzers hit UK shelves back in 2020 and are ready to take 2021 by storm. Often called ‘hard water’, canned seltzer drinks are simply made from carbonated water, spirit alcohol and fruit flavouring. Usually 4% or 4.5% ABV, hard seltzers tend to be low in calories, gluten-free and vegan-friendly - making them one of the most inclusive tipples out there. Already on the trend here in Suffolk is Crafty River Brewing – a Bures-based brewery that has released its own range of hard seltzers. With many seltzers outselling some of the most popular beers across the pond, expect to see similar over here this year.
As Britain continues to work from home, people are still swapping their daily morning commute takeout coffee for their own brews at home. With more consumers look to be as ethical and eco-friendly as possible, expect more sustainable coffee brands to be at the forefront. To get your hands on some responsibly-sourced coffee right here in Suffolk, Butterworth and Sons is your go-to. The Bury St Edmunds-based roasters ethically source their coffee from around the world, involving as much direct trade as possible to ensure a fairer cup of the good stuff. It is then roasted right here in Suffolk.
Following on from last year’s big trend of fermented drinks such as kefir and kombucha, 2021 will see a rise in the popularity of fermented foods. Kimchi – which is a Korean side made from a selection of fermented vegetables such as cabbage, cucumber and radish, with added seasoning – has been shown to promote good gut health and support the immune system. While kimchi can easily be made at home, Woodbridge-based Korean Kitchen sells its own brand of jarred fermented vegetables in a number of independent shops throughout Suffolk, including Leo's Deli in Framlingham, Snape Maltings Food Hall and Black Olive Delicatessen in Southwold.
We all no doubt ate more takeaways in 2020 than we would like to admit – but ordering in doesn’t have to be unhealthy or unimaginative. A number of restaurants and catering companies across the county specialise in gourmet food that can be finished off at home, giving you that restaurant feel without having to leave the house. Woodbridge’s Doorstep Dining utilises a farm-to-table approach and every fortnight delivers a range of freshly-cooked meals inspired by Tuscan and Brazilian cuisine.
While we’re still recreating that restaurant experience at home in 2021, why not go all out and order some takeaway cocktails too? A number of Suffolk bars began doing cocktails available for delivery during lockdown last year – and with many people still eating at home, we can’t see this service stopping anytime soon. Nine Jars in Haverhill delivers a variety cocktails in biodegradable cups, including classics such as woo woos, blue lagoons, Long Island iced teas and Cuba Libres.
Alternative natural sugars
We’ve all got a sweet tooth – but we’re all well aware of the perils of enjoying sugar a bit too much. As we steadily become more health-conscious, this year expect to see a range of alternative natural sugars becoming far more commonplace. Think honey, agave, coconut sugar, maple syrup and molasses. Suffolk is home to a number of beekeepers, including Black Dog Apiaries and Stour Valley Apiaries - so why not swap out your white sugar for a few drops of honey where you can?
With 2020 behind us, let’s have a cheers to 2021 - and support all things Suffolk by enjoying a glass of locally-produced wine. Brexit will no doubt mean tipples from the continent will see a sharp rise in price, but there’s a range of homegrown wines right here in East Anglia that are just as good – and don’t have as much of a carbon footprint attached to them. Take your pick from the likes of Giffords Hall Vineyard near Bury St Edmunds, Dedham Vale Vineyard or Shawsgate Vineyard near Woodbridge. Whether you’re more into red, white, rosé or even sparkling – there's certainly a bottle for everyone.