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The food trends set to be popular in 2021, according to Waitrose

From amchoor to black garlic and orange wine, these are the foods set to make a splash in 2021

Emily Cope
Friday 01 January 2021 13:03 GMT

Last year it was all about whipped coffee, cactus water and plant-based proteins, but in 2021 it’s zhoug, amchoor and black garlic you’ll be seeing  on the menu, according to Waitrose.

The supermarket released an A-Z list of what it predicts will be the most-anticipated and innovative food trends for the upcoming year.

Many of the ingredients are a far cry from the traditional British staples, with a mix of vegetables, spices, breads and wines from across the globe, including Yemen, Russia and Ethiopia.  

Jenna Doran-Twyford, ingredients buyer at Waitrose, adds: “We’ve noticed our customers wanting to understand the true nutritional value of what they are eating, as well as becoming more adventurous in the kitchen.”

Here is what you can expect to see filling supermarket aisles and restaurants over the next year.


Made from dried and powdered green mangoes, this seasoning is widely used in north Indian cooking to lend fruity tartness to recipes without upping the moisture content.  

According to Waitrose, it is great for vegetable curries and chutneys, or in marinades for grilled seafood and fish skewers.

Black garlic

Black garlic is a type of aged garlic which gets it’s colour from the Maillard reaction, or caramelization, not fermentation.

Sweet and sticky with an almost figgy texture, these matured cloves are more mellow than fresh garlic. 

Black garlic is known for its distinctive colour and taste

Cà ri gà

Vietnamese curried chicken, or cà ri gà, is slowly simmered with potatoes and carrots in a fragrant, coconut-based lemongrass and garlic broth.

A exciting way to mix-up to your usual curry night.


As one of the building blocks of Japanese cooking, dashi stock is often used in miso soups and noodle broths.

The primary ingredient is kombu - sea kelp that has been dried and cut into sheets - which is responsible for miso soup’s deep umami flavors.

Ethiopian flatbreads

Injera (or fermented flatbreads) are an Ethiopian specialty and are set to be popular this year, according to Ethiopia: Recipes and Traditions from the Horn of Africa by Yohanis Gebreyesus and Jeff Koehler.

These fermented flatbreads have a slightly spongy texture and a sour taste, and are traditionally served alongside lentil, vegetable or meat dishes.

Fragrant rice

While you may have already heard of this one, Waitrose predicts that rice will be taking centrestage in our meals this year, instead of being a simple side dish. 

Forget plain rice and opt for Thai Hom Mali or red cargo, or try whipping up a dish of fermented rice for breakfast.

Gram flour

Naturally gluten-free and used extensively in Indian cooking (the best bhajis require it), Gram flour is an incredibly versatile ingredient.

Made from ground chickpeas it is great for making pakoras and flatbreads, and has a delicious, earthy flavour.

Himalayan pink salt

Sourced from Pakistan’s Khewra mines, Himalayan pink salt gets its distinctive rosy hue from an array of minerals, including iron and potassium.

It’s an attractive condiment and delicious when paired with chocolate, plus it helps combat acid reflux by balancing pH levels.

Icelandic skyr

High in protein and low in sugar, this cultured dairy product - think Greek yogurt, but with a less tangy flavour - is a breakfast game-changer.

Add it to your morning smoothie with frozen fruit or dollop on top of porridge. 


Several high-profile London openings - such as Nigerian tapas restaurant Chuku’s in Tottenham, Chishuru in Brixton and Akoko in Fitzrovia - have recently celebrated West African cuisine, including this savoury rice dish.

Legendary for its smoky taste, it is traditionally cooked over firewood with plenty of tomatoes and onion.

A traditional West African pot of jollof


A cross between a kumquat and a mandarin, this citrus fruit can be found in South East Asia and is common in Filipino kitchens.

It’s juice can be mixed with soy sauce, vinegar and chilli to make a versatile dipping sauce, or used to create zingy marinades.


One of Australia’s most beloved snacks, these tasty cakes are quickly gaining fans here in the UK.

Made by coating sponge cake in a layer of chocolate sauce before rolling in desiccated coconut, the thin mixture is absorbed into the outside of the sponge cake and left to set, giving the cake a distinctive texture.

The sweet cakes are popular in Australia


Tequila’s smokier sister, mezcal is made by cooking the cores of agave plants in fire pits before being distilled.

Best used in a margarita or over ice as a replacement for a peaty whisky, it can reach 55 per cent proof.


You might have tasted this spicy Calabrian sausage paste on pizza, but that’s just one of its many uses.

Waitrose recommends spreading ‘nduja paste on toasted bread, dotting over a potato hash or adding to a tomato sauce for a fiery twist on baked eggs.

Orange wine

This wine (also known as skin-contact wine) is no new phenomenon and is actually one of the oldest types of wine in the world.

That said, it has gained a newfound appreciation for its complex flavour profile and because of its distinctive colour, which occurs when the juice from white grapes is left in “contact” with the skin (a red winemaking technique).

Not sure where to start? Litmus Orange Bacchus is a delicious introduction to the style. Made at Denbies winery in Surrey, it’s gently tannic with stone fruit notes.

Pul biber

These Turkish pepper flakes are often used in Persian and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes, and can add a gentle heat to any meal.

Also known as the Halaby pepper, it starts out as a pod, which ripens to a burgundy color and is then semi-dried, de-seeded and crushed or coarsely ground.

Queen olives

Known as “Gordal” or “the fat one” in Spain, these jumbo-sized olives are deliciously firm and succulent with a burst of briny flavour and notes of almond.

Acting as the perfect martini garnish, they are also ideal to enjoy alongside sharp cheeses like gouda, blue cheese, or Manchego. 

Russian cuisine

Look beyond blinis and borscht this year, with Siberian-born food writer Alissa Timoshkina cooking up a storm in her latest book, Salt & Time.

Packed with modern interpretations of traditional recipes - think Soviet-Korean ceviche, stuffed savoury buns and a deliciously moreish carrot and caraway cake - Russian cuisine is the one to watch this year.


A cornerstone condiment in many places including Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, Sambal is a chili sauce or paste typically made from a mixture of chili peppers with secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, scallion, palm sugar, and lime juice. 

The all-purpose condiment can be added to noodle dishes, soups, stews, meat, rice, and even eggs.


Tangzhong refers to the act of cooking a portion of the raw flour in a recipe with a liquid. 

This creates a thick slurry which is then allowed to cool before being mixed with the rest of the ingredients and baked.

The result is a deliciously sweet and pillowy-soft ‘milk bread.’

The process of tangzhong 

Udon noddles

Smooth, thick and satisfyingly chewy, wheat-four udon noodles are served in a multitude of ways in Japan, from hot in soup and stir-fries to chilled with garnishes and dipping sauces. 

Though you may have tried them at Wagamama, Waitrose predicts we’ll be seeing much more of the udon noodle in 2021.

Virgin coconut oil

It’s been a hip ingredient for a while now, but according to Waitrose not all coconut oils are created equal.

Doran-Twyford advises: “Look out for one from certified organic plantations that’s been extracted without using chemicals, such as Groovy Food Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Next time you’re baking brownies, try it in place of butter for extra delicious results.”

Wayanad peppers

Harvested by hand in Kerala, where they’re left to ripen on the vine (not all the peppercorns will reach maturity at the same time, so it’s a painstaking process), wayanad peppercorns are held to be the world’s finest. 

“Most of us don’t think twice about the peppercorns in our grinder but, as with coffee and chocolate, spending a little more on a single-estate product makes a huge difference to the taste,” adds Waitrose.

With hints of spice and citrus they add plenty of flavour to dishes, even when used sparingly.

Xantham gum

Baking for a coeliac or someone who’s avoiding gluten? Reach for a packet of Doves Farm Xantham Gum. 

It mimics the function of gluten, creating a better crumb and reducing annoying crumbling of the finished results.


This versatile East Asian citrus fruit is native to China but is grown widely in Japan and tastes somewhere between an orange and a grapefruit.  

Its juice and rind lend themselves to everything from preserves to cocktails, and add a tasty zing to ponzu sauce.  


Originally from Yemen, this blend of herbs and spices is hugely popular in Levantine street food culture thanks to Yemeni migration.

Stir through yoghurt, drizzle over a pilaf, or dollop onto grilled meat and vegetables for some added spice (though watch out, it can be hot).

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