The plant-based movement has become an unstoppable trend globally as well as in South Africa during the last few years. Fast-food chains and restaurants are including plant-based options, even whole plant-based menus, there are new plant-based product ranges being released in supermarkets and even, in small rural towns, little coffee shops are including at least one plant-based option on their menus. Plant-based living is for everyone regardless of socio-economic status or background and it is possible to live simply and affordably without buying all the fake meats and expensive substitutes.
Demand creates change and collectively we can inspire that change through what we choose to purchase and where we choose to spend our money. Small changes create big impacts.Lockdown has forced us to slow down, to come home to ourselves and to truly reflect on our lives. It has given us the opportunity to realise the power of our choices and the impact that they have not only on ourselves and our own bodies but also on others and the environment around us. After watching David Attenborough’s A Life On Our Planet, it brought home the devastating effects and environmental destruction we have had on our planet. Attenborough managed to communicate an overwhelming reality with an invitation to collectively restore the damage that has already been done by instilling hope and inspiring individual and collective change.
Choosing to incorporate more plants into your diet and to live a life of kindness and compassion has incredible benefits for your health, for animals and for the life of the planet. Whatever your personal reason is for going plant-based, find your why – it will keep you motivated and allow you to enjoy this new process.
I truly believe that we can change the world through our kitchens, little kitchen and big kitchens across the globe. If we can individually and collectively open our awareness, shift our consciousness and raise our vibration together we can change the world one meal at a time, one bite at a time and one kitchen at a time.
Here are seven plant-based trends for 2021:
Growing your own food and supporting local organic farmers – our food production and supply has sadly changed so much. Chemically grown food has overtaken naturally grown food and with it caused great destruction to our soil health, water systems and our overall well being. Supporting locally grown organic farms means that the quality of food is better for our health and the environment while also supporting the livelihoods of small scale farmers and families.
The rise of whole foods – as we become more aware of what we fuel our bodies with and how food can play a vital role in not only health but in healing too. Products that are made from real ingredients with short ingredient lists and that are not overly processed will rise in popularity.
The war on plastics – consumers are taking a stand and realising the power they have to create change and the responsibility they have to demand it. Cruelty-free won’t just mean animal-free but also the type of packaging used for plant-based products. Eco-friendly, sustainable and ethically sourced will become the focus.
The free-from food trend - allergy-friendly foods are already growing in popularity and there will be more growth here from grain-free, gluten-free and nut-free to oil-free, refined sugar-free, GMO-free and preservative-free.
Immune boosting food and drinks - the Covid-19 pandemic has ignited the focus on health, immunity and wellbeing. Previous trends of fermented foods and drinks will continue to rise and new immune-boosting focused products will emerge. The link between gut health and overall wellbeing as well as mental health will create a platform for the continued growth of superfoods, adaptogens and new plant-based products that will aim to help alleviate stress and anxiety while supporting better sleep.
Alcohol-free or zero alcohol: this is a growing trend internationally and has started emerging in the South African drinks landscape in the past few years. From both a health-conscious and fitness-focused perspective as well as for those who are pregnant, healing from auto-immune or chronic illnesses and for sober living lifestyles. The emerging trend is already being seen across both large commercial brands and smaller artisanal businesses in the drinks space. They are offering alcohol-free beverages for wines, bubbly, beers, cocktails and spirits.
Chickpea everything – this trend has already started and it’s not going anywhere. In South Africa, we have some great local brands that are using chickpeas as the hero ingredient for pasta, chocolate snacks, cookie dough and vegan cheese. Chickpeas are extremely versatile for both savoury and sweet dishes. They’re high in protein and fibre while also being grain and nut-free. Watch the chickpea space in SA.