At-Home Dining Experiences Feature Recent Trends

Kids in the Kitchen

Let’s face it, we’re eating at home now more than recent generations before us. A year into the pandemic, Americans are adapting to a new normal, consisting of meals that are wholesome, convenient and provide a sense of comfort and personalization during trying times.

Nothing comforts us more than a full stomach, but that doesn’t mean consumers are forgetting about nutritious attributes during mealtime. And, a sweetener like honey added into a meal can offer a better-for-you ingredient, great flavor and familiarity from a prepared entree that a consumer has never tried before. This familiarity and trademark sweetness are one of the many reasons why honey is trending in the packaged entree segment.

Trend No. 1: Personalization

Innova Market Insights’ “Top 10 Food and Beverage Trends to Accelerate Innovation in 2021” report assigns personalized nutrition as the No. 3 trend on their list. Consumers want to feel wanted, special and like the food that is being “served” on grocery store shelves mimics what they would receive at their favorite restaurant. “Consumers expect a tailored approach to eating, with technological breakthroughs, constant new launches and exciting sensorial experiences providing the opportunity for customized lifestyles to extend to food and beverage consumption,” the report read. And, with 64% of global consumers finding ways to adapt products to individual style, beliefs and needs, it’s imperative that manufacturers design foods that speak directly to the person.

Chicago Town has taken personalization to the next level with its limited-edition Stuffed Crust Takeaway Sweet Honey BBQ Salami pizza. After all, what’s more personalized than a pizza for one? In partnership with Seven Bro7hers Brewing Co. and made to pair with Show Me the Honey beer, the sweetened-with-honey pizza features a crust stuffed with tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella, red cheddar, salami and red onions. Bakery & Snacks reports that 75.5% of people who enjoy alcohol with their pizza would choose beer as the perfect accompaniment, and since honey is in both, we think it’s the ideal pairing.

Photo Credit: Chicago Town
Photo Credit: Healthy Choice

Healthy Choice’s single-serve protein bowl line is expanding with Healthy Choice Max Honey Sriracha Chicken. Grilled chicken breast and vegetables are served with a honey and spicy chili sauce and green onions. Max Bowls are 40% larger than the Power Bowls, perfect for individuals with hearty appetites.

Trend No. 2: Products Featuring Natural Sweeteners

The Specialty Food Association’s State of the Industry report focused on reduced sugar and all-natural sweeteners as a “top theme” for 2021. Products at Specialty Food Live! included a fermented honey sauce, and Clara Park, corporate chef of culinary innovation for Chelten House Products, told Baking Business that there will “continue to be a decline in the levels of sugar in foods and drinks and an increase in the availability and popularity of alternative sweeteners.

Freshly Inc. is capitalizing on the demand for all-natural ingredients with ready-to-eat meals that are “inspired by attributes of keto, paleo and plant-based diet principles,” according to Baking Business. The Sunny Fields Roasted Turkey with Honey-Balsamic Carrots & Almond Gratin is a part of the lineup that includes an average of 14 grams of net carbs and more than 30 grams of protein. The single-serve entree is 450 calories and features a delicious honey balsamic glaze.

Photo Credit: Freshly Inc.

Trend No. 3: Bringing Outside In

Missing your favorite restaurant fare? Chains are taking notice. Kroger reports that more than 60% of shoppers are spending more time cooking at home, and “cooking” is defined in different ways. Americans are loving a variety of items they can bring home, and recreating restaurant meals is an aspect of life that is on an upward trend.

Photo Credit: P.F. Chang's

Conagra has expanded its P.F. Chang’s Home Menu line with Crispy Honey Tempura Shrimp. Sweet honey sauce is combined with tempura-battered shrimp, bringing a popular dine-out dish into the home.

We want to hear from you! What are some of your favorite dishes to cook at home? Tell us all about your home cooking experience in the comments below.