The Sous Chef Summer 2021 Food Trend Report

What foods are trending in 2021?

From gold-standard chickpeas, to patisserie chocolate, and traditional Chinese hotpot – specialist ingredient retailer reveals 7 food trends, based on top search queries and customer favourites. *All data taken from Jan-May 2021, from

  1. Tofu ‘bamboo’
  2. Flavours of Italy
  3. Chinese clay pot
  4. Food subscription boxes
  5. Grown up chocolate
  6. Cooking with sake
  7. Gourmet beans

Tofu ‘bamboo’

The most visited recipe on the Sous Chef this year is for tofu ‘bamboo’, or braised bean curd sticks. The tofu bamboo is made from skimming soy milk, then drying the skin layer. When cooked, the dried rolls soften to a delicate thin ‘omelette’ texture, and soak up the flavour of broths and sauces. Tofu bamboo is incredibly versatile, has wonderful texture, and is so easy to keep in the store cupboard. Move over jackfruit, is this the next big vegan favourite?

READ: Braised beancurd skin with mushrooms

Dried tofu bamboo recipe

Flavours of Italy 

The top sellers list this year is currently dominated by the finest Italian ingredients - with San Marzano tinned tomatoes, and Italian 00 flour for pizza and pasta dough both appearing in our top 5 ingredients list. Meanwhile the Sous Chef pizza peel is the best selling item of cookware this year at Sous Chef. In a year where we haven’t been able to travel, it seems many of us have been conjuring the flavours of Italy at home.

Pomodoro sauce San MArzano tomatoes

Chinese clay pot

Another breakout this year is the Sous Chef Chinese clay pot, which has seen a 200% increase in popularity. Also known as a shāguo in Mandarin or a bàozai in Cantonese, Chinese clay pots are made of earthenware clay and often have a wire frame to help hold the pot’s shape when it expands in the heat. One of the most well known claypot dishes is Hong Kong’s claypot rice, cooked with wind-dried sausage.

Chinese clay pot cooking

Food subscriptions

The Sous Chef subscription box launched last year and has already shot into the top 10 product list. Each month we hand-pick five incredible ingredients — loved by Europe's top chefs, our customers and suppliers — and send them straight to your kitchen. Learn about artisan producers and cult products from the included flavour booklet. It’s instant inspiration on your doorstep!

Food subscription boxes

‘Grown up’ Chocolate

‘Chocolate’ has seen a massive 130% increase in on-site search this year. And yet, it’s not sweets and milk bars topping the charts, but dark chocolate for home baking. Sous Chef’s most popular chocolate items are Callebaut Dark Chocolate 54% couverture chips are pre-tempered which ensures a gloss and great snap, and have a balanced bitter flavour. Meanwhile Valrhona’s Guanaja 70% dark chocolate chips have a rounded bittersweet flavour, and wonderfully smooth finish. 

Cooking with Sake

We’ve seen a 100% increase in searches for sake at, and sales suggest chefs are increasingly using this rice wine to cook with – our two best sellers are both cooking sakes. Sweet, sharp, almost sherry-rich sake is a fantastically versatile ingredient to cook with, for instance chef Ryo Kamatsu uses sake to cure Scottish langoustine on his menu at Umu, while Hélène Darroze at The Connaught has served foie gras with melon and sake.

Single origin pulses

Umbrian bean producers, Casale La Mamore have shot to the top of our bestseller list – their single origin lentils have seen a 103% increase in sales, and their borlotti beans a 200% increase in traffic. For years, Italians have prized the quality of beans and pulses that are lovingly cultivated on generation-old farms across the country – and it looks like we’re just catching up with them. Forget your tins of tomato sauce, Casale La Marmore single origin Umbrian beans are the Rolls Royce of pulses.

Casale La Marmore single origin Italian beans


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