Every year, new food trends arise based on what consumers determine will be the next hot topic. Whether it’s different cultural foods, environmental awareness or unique recipe ingredients, restaurants and global companies alike are constantly evolving to provide more of what we as consumers look for in our food. Here are ten of the top food trends you’ll see in the coming year.
1. Exotic flavors
Middle Eastern-inspired food is going to be a big hit in 2018, and spices such as turmeric, harissa, cardamom, and za'atar will take front row seats. Other ingredients such as tahini, tomato jam and halloumi will also be popular. With so many options, this is a great time to explore different cultures through food.
2. Plant-based diets
Eating a plant-centric diet is something that continues to gain traction. There was a 6% increase in veganism during 2017, and in an effort to encourage consumers to abandon meat-based protein sources for alternative plant-based versions, there will be more food options available than ever before. You can look forward to a variety of plant-based cheeses, meats, and milks (such as barley, flax, hemp, pea, and quinoa) hitting the shelves this year.
3. Plant-based technology
If you’re having a hard time switching to a plant-based diet, then you’re in luck, because scientifically manipulated foods will be trending this year. Craving a burger? You can find a hearty plant-based selection that “bleeds” just like the traditional meat counterpart. Have a hankering for sushi? Look for sushi-grade “not tuna” made from tomatoes.
4. Root to stem eating
Food waste is (hopefully) on the decline, and in the effort to continue this progress, nose-to-tail butchery and the vegetable equivalent (using the entire produce, including the stems and leaves) are on the rise. Thanks to unique recipes, foods such as pickled watermelon rinds and broccoli-stem slaw will be popular this year. In addition, plant-based foods that are naturally waste-free, like grapes, will continue to gain traction.
5. Floral flavors
Who says that flowers can only be in your garden? This year, lavender lattes, rose-flavored everything, bright pink hibiscus teas and elderflower cocktails are going to be a big hit, so get excited for recipes that bloom.
6. Food transparency
In a survey conducted by Mintel, 74% of U.S. Millennials stated that they wished food companies were more transparent with their product manufacturing. That leads to one of this year’s major trends, where labels for items such as GMO-free, responsibly grown and raised, and Fair Trade (to name a few) will appear on more products throughout 2018.
7. Non-traditional superfoods
In recent years, quinoa, sorghum, teff and buckwheat have been the “superfoods” of choice, but times are changing and other foods are taking the spotlight thanks to their spot-on nutritional content. Some new “superfoods” may include nut oils, maqui berries, chaga mushrooms and tiger nuts, so if you see these around, give them a try.
8. Portable protein
Instead of processed protein bars, consumers are looking for more types of portable protein made with flavor-packed, wholesome ingredients. Bumble Bee continues to innovate for 2018, releasing more favorites, like their bold flavors of Sriracha and Lemon Sesame & Ginger seasoned tuna pouches (14 grams of protein per 2.5 ounce pouch). Muuna Cottage Cheese is new to the marketplace with single-serve creamy cottage cheese with real fruit (15 grams of protein per 5.3 ounce cup).
9. Bubbly beverages
Hydration just got a whole lot easier with the bubbly beverage trend. These are projected to be the new “it” drink this year, and for good reason. They are more flavorful than plain water and are lower in added sugar than sodas. For additional flavor, try freezing grapes and adding them to your bubbly. These will double as ice cubes and healthy snacks.
10. Increase in online grocery shopping
Food e-commerce is a huge trend for 2018, as the U.S. online grocery retail is expected to continue its rapid growth. Approximately 25% of U.S. adults purchase food online, and with the Millennial generation, this number will only increase. Thanks to meal delivery subscription services and online markets, buying food is made simple with the convenience of mobile devices, and, in return, companies will start to provide more online services.