6 Food Trends to Watch in 2018

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6 Food Trends to Watch in 2018


Heritage. Feel-good. Alternative. Limited edition.

These are among the buzzwords that are expected to dominate the food scene in the coming year.

That’s according to the chefs at Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute (CCBI), whose global travels have revealed what they anticipate will be the six biggest and most accessible food trends of 2018.

Ranked from early-stage discovery to mainstream, here’s what and how you’ll be eating next year, according to Campbell’s culinary experts:

  1. Culinary heritage: Move over “authentic” and “ethnic.” The new culinary buzz is “heritage,” highlighting the people who bring culinary traditions to life and the personal stories that define our food. (Stage 1: Discovery)

  2. Feel-good treats: Nutrient-dense indulgences are driving the “healthy-ish” treats trend, with next-gen snacks that include fortified ice creams, vegetable desserts, mood-enhancing ingredients, protein-packed chips, fresh produce snacks and more. (Stage 2: Introduction; example: Vegetable-forward carrot upside-down cake)

  3. Meat matters: Meatless Mondays and plant-based diets may be grabbing the news headlines, but there is still strong interest in all things carnivore, from unique butcher cuts to antibiotic-free meats to exotic game. (Stage 3: Adoption; example: nose-to-tail butcher cuts -- oxtails, pig trotters, tripe, sweetbreads)

  4. Botanical beats: Ginger, honey, hibiscus, lavender, elderflower, mint, cardamom and chamomile are just a few of the value-adding herbs and spices bringing grown-up flavors and plant-based profiles to today’s most sophisticated sips and snacks. (Stage 3: Adoption; example: botanical lemonades)

  5. Alternatives rule: From lab-cultured burgers and cricket flour to dairy “milks” to ancient grains, this rising megatrend is just as much about today’s culinary tastes as it is about the food of the future. (Stage 4: Mainstream; examples: Beyond Meat Beast Burger with eggplant bacon and Fabanaise)

  6. Limited edition innovation: Playful twists on classic products, retro re-releases and seasonal themes are feeding a growing appetite for exclusive flavor experiences and meaningful, Insta-friendly moments with food. (Stage 4: Mainstream; example: Pepperidge Farm Swirl Pumpkin Spice and Campbell’s Ltd. Edition Beefsteak Tomato Soup).

“It’s an exciting time to be a food lover and a chef! We’re seeing food trends emerge and shift at an ever-increasing rate,” said Thomas Griffiths, VP of Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute. “Whether you’re an accomplished chef, bona fide foodie or have a passing interest in food, you should keep a lookout for these trends and incorporate some into your cooking and eating habits.”

Between-meal treats aren’t just about indulgence anymore. Today, it’s understood that the right snack choices can contribute to a healthy lifestyle. According to Mintel, 55 percent of consumers snack two to three times a day, and 16 percent are “Super Snackers,” snacking four or more times per day. In short, people are looking for better choices and for modern, “feel-good” treats that satisfy this evolving definition of what a snack can be.

Meanwhile, fragrant botanical elements like ginger, hibiscus and lavender are on the rise, especially in drinks. This “Stage 3” trend isn’t just about flavor: Botanicals are trending because they offer natural, identifiable, premium, plant-based flavor twists that get a boost from a healthful/functional reputation (like reducing inflammation, or aiding digestion or relaxation) that’s traditionally associated with teas. Many of the beverages and desserts that botanicals are being featured in are a clear push toward less sweet – but just as bold – flavors.


The fifth annual CCBI Culinary TrendScape – a report tracking the most influential food themes for 2018 - will be released in full in January 2018.

This report is part of Campbell’s culinary tracking system that identifies the biggest food trends and categorizes them as they evolve through six distinct stages.

Trends are discovered and documented by Campbell chefs who then track their development across different aspects of food culture, tagging them under two main categories: TrendPoints and TrendReach.

TrendPoints represent where the trends are seen in action such as the “Marketplace,” like specialty shops and grocery stores, or in the “Media,” like magazines and cookbooks.

Chefs then categorize the TrendReach based on six stages: Discovery (emerges within a limited but influential group), Introductory (reaches a culinary-minded audience), Adoption (gains traction with a larger audience), Mainstream (accepted in many households), Established (products found in supermarkets) and Expanded (gone global).