What's Trending in Food for 2018?
The year 2018 is nearing, and it has us all scratching our heads, wondering what's next in food and grocery, or what's "trending." Luckily for us, the Specialty Food Association (SPA) is on it. This week, New York-based SPA reported that the association's Trendspotter Panel, including Kenneth Blanchette, director of sourcing for FreshDirect, and Ellie Truesdell, global senior coordinator of local brands, product innovation and development for Whole Foods Market, identified what they think will be hot trends in 2018. Here are some things you may be seeing in store and on dinner plates come next year:
- More plant-based foods. While vegan and vegetarian specialties have grown in popularity in recent years, many consumers are simply looking for more than meat in their meals. Segments like cheese and frozen desserts are enjoying growth. As some of the more unique meat alternatives go, algae is winning fans.
- Upcycled products. As consumers become more aware of how much food is wasted in the United States, upcycled products made of ingredients and scraps hold bigger appeal. We're already seeing pressed juice made from imperfect fruit, chips made from fruit pulp, and snack bars made from spent grain from the beer-making process.
- Filipino cuisine. Long overshadowed by other Asian cuisines, the foods of the Philippines are starting to capture American palates. You'll likely see more Filipino products as well as food that references the cuisine's more complex flavors and bitter and sour notes.
- Goth food. Turn on some loud, dark music! Maybe it's just a reaction to 2017's deluge of "rainbow" and "unicorn" foods, but black is back. This time, however, it's not about making a fashion statement. Activated charcoal, an ingredient produced by high-heating coconut shells, is gaining superfood status for its reported detoxifying attributes. You may start seeing it in everything from pizza crust to lemonade and ice cream.
- Alt-Sweet. With sugar topping the list of dietary watch-outs, foods made with dates, sorghum, and even yacon and sun root will join monkfruit on the market as emerging options for sweet.
- Root to stem. Between nose-to-tail butchery and reducing food waste, a few forces are combining to inspire root-to-stem cooking — using the entire fruit or vegetable, including things like stems or leaves that are less commonly eaten.
- Deeper feasts from the Middle East. Foods like hummus, pita and falafel are common choices among consumers in 2017. According to SPA, grocery shoppers are now about to explore some more classic foods and cooking ingredients of Middle Eastern cultures.
- Traditional bread rising. Gluten-free has grabbed more grocery shoppers in recent years, even those without dietary restrictions. SPA reported that the traditional side of bakery has also been elevated by the same sourcing and fine-tuned production processes seen with proteins and vegetables. Bakers are using local grains, milling the day before baking, and many grocery chains are promoting their in-store bakeries as another reason to visit.
- Product labeling 2.0. More is more when it comes to product labeling, as consumers seek greater on-label transparency. Shopppers want to know more about farms and ingredient sources, and are seeking information across the spectrum, including details on Fair Trade certification, responsible production and animal testing.