Top Food Trends for 2018

What does the year ahead hold for our taste buds?

Plant-Based Everything

Veganism is on the rise, and even avid omnivores are cutting down on their intake, whether for environmental or health reasons (hello, Meat-Free Monday). From cauliflower steaks to nut milks, meat and dairy-free choices have definitely hit the mainstream, while new technology is enabling ever more convincing alternatives to eating meat. Just look at the Beyond Burger, which uses beet juice to “bleed” and closely matches the texture of beef. Check out our recipes for Coconut Ceviche and KFC Cauliflower.

Regional Focus

These days, folks in London and NYC don’t go for an ‘Italian’; it’s either Venetian, Roman or Ligurian. Or Sichuan or Hanan rather than plain old Chinese; Bombay or Keralan instead of Indian. This is one manifestation of consumers’ growing desire to know more about the provenance of the items they buy and eat.

Discover more about regional Italian cooking.

Zero Waste

From root-to-stem veg recipes to nose-to-tail butchery, food waste is (finally) becoming a dirty word.  Carrot tops, pickled watermelon rinds, bread crusts… all can be put to excellent use with a dash of creativity and some of the world’s most lauded chefs – like Massimo Bottura and Dan Gardner – have put their weight behind such concepts. Check out our article for more on this trend.

Sophisticated Soft Drinks

Those ubiquitous LaCroix cans are a sign of what’s to come. Where once kiddie sodas or a plain old OJ were the main options for those steering clear of alcohol, the bar is being raised for sparkling soft drinks, with natural botanical flavorings, less sugar and elegant packaging. Look out for brands like Firefly, Seedlip, Spindrift and Thomas & Evans (which steam-distills and filters ingredients through silver birch charcoal), not to mention the kombucha craze.

Middle Eastern

It’s been dubbed the “cuisine of the year” by Whole Foods for 2018. Hummus and falafel are merely the tip of the iceberg: Get your taste buds around dishes like Shakshuka (eggs baked in spiced tomato stew) and tabbouleh (a parsley and cracked wheat salad); vegetables doused in za’atar or harissa; puddings laced with cardamom, rose water and pistachios. Encompassing Israeli, Moroccan and Persian cuisines, these rich culinary cultures will have your mouth watering.

Flower Power

Edible flowers have been on the scene for a while but next year the trend really blooms (sorry) and goes well beyond the decorative. Lavender, rose, elderflower and hibiscus are showing up in everything from lattes to granola to marshmallows.

Super Powders

Blurring the line between food and medicine, expect to see matcha, maca root, cacao and ground turmeric in all sorts of products, from nutrition bars to soups and smoothies. Activated charcoal is another powdered product gaining superfood status for its reported detoxifying attributes, and it’s getting added to pizza crusts and ice creams by on-trend chefs.