It’s a brand new year, which means a number of things. New expectations, new resolutions, new color of the year, and, of course, new food trends. In 2017 we were obsessed with activated charcoal, bugs as snacks (I am so not kidding), vegan burgers (still an obsession in 2018, I’m pleased to note), local distilleries, and zero-waste cooking. Now with the release of 2018’s hot new food trends by Whole Foods and by the Specialty Foods Association, it’s clear to me that some of the trends on point this year are a continuation of trends from years past, although I am predicting that some are likely to stop being trends and start becoming mainstays.
This year’s food trends are exciting because there are more flavors on our plates than ever before. We’re also embracing things like mushrooms in drinks and superfoods to make us glow from the inside out. Besides all of this, veggie burgers and plant-based foods continue being trends this year, which makes me hopeful that soon they’ll become the norm. Without further ado, here’s a list of the latest food trends.
Hot New Food Trends for 2018
Superfood powders, such as acai, cacao, matcha, turmeric, spirulina, and kale, continue to find their way into our smoothies, baked goods, and granola bars. Added to this, there will be a big push toward protein powders for their hair and skin benefits.
Puffed and Popped Snacks
New technology is revolutionizing the snack industry, including new extrusion methods. They have paved the way for all sorts of puffed and popped snacks, such as puffed peanuts, popped cassava chips, puffed rice clusters, puffed quinoa, puffed pasta bow ties, and more.
This is one I’m really excited about because I love cooking with flowers. From lavender shortbread to adding rose water to things, I can’t get enough of florals. So I’m pleased that this is going to be a trend because I can’t wait to see the things that people are going to do with edible flowers.
Powdered mushrooms are going to be featuring in things we haven’t previously associated with them such as coffee, tea, bottled drinks, smoothies, and even chocolate with varieties chaga, reishi, cordyceps, and lion’s mane leading the way. Mushrooms are also going to feature in body care products, soaps, hair care products, and more.
Natural Food Coloring
This is something that’s been a particular passion for years, so it’s great to see it featuring as a 2018 trend. My hope is that it becomes less trendy and more the norm as the year goes on. Natural food coloring will be replacing artificial food coloring, which comes with a laundry list of issues and has been associated with exacerbating conditions like ADHD in children for years. Natural food colors rely on colors found in nature, so although you may not have blue drinks you will have peace of mind.
Plant-based dishes continue to soar in popularity in 2018 and now tech is catching up. Science is being used to manipulate plant-based proteins and ingredients and now vegans and vegetarians are presented with options such as “bleeding burgers” and tomato-based tuna. Tech is also being used to create new milks and yogurt from things such as bananas and pecans. As vegan and vegetarian options improve and become even more delicious, it’s going to become more and more impossible to tell them apart from non-vegetarian food.
Root to Stem Philosophy
We’ve all heard about the nose to tail philosophy. But with vegan and vegetarian food becoming more on trend, now there’s a new movement called the root to stem movement. Chefs are cooking with more parts of plants now that may not have been previously used, such as stems, leaves, and roots.
Middle-Eastern food has always been popular (Baklava! Hummus!), but it’s trendy now. Expect to see more unusual dishes that feature ingredients that may not have previously enjoyed the spotlight such as za’atar, sumac, and pomegranate molasses.
Tacos are really coming out of their shell (see what I did there?) this year. They are no longer limited to being tortillas or savory options. They’re showing up on breakfast menus, in desserts, and are being made out of new kinds of wrappers such as rice flour tacos or seaweed wrap tacos. Fillings are also going through a rebirth with all sorts of unusual ingredients making the cut; they’re also showing up with more vegan and vegetarian options. Bring on the tacos!
Popular brands, such as LaCroix, paved the way. Now there are all sorts of sparkling beverages up for grabs, although it would be a mistake to call them sodas. They’re a far cry from sodas with their unusual flavor derivations (with brands such as Sap!). They sit pretty on any mocktail menu across the country.
So there you have it. 2018’s top food trends. Which one excites you the most? Let us know below or on Facebook and Twitter.
Awanthi Vardaraj lives and writes in the port city of Chennai, in the south of India, where she runs her own small artisanal bakery and keeps a garden full of jasmine plants and herbs that she still cannot name. As a freelance writer, she mostly focuses on food, feminism, travel, mental health, and poverty. She also nurtures a deep love for the Oxford comma and the semicolon. Visit her website at www.awanthi.com and follow her on Twitter at AwanthiVardaraj.