As the new year quickly approaches, what trends can we expect to see?
“Some culinary trends may rise and fall within the same calendar year, yet many of the most relevant trends follow longer arcs, manifesting in connected, yet new, innovations along the way,” Liz Moskow, culinary director of food industry researcher Sterling-Rice Group, said. “This year, we wanted to highlight the ‘trendjectories’ taken by the trends that allow them to maintain relevance and stay front and center in the minds of consumers.”
Sterling-Rice Group compiles annual reports on culinary trends based on research, feedback and travel from more than 175 food experts, chefs and restaurateurs.
Many new trends will become mainstream in 2018, the group says.
Let’s look at the five trends expected to come to a restaurant or grocery store near you next year:
- Plants are not just for salad: Members of Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z are increasingly becoming vegetarians and vegans. This is forcing both restaurants and grocery stores to offer more meatless alternatives. In grocery stores, the number of vegan products has risen 257% and vegetarian products have increased 35% between 2012 and 2016, according to market research firm Mintel. The trend is expected to continue. Some foods that fall into this category include edible flowers, burgers made from plants or nuts, avocado toast, and moringa.
- International foods gain in popularity in the U.S.: Restaurant patrons are looking for new flavors and experiences and, therefore, are flocking to ethnic restaurants. Middle Eastern foods that go beyond falafel and hummus are increasing in popularity. Asian foods from Burma, Korea, India, the Philippines, Laos and Thailand are appealing because of flavors and spices. Chinese breakfast crepes also are becoming popular.
- Transparent and environmentally friendly: Consumers are increasingly seeking transparency on their food. They want to know how it was grown. Is it responsibly grown? Fair trade? GMO-free? Consumers also are demanding less food waste at the farm. Expect to see fruits and vegetables increasingly sold with rinds and stems and all parts of an animal used in meat production.
- Alternatives to soda: Trend for the past several years has been toward abandoning soda for healthier alternatives. Some of these include herb-and spice-infused coffee. Customers still like carbonation, though; they are simply opting for low sugar choices such as sparkling water or cold-brewed coffee.
- Healthier options: Health will come to the forefront in 2018. Look for mushrooms to appear in coffees and teas while spices such as cacao, ground turmeric maca root and matcha will appear in products from soup to baking to nutrition bars. Also look for dough that has longer fermentation periods, making it easier to digest.
What were the top trends in 2017? According to the chefs at Kerry Ingredients Flavours they were the following:
- Customers seek dark foods because they have more flavor. Barbeque and rotisserie are examples.
- Rich and savory dishes are in demand with food lovers.
- Smokers and slow cooking brings out flavor. Bringing these flavors to the customer, however, has been a bit of a challenge for food producers.
- Maintaining a balance between flavor and clean-food products also is challenging the food industry.
Source: Ingredients Network
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