Whole Foods Market global buyers and experts put their heads together to release a list of anticipated food trends for 2018. Whether you’re looking to develop new products in the coming year or put a fresh spin on a tried-and-true classic, consider these predictions.
Have you ever indulged in a lavender latte? How about a hibiscus cocktail? If you haven’t seen these flowery flavors popping on store shelves or menus, get ready: Whole Foods predicts 2018 will be the year that the floral trend won’t be limited to fashion designers.
Floral ingredients aren’t just for drinks, though. The trend is anticipated to extend to food as well, so don’t be afraid to get innovative with your ingredients. Elderflower jelly, anyone?
Move over, whey. You’re not the only powder in town anymore. From healing turmeric powder to matcha that packs a serious energy punch, powders will get their chance to shine in the coming year. They’ve already started to take off as an ingredient in baked goods, energy bars, smoothies, lattes, and more.
Matcha is a type of green tea that contains 68 mg of caffeine per serving. It can also boost your metabolism by 40%.
The food industry is also making way for an old favorite: mushrooms. Functional mushrooms have been used in dietary supplements for years, but they’re starting to show up in droves to tea, bottled drinks, coffee, broths, and body care products. Varieties such as reishi, chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane are the stars of the show so far.
When’s the last time you didn’t toss away the leaves of a celery stalk during production? Those days might be coming to a screeching halt with the advent of “root-to-stem” cooking that makes use of the entire vegetable. This is encouraging news for manufacturers who dare to get creative. Go back to the drawing board and brainstorm innovative products that make use familiar flavors and ingredients.
Middle Eastern and Latin American-inspired cuisine
With hummus taking over appetizer menus everywhere and taco trucks flourishing on city street corners, it should come as no surprise that Middle Eastern and Latin American flavors will continue to thrive in 2018.
Whole Foods purchasers mention tacos specifically. With the success of tacos already proven, the food industry is getting wild with ingredients. Tacos are showing up on menus as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert options. And while traditional preparation and ingredients might be a favorite for some, manufacturers and chefs are taking cues from the grain-free movement and creating Paleo-friendly versions of the classic as well.
Consumers are also ready to branch out from pita and falafel. Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian, and Lebanese-inspired dishes are coming to the forefront. You’ll be seeing more ingredients like pomegranate, eggplant, cucumber, parsley, mint, and tahini become popular in food products.
If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know that consumers are pushing for food manufacturer transparency. They want to know where their food is coming from, the story behind it, and all about your company’s values.
According to a 2016 report by Label Insight, a whopping 94% of consumers say it’s important that brands and manufacturers they buy from are transparent about what is in their food and how it’s made.
The trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Shoppers in 2018 will still be seeking GMO transparency, Fair Trade certifications, responsible production, and fair animal welfare practices… with the labels to prove it.
Love it or hate it, La Croix and other sparkling water brands are popular with Millennials everywhere. According to Nielsen, the sparkling water industry has grown from $961 million to $1.8 billion in just four years.
Now, more beverage manufacturers have hopped on the bubbly bandwagon. You’ll begin to see carbonated beverage aside from the old pastel-canned standby, including plant-derived items like Sap!, made from maple and birch. Cheers, everyone!
Here’s the good news for manufacturers: the classic potato chip isn’t going anywhere. Here’s the other good news: modern production methods are putting a new spin on all things crispy, popped, and puffed.
Experts at Whole Foods predict snack aisle will get a facelift next year with options like puffed pasta bow ties and seaweed fava chips. The classic chip will get a little love, too, with healthier ingredients as the base (think Brussels sprouts or parsnips). Don’t be afraid to “think outside the bag” in 2018.
Plant-based alternatives to classic recipes
Vegans and vegetarians will be elated to hear this next one: more plant-based alternatives! Scientific advancements have made it possible for plant-based eaters be able to enjoy a vegan “bleeding” burger, sushi-grade tuna made from tomatoes, and even dairy-free crème brûlée. The kicker? It all tastes good. It’s a dream come true for those who don’t want to sacrifice their diet for comfort food cravings!
If consumers who prefer plant-based alternatives are in your target market, you’ll have plenty of opportunity for growth in 2018.
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