Lifestyle diets are on the rise, and as their popularity increases, the foods associated with them tend to move from niche to mainstream. We’ve been seeing that lately with vegan foods as consumers — vegan and non-vegan alike — demand more healthful, plant-based options and manufacturers are experimenting with exotic ingredients and also producing more meat alternatives and dairy-free treats than ever before. Infinity Research recently identified the vegan trends we’ll see go mainstream this year. Let’s take a look at their predictions.

Meat alternatives

In many supermarkets today, meat alternatives share shelves with traditional animal products. Infinity Research predicts that that meat alternatives will continue to gain traction, especially given the rising popularity of lab-grown meat.

One thing to watch about this trend is what food manufacturers can legally call their meat alternatives. In February 2018, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture arguing that lab-grown and plant-based meat alternatives should not be able to use the word “meat” on their packaging. But even with the meat industry coming after them, meat alternative producers aren’t ready to back down.

Charcoal

Just a few years ago, the idea of black food could be enough to make your stomach turn. Not anymore. Activated charcoal is gaining popularity in the vegan community because of its potential detoxing and overall health-boosting capabilities.

Despite the popularity of effortlessly cool black food, some regulators are saying, “not so fast.” A spokeswoman from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene told The Observer: “Restaurants in New York City are not permitted to use activated charcoal in food because it is prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food additive or food coloring agent.”

Fat’s back

Fad diets of the ‘90’s and early 2000’s are largely responsible for giving “fat” a bad name, but the macronutrient is making a comeback. The “good vs. bad fat” argument has been settled, giving vegans and everyone else the go-ahead to consume high-fat ingredients like avocados, nuts, and seeds guilt-free.

Sweet tooth satisfaction

Vegans shouldn’t have to miss out on indulgent desserts. Replacements for animal products like eggs are making it possible for vegans to indulge their sweet tooth every once in a while, exemplified by industry giants like Halo Top. Not every company can cause a countrywide sensation as Halo Top has, but Infinity Research says we should be prepared to see a “revolution in the field of vegan desserts.”

Flowers

This is not the first time flowers have made a 2018 food trends list. Flowers have gone from garnish to main ingredient for vegan and non-vegan chefs alike. Popular edible flowers include pansies, carnations, nasturtiums, and even roses and violets, thanks to their delicious taste as well as high nutrient content.

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