Food Trends for 2018 are rolling in left, right and centre with a number of analysts making predictions for what we will all be eating over the coming months.
We’ve already highlighted food trends from Whole Foods and their massive stack of customer data, but below we wanted to bring you our own predictions for food trends in 2018.
We’ve tried to cast the net far and wide, looking at foods, restaurants, interesting conversations and new innovations we expect to invade the food scenes next year.
Food Trends 2018
Savoury desserts have been taking hold for a while but this trend shows no sign of slowing. They will continue to dominate menus in 2018 as more and more chefs look to incorporate new ingredients into their dessert offerings. Cauliflower will invade your chocolate mouse, bread in your ice cream, yeast sprinkled like sugar - get ready!
We’ve seen them in food trucks in Milan, small back street stops in Mexico and trendy places all over America. Arepa, Venezuelan bread that’s made with corn flour and stuffed with all manner of goodness, are going to continue their steady rise in 2018. This is unfortunately driven by the continued displacement of Venezuelan residents who are settling all over the world, bringing with them this distinct street food snack.
Modern makeovers of the humble arepa, with the likes of White Envelope in Baltimore, Doggi’s n Miami and Órale in Mexico City, are pushing the dish to a whole new audience. They can filled with anything, from slow cooked meats to avocado, eggs and cheeses. We expect them to be one of the foods that many people try for the first time in 2018. The new taco?
Bread is back, bitches. That’s bread on menus in restaurants, big chunky, rustic slabs of toasted sour doughs with fresh butters, even the beautiful breadbaskets of old are making a comeback. Chefs, bakers and even home enthusiasts are getting in on the act and we’re not talking regular loaves here. More and more places are now milling their own flours, using old, ancient, heirloom grains and returning to older techniques that many people have never tasted thanks to our industrialised bread chain. There's also been the publication of the Modernist Bread Book - an extensive look at the science of baking.
Gut feeling tells us that Indian could be the next modern makeover cuisine to come out in 2018, think about what David Chang did with Korean and Japanese flavours in America. More and more chefs are playing with Indian flavours, Gaggan Anand has shown how well it can be modernised and the likes of the Gunpowder restaurant in London and the Badshah restaurant in New York are pushing a unique brand of modern Indian that could become one of the stand out styles of 2018.
Charity, NGO, Education, Medicine. Is this the year chefs go full political? We have Massimo Bottura applying more and more pressure on the food waste issue, Jose Andres stepping in to help feed people in Puerto Rico after the devastating Huricane and Daniel Giusti has left a cushy spot at Noma in Copenhagen to try and alter the food served in American schools. Is 2018 the year we see a chef step into a political position? It's a far out punt but it might just happen.
There has also been the launch of The Basque Culinary World Prize - an intitaive that awards chefs who are working on projects that impact society through gastronomy. This world stage, billed by many as the Noble Prize of gastronomy, will continue to shift attention towards the large impact causes many chefs are working on.
Health conscious consumers are on the rise, functional foods are a key google trend of 2017 and all of this will have impacts on the food industry and how it operates. Calorie counts on menus, or at least the option for guests to have the information if they ask, is something we expect to see more of in 2018. It was discussed recently at a Grand Table du Monde event in New York and we expect consumers to continually demand this type of transparency. This will also be mirrored on products bought in supermarkets with traceability, ecological impact and info on carbon footprint all appearing on packaging.
Food as Medicine
This encompasses many factors: first, we expect to see more restaurants working alongside nutritionists in designing menus that match the health centric demands of consumers. We also expect to see more and more medical professionals focusing on food as an actual medicine, doctors prescribing specific diets of foods and recipes that help heal, increase immunity or tackle specific issues with patients. There will also be a continued demand for foods that are healthy, especially pro and prebiotics and those ingredients that have a positive impact on gut health: Kombucho, Miso, Kimchi, Yogurts - these will continue to invade diets in 2018.
Another link to the functional food approach that many people are now taking, expect more and more sugar alternatives to make it on to menus and supermarket shelves in 2018. Syrups made from roots, corns, vegetables and fruits will all be seen throughout the year, natural alternatives to sugar.
This will remain one of the most discussed topics in 2018 as restaurants, publishers, owners and individual chefs look to address the gender imbalance apparent within the food industry. More talks, conferences, debates and events focused on tackling the issue will be seen in 2018 as protagonists from across the food world get on board with the same goal. This will be a big catalyst for creating a food industry with fairer balance.
It can’t all be about good health and it seems deep fried is making a big come back for 2018. Deep fried squash, deep fried and battered eggs, deep fried tempura pizza - we’ve eaten all this in 2017. The deep fried trend seems like it’s here to stay. There’s also a new appreciation for really good deep fried chicken, perhaps pushed by the likes of David Chang who has been smearing caviar on his fried chicken sandwiches for a while now.
2018 is going to be a big year for Mushrooms, Whole Foods is already predicting a rise in the use of mushrooms in a range of different products and new research on the health benefits of ingredients like Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are leading many to seek out the ingredient on the shelf.
In kitchens, mushrooms are being pushed to many new uses with a number of chefs changing ingredients in unique ways by applying specific fungi that process ingredients and create entirely new flavours. In 2017, the Mugaritz restaurant team emulated the famous ‘Noble Rot’ of wine by purposefully infesting apple with two types of fungi and letting guests digest the unique results. At Borago, in Chile, they're working with a unique process that involves purposely infesting tree bark with fungi to make it edible.
The Noma Influence
Rene Redzepi is set to reopen his Noma restaurant in 2018 and this is something that should be watched closley as the restaurant and chef have both been instrumental in influencing food trends, from plating styles to techniques, even how food is served to guests. It will be interesting to watch Noma.2 because the wave it will create will almost certainly bring about new restaurant trends. Just one example could be Noma’s new approach to menu creation, a seasonal fair that reacts to microseasons within three distinct periods of the year - just one factor of the new restaurant that might be copycatted.
Now a three-Michelin-star restaurant, Noma has changed, but not necessarily on the plate. According to Kenneth Foong, it's all about the way the team works, which is closer to a tech company than a traditional restaurant. Read our exclusive interview with Noma's head chef.