7 Food Trends to Grace Your Plate in 2018
Every year, a new group of trendy foods capture the public’s attention. Just as cupcakes, kale, and kombucha took over your newsfeed in 2017, new and exciting recipes are entering the spotlight this year.
Here are the food trends we predict you’ll be seeing a whole lot more of in 2018.
1. Sea Greens
Seaweed was one of the big food trends in 2017, and while kelp, nori, and wakame may have become a familiar part of many people’s diets, there are a variety of other mineral-rich sea greens and algaes that we expect to see more of in 2018. Be on the lookout for lesser-known types like arame, dulse, winged kelp, and hijiki. Klamath, a type of seaweed that spontaneously grows only in one lake in Oregon, will join spirulina as a commonly seen powdered-type of algae.
2. Bitter Greens
Yes, kale’s moment in the spotlight may have come and gone, but there are many other nutritious greens that have yet to hit it big in the mainstream. Some of them have the same pleasant bitterness that Americans are learning to love, including chicories, mizuna, and dandelion greens. The continued popularity of farmers markets will help shoppers discover obscure varieties of greens to add to their recipes.
3. Extravagant Desserts
Expect to see more over-the-top desserts in restaurants and social media feeds in 2018. Exotic flavors and ingredients like ube (purple yam), custom sprinkles, vivid frosting colors will reign as everyone’s favorite Instagram eye candy.
The mixology trend in cocktail bars will spill over into the non-alcoholic realm with a rise in bottled shrubs (fruited vinegars), craft sodas, seltzers, elixirs, and tonics. Both bars and at-home bartenders will add specialty non-alcoholic mocktails to their repertoires to be inclusive to under-21 foodies and anyone who wants to enjoy cocktail flavors without the hangover.
5. Specialty Spice Blends
Home cooks are always looking for low-effort, low-cost ways to make classic dishes more exciting. Creative, gourmet spice blends will be big this year. We’ll see continued enthusiasm for ethnic favorites like za’atar (a Middle Eastern blend of toasted sesame seeds, thyme, salt, and sumac) and vadouvan curry (French-influenced curry powder with shallots, onions, and garlic added to spices such as turmeric, fenugreek seeds, cumin, and brown mustard seeds).
Food purveyors will also release reinvented or reformulated specialty spice blends for meats and veggies, using innovative combos of hot peppers, seeds, salts, and other seasonings.
6. New Super Foods
Health and wellness aren’t going out of style anytime soon. A few newcomers are joining the ranks of coconut oil, matcha, and chia this year: maqui berries, watermelon seeds, radish seeds, chaga mushroom tea, and MCT oil.
7. Gluten-Free Alternatives
This health trend is still going strong in 2018! The last two years were huge for wheat-free/gluten-free products, restaurant dishes, fast casual chains, and diet-specific cookbooks and magazines. Most major grocery store chains now have dedicated gluten-free aisles, and more restaurants are adding gluten-free alternatives to their menus.