Upcoming Trends for 2018
In today’s fast-changing world of social media, it can take a single posted comment to drive the latest food or drink phenomenon. Food blogger, Carina Maggar, comments, ‘I never thought in my wildest food dreams that we would live in a world where one minute avocados are considered ‘on trend’ only to be replaced by pickled carrots the moment we turn a blind eye!’
Certainly, with January 2018 in full swing, food experts from all over the world have already stated their predictions for the most innovative food and drink trends they believe will make the largest impact throughout the year and beyond.
Whole Foods Market (now owned by Amazon) predict that an exciting array of new and highly innovative products are about to appear on our supermarket shelves. They believe it will become commonplace for floral flavours to be infused into a number of beverages and not unusual to see “lavender lattes, hibiscus teas, elderflower cocktails, and rose-flavoured everything.’ They envisage mushrooms coming into their own with unexpected appearances in drinks, coffee, smoothies and even beauty products. Mushroom latte to boost metabolism and improve brain power is an option already on offer by some coffee shops. Traditional Middle Eastern staples such as hummus, pita and falafel are likely to be overtaken by harissa, cardamom and Tunisian favourite shakshuka, whilst in America the surging popularity of Ayurvedic herbs and baobab is testimony to the demand being sought for health benefit ingredients.
In the aisles of German supermarkets the appeal of innovative textures and flavoursome food products is already in evidence. A search for the traditional range of ketchups will now reveal carrot ketchup which is described as delicious, natural and free from additives, colorants and gluten. Younger shoppers will discover cookies shaped like emojis, not only designed to find their sweet spot but also to engage with the popularity of social media and the concept of ‘playing’ with your food.
Above all, it is the safety and trustworthiness elements of food and drink which promises to become the overriding concern for consumers during 2018 and beyond. Leading food analysts Mintel state in their Global Food and Drink Trends 2018 Report that consumers are increasingly sensitive to ongoing health trends and that they demand complete transparency about what they are eating and drinking. Catherine Cottney, manager of trends at Mintel confirmed, ‘Consumer distrust in governments and media is spreading to companies and so is the clamour for truth and transparency in ingredients and behind-the-scenes processes. With consumers more able to question and query the action of brands, radical transparency will be the watchword for 2018.’
Mintel also predict that similar scrutiny and accountability will apply to packaging processes, resulting from government and consumer attention becoming increasingly focused on maritime conservation. Richard Cope, Senior Trends Consultant at Mintel, commented, ‘In the coming year, lobbying campaigns will make consumers more aware of ocean plastic and its impact on wildlife and their own health’. This is borne out by Mintel’s research findings that 79% of interviewees believed that people should be incentivised to recycle.
The importance of waste management has also impacted on restaurateurs, with a ‘root to leaf’ approach emerging in many restaurant kitchens. This is where chefs seek to utilise every single part of regular ingredients and include components which would not have previously been served. One example is that carrot tops are being used to create pesto and vegetable stems are being used for soup and stock products.
These days consumers control when they shop and what they buy and shopping habits continue to be revolutionised by the latest advances in technology. Dutch supermarket, Albert Heijn, became the first retailer in the Netherlands to develop an app that allows consumers to formulate a shopping list through Siri, Apple’s ‘personal assistant’ that operates through voice recognition. Retailers say that if more staple items continue to be ordered online, space could be freed up for different exotic or artisan foods, on supermarket shelves. Waitrose comment, ‘The future of supermarkets looks likely to be an experiential retail space – immersive hubs where shopping is only one of the activities on offer. After all, who would have thought ten years ago there would be supper clubs and wine bars in supermarkets?”
Tastes and trends will inevitably continue to evolve at lightning speed and take into account the changing lifestyle patterns and preferences of consumers throughout the world. Whether it is single wine sachets targeted at the increasing number of people living alone, meat substitutes that are similar in taste, texture and appearance to real meat, they say that scientific fare will disrupt perception of the traditional food chain as we know it.
2018 certainly promises to bring a diverse and fascinating range of food and related products to the global marketplace.
For further reading:
Global Food and Drink Trends 2018 by Mintel
Whole Food Markets Predicts 2018’s Top 10 Food Trends
FDIN are holding a conference:
Trends: Fashions, Flavours, and Fascinating Figures on January 30th in London.