The Weekly: December 27, 2017

December 27, 2017

IFT Top Story

The new year is just around the corner and the food and beverage industry is buzzing with predictions for what it will hold. In this special edition of the Weekly newsletter, the editors of Food Technology magazine have compiled their 2018 predictions for the industry in addition to the latest forecasts from market research leaders—including Mintel, Innova, and Sterling-Rice Group—and manufacturers and retailers, such as McCormick, Firmenich, and Whole Foods.

Food Technology editors predict trends for 2018
The editors at Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, have announced their predictions on hot food trends for 2018. Here’s what they’re forecasting for next year.

Bob SwientekAt-Home Food Production
Heightened consumer interest in where their food comes from and how it’s made is helping spur more meals cooked and eaten at home. Multicooker sales grew nearly 80% in 2017, and expect to see sales of vacuum sealing and water bath machines for sous vide cooking rise in 2018. Indoor grow kits for herbs, mushrooms, and veggies are gaining in popularity, and hydroponics and aquaponics will find more niches in the kitchen. To meet consumer demand in the 1980s, builders made fireplaces standard in homes. In the next decade, the desire for fresh food may lead to builders offering mini greenhouses or garden window boxes for in-home food gardens.
—Bob Swientek, Editor-in-Chief

Mary Ellen KuhnA Retail Scramble
Faced with all kinds of new competitive threats—everything from Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods to Aldi’s $3.4-billion investment in its U.S. stores—mainstream grocery retailers will struggle to differentiate themselves with new merchandising strategies, expanded prepared foods offerings, and an array of new home delivery/in-store pickup options. The biggest beneficiary? Consumers, who will reap the benefits of better bargains and more choices.
—Mary Ellen Kuhn, Executive Editor

Kelly HenselPersonalized Culinary GPS
With the rising popularity of meal kits and consumers’ desire to know how their food is made, many people are deciding to forgo restaurants and cook at home. Now, companies like Innit are making it easier to do that. Innit has released an app that integrates all four phases of the eating ritual—planning, shopping, preparing, and cooking—and assists home cooks with each phase through a seamless system. And the app automatically connects to any smart appliances to send cooking instructions specifically tailored to the food and the appliance. Next year, consumers can expect to see more tools like this one make their debut to help consumers with each step in the meal-making process. Perhaps it will even encourage more consumers to buy those “smart” appliances.
—Kelly Hensel, Senior Digital Editor

Animal Welfare Versus Price
The stigma of conventionally produced animal products will decrease as consumers realize that they cannot or will not absorb the higher costs associated with “humanely raised” beef, poultry, and pork.
—Toni Tarver, Senior Technical Editor

Karen NachayEmphasis on Texture
Ingredient innovations in starches, gums, emulsifiers, and others will bring enhancements and new dimensions to the textures of foods and beverages. The texture of products will continue to be one of the selling points many manufacturers call out on packaging and product descriptions.
—Karen Nachay, Senior Associate Editor

Margaret MalochlebA Flavor Explosion
With ethnic foods becoming increasingly accessible and mainstream, consumers are developing an appetite for new and exciting tastes. Look for traditional Hispanic and Asian spices and seasonings, such as jalapeño, poblano, and ginger, to be joined by more exotic ingredients and flavors, including dragon fruit, ghost pepper, harissa, and bitter orange. On the lighter side, 2018 will see tropical fruit and flower flavors on the rise, with essences of lavender, lychee, hibiscus, jackfruit, and rosehip infused in flavored waters, teas, cocktails, desserts, ice cream, and candy.
—Margaret Malochleb, Associate Editor

Elizabeth SloanOutsourcing In-Home Meals
U.S. consumers will continue to outsource food preparation. Nearly one-third of all evening meals are now completely prepared outside of the home. Supermarket prepared foods are the fastest-growing foodservice sector. More restaurants meals are eaten off premise than on premise as drive-through and home delivery of fast foods continue to grow.
—A. Elizabeth Sloan, Contributing Editor, Consumer Trends

Linda Milo OhrDispelling Distrust
Manufacturing processes considered more natural and less harmful to the environment, such as fermentation and water extraction, will grow in acceptance and demand. Ultimately, building trust among consumers will continue to be a driving force in the health and wellness market.
—Linda Milo Ohr, Contributing Editor, Nutraceuticals

Neil MermelsteinAnalytical Advances
Analytical laboratories, consulting firms, associations, and regulatory agencies will continue to offer guidance on complying with the seven U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. Companies manufacturing products for detecting pathogens and spoilage microorganisms will continue to improve their products, and universities, research organizations, and regulatory agencies will continue to work on improving methods of analysis and instruments––all with the goal of making the food supply even safer.
––Neil H. Mermelstein, Editor Emeritus/Contributing Editor, Food Safety & Quality

Claire Koelsch SandMore Cachet for Recycled Packaging
Recycled packaging will have high value as the economic and social power of a sustainable circular economy will exceed that which advocates the continual use of new natural resources. In addition, active packaging science will decrease microbial loads and minimize processing associated with fresh produce and meat through the controlled release of refined compounds. Intelligent packaging will enable personalization of mass produced and distributed goods.
—Claire Koelsch Sand, Contributing Editor, Packaging

Tara McHughA Real Presence for Virtual Reality in Food Processing
Imagine touring your new food processing facility before it is built, performing training on the use of processing equipment without having to halt production, or seeing inside your production machinery while it is operating. Virtual reality (VR) offers this potential and more. As prices continue to drop on electronics needed to support VR systems, it is anticipated that this exciting technology will find greater usage in food processing. 
—Tara McHugh, Contributing Editor, Processing

Flavor Forecast

McCormick highlights global cuisine, bold seasonings in its 2018 Flavor Forecast
McCormick & Co. has unveiled its annual McCormick Flavor Forecast, revealing the trends that will shape culinary innovation—in home kitchens, at restaurants, and on retail shelves—in the years to come. This year’s Flavor Forecast highlights the casual, adventurous, and interactive nature of how people are eating across the globe today. Dive into street food flavor fusion with a gyro-taco hybrid, or take a bite of East Africa with spicy Tanzanian BBQ skewers and tomato onion sauce.

“For 2018, look to new eating experiences that invite sharing, are globally inspired, and pack a flavorful punch,” said Kevan Vetter, executive chef at McCormick. “A steamy pot of spiced broth is the centerpiece of an Asian hot pot cooking party. Meat, seafood, and veggies are offered for dunking, then scooped out and topped with various sauces and fresh garnishes. Change up the ingredients to make it a Mexican or West Indies hot pot next time.”

Identified by a global team of McCormick chefs, food technologists, and flavor experts, these trends offer a taste of 2018 and beyond:

  • Handheld Flavor Fusion: Take to the streets for the latest fusing of global cuisines. Carts, trucks, and food halls are merging high-flavor fillings with unique crepes, buns, and breads for loaded street fare you eat with your hands. Arepas are a taco-sandwich hybrid made from crispy corn cakes stuffed with sliced meat, veggies, and spicy tzatziki sauce.
  • A Bite of East Africa: East African cuisine is a treasure trove of flavor. The signature seasonings, BBQ marinades, and sauces of Tanzania and Ethiopia are being explored across the globe. Ethiopia’s most popular seasoning—berbere—contains an array of spices like paprika, allspice, coriander, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and red pepper.
  • Japanese Izakaya Eats: Sushi isn’t the only bite-sized food Japan has to offer. Izakayas—Japanese gastropubs—serve up casual tasting plates, similar to Spanish tapas. Featuring bold glazes, seaweed seasonings, and tangy dipping sauces, these dishes are an explosion of flavor. In Japan, furikake—a coarse mixture of seaweed, sesame, dried seafood, sugar, and salt—is sprinkled on everything from rice and noodles to veggies and seafood.
  • Drink to Your Wellness: Breakfast boosts, snacking soups, and end-of-day sips feature robust flavors and uplifting ingredients like cucumber, dandelion greens, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne pepper.
  • Globetrot with Hot Pot: Throw an Asian hot pot party and leave the cooking to your guests. Gather friends around a steamy pot of deeply flavored broth. Offer meat, seafood, and veggies for dunking, then finish with various toppings for a new DIY meal. This East Asian favorite can be easily changed up to go Mexican, Caribbean, and more.

2018 Flavor Forecast

Firmenich names fig the 2018 ‘Flavor of the Year’
Firmenich has announced fig as “Flavor of the Year” for 2018 based on the growing appeal for this healthy and fruity flavor worldwide. Long touted for its culinary uses as well as its health benefits—including its high fiber content and a variety of essential minerals such as magnesium, manganese, calcium, and potassium—fig has surged in popularity in recent years. Firmenich’s trend insights show that fig resonates with consumers who perceive it to represent health and authenticity, two trends that topped Euromonitor’s outlook for 2017. In addition, as consumers look to replace processed sugar with alternative sweeteners, fig has become a common go-to substitute.

“A true feel-good flavor, fig is becoming increasingly popular with consumers, with fig-flavored products growing by more than 80% between 2012 and 2016,” said Chris Millington, president of Firmenich, Flavors. “With its numerous health benefits and sweet and satisfying flavor profile, fig offers endless opportunities to inspire our customers and delight their consumers across a wide range of food categories.”

Already used in jams and cereal, fig has increasingly been making its way into other categories including yogurt, tea, energy drinks, and even chewing gum. In savory dishes, fig provides a sweetness that pairs well with the salt-forward flavor of cured meats, evident by the popularity of menu items such as bacon-wrapped figs and prosciutto and fig pizza. Firmenich sees no boundaries for where fig can go—with categories such as alcoholic drinks and protein ripe for fig-inspired product development.

Press release

Comax Flavors’ 2018 Flavor Trends
Health and wellness continues to be an underlying and important aspect of consumers’ behavior and attitudes towards food and beverages. The younger demographics drive experimentation and innovation with new dimensional flavor combinations and textures. In response to the ever-changing demographics and the evolution of health and wellness, Comax Flavors has introduced its 2018 Flavor Trends divided into four flavor collections:

  • Not Milking It: According to Innova Market Insights, the global market for dairy alternative drinks is expected to reach $16.3 billion in 2018, up dramatically from $7.4 billion in 2010. The Not Milking It line of flavors can be used in a variety of nut milk-based applications including beverages, frozen desserts, and yogurts. Flavors in this group include: Salted Caramel S’mores made for cashew milk, Sweet Potato Maple Cinnamon made for almond milk, and Turmeric Golden Milk made for coconut milk.
  • Rest Assured: In response to consumers’ desire for better sleep there are a variety of consumer products and services designed to help induce or enhance sleep ranging from pillows and beds to nap centers and sleep-inducing spa treatments as well as alarm clocks and a few beverages. The Rest Assured flavor collection can be used in several applications such as ready-to-drink coffee, tea, juice, still and sparkling beverages as well as hot beverages, alcohol, ice cream, candy, baked goods, and nutrition bars. Flavors in this group include: Cherry Chamomile, Honey Lavender, and Warm Milk.
  • Think Pink: The “millennial pink” color gained cult status in 2016 and now it can be seen in lifestyle products such as fashion, accessories, and art and design. Driven by this trend, rosé and rosé-based cocktails took off and now pink has become so popular it’s appearing in unexpected foods. The Think Pink collection can be used in multiple applications such as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including sparkling drinks, juice, and tea, beverage syrup, nutrition and performance products, candy, and sorbet. Flavors in this group include: Pineapple Watermelon, Pink & White Cookie, and Rosé Black Cherry Lemonade.
  • The Familiar with the Not So Familiar: Mash-Ups or hybrid foods and beverages are not new but thanks to Chefs like Dominique Ansel and his cronut, now consumers expect them. The Familiar with the Not So Familiar flavor collection taps into consumers’ craving for dimensional flavors that add an element of surprise. Flavors in this group include: Deep Fried Cookie Dough, Raspberry Chipotle, and Whiskey Pickle.

Comax Flavors

CPG Forecast

Global beverage, U.S. CPG sectors to remain stable in 2018
According to Moody’s Investors Service, the 2018 outlook for the global consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector is positive and for global beverages it is stable. In the United States, the outlook for the CPG sector is stable.

“Further penetration into emerging markets will remain a key driver of growth for global consumer packaged goods companies over the next 12 to 18 months,” said Kevin Cassidy, Moody’s vice president. “Growth will vary by country, but will continue to exceed that in developed economies.”

Moody’s stable outlook for the global beverages industry reflects slow growth in many emerging markets, even as some stabilize. Sales of beer and carbonated soft drinks will decline in some developed markets, while the trend toward craft and imported beers, as well as premium spirits and wines, will continue, though the pace of growth will slow. Moody’s expects industry earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to grow 4%–5% in the coming one to two years, while beverage companies also face some commodity price inflation.

Meanwhile, Moody’s stable outlook for the U.S. CPG sector reflects steady global economic growth. Cost-cutting will remain a key driver of profitability, with EBIT set to grow 4.0%–4.5% over the next 12 to 18 months. The pace of operating efficiency gains will slow, however, and more savings will be reinvested to reinvigorate sales. Moody’s also expects debt levels to rise on the back of rising merger and acquisition activity and share buybacks.

Press release

‘Mindful Choices’ tops Innova’s 2018 trend list
The increasingly thoughtful and mindful consumer will continue to catalyze changes in the way that companies produce, package, and label their products, predicts Innova Market Insights. Better-for-you claims continue to be on-trend, having increased their market penetration from 42% in 2012 to 49% in 2017 year to date. This is why “Mindful Choices” tops the list of trends Innova predicts for 2018.

Innova Market Insights’ top five trends for the coming year are:

  1. Mindful Choices: Consumers are more conscious than ever about making responsible food choices, and increasingly want to know what is in their food and how it is produced. Innova Market Insights research data indicates that one in two U.S., U.K., and German consumers read ingredient labels often and that seven out of 10 U.S. and U.K. consumers want to know and understand ingredient lists. At the same time, rising levels of interest in ethical issues have resulted in the use of ethical claims for food and drink new product development soaring in recent years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44% over the 2011–2016 period.
  2. Lighter Enjoyment: As consumers continue to look for ways to eat and drink more healthily, lightness in terms of alcohol content, sweetness, flavor, texture, or even portion size is increasing its appeal, although not at the expense of a familiar, high quality, and indulgent taste profile.
  3. Positively Processed: As consumers become more concerned about naturalness and minimal processing techniques, the industry is reviving traditional processes such as fermented foods and cold brew tea and coffee, alongside the development of new ones.
  4. Going Full Circle: The notion of closing the circle is increasingly taking hold, with greater consumer expectation that companies and brands will be more resource-smart via developments such as tip-to-tail eating, innovative uses for food waste, and more biodegradable and renewable packaging.
  5. Beyond the Coffeehouse: While coffee is clearly trending among Millennial and Generation Z consumers, tea is also seeking to reinvent itself among the younger generations. With the taste and experiential associations of coffee and the healthy image of tea, the industry is increasingly using coffee and tea as ingredients and flavors outside the hot drinks and iced tea and coffee subcategories across a wide variety of products as varied as energy bars, yogurt, and jam.

Press release (pdf)

Whole Foods Market reveals top food trends for 2018
Whole Foods Market’s global buyers and experts have announced the food trends for the year ahead. Floral flavors, functional mushrooms, and root-to-stem recipes are just a few of the picks expected to take off in 2018. The trend-spotters compiled this list based on more than 100 years of combined experience in product sourcing and studying consumer preferences.

Whole Foods Market’s top 10 trends for 2018:

  1. Floral Flavors: Foragers and culinary stars have embraced edible petals for years, but floral inspiration is finally in full bloom. From adding whole flowers and petals into dishes to infusing botanical flavors into drinks and snacks, this top trend makes for a subtly sweet taste and fresh aromatics. Look for flowers used like herbs in things like lavender lattés and rose-flavored everything.
  2. Super Powders: Because powders are so easy to incorporate, they’ve found their way into lattés, smoothies, nutrition bars, soups, and baked goods. For an energy boost or an alternative to coffee, powders like matcha, maca root, and cacao are showing up in mugs everywhere. Smoothie fans are raising a glass to powders like spirulina, kale, herbs, and roots. Even protein powders have evolved beyond bodybuilders to pack in new nutrients like skin- and hair-enhancing collagen.
  3. Functional Mushrooms: Traditionally used to support wellness as an ingredient in dietary supplements, varieties like reishi, chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane can now be found in products across categories. Bottled drinks, coffees, smoothies, and teas are leading the way. The rich flavors also lend themselves to mushroom broths, while the earthy, creamy notes pair well with cocoa, chocolate, or coffee flavors.
  4. Feast from the Middle East: Middle Eastern culinary influences have made their way west for years, and 2018 will bring these tasty traditions into the mainstream. Things like hummus, pita, and falafel were tasty entry points, but now consumers are ready to explore the deep traditions, regional nuances, and classic ingredients of Middle Eastern cultures, with Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian, and Lebanese influences rising to the top. Spices like harissa, cardamom, and za’atar are hitting more menus, as well as dishes like shakshuka, grilled halloumi, and lamb.
  5. Transparency 2.0: More is more when it comes to product labeling. Consumers want to know the real story behind their food, and how that item made its way from the source to the store. GMO transparency is top-of-mind, but shoppers seek out other details, too, such as Fair Trade certification, responsible production, and animal welfare standards.
  6. High-Tech Goes Plant-Forward: Plant-based diets and dishes continue to dominate the food world, and now the tech industry has a seat at the table, too. By using science to advance recipes and manipulate plant-based ingredients and proteins, these techniques are creating alternatives like “bleeding” vegan burgers or sushi-grade “not-tuna” made from tomatoes. These new production techniques are also bringing some new varieties of nut milks and yogurts made from pili nuts, peas, bananas, macadamia nuts, and pecans.
  7. Puffed & Popped Snacks: Crunchy snacks are perennial favorites, but new technology is revolutionizing all things puffed, popped, dried, and crisped. New extrusion methods have paved the way for popped cassava chips, puffed pasta bow ties, seaweed fava chips, and puffed rice clusters.
  8. Tacos Come Out of Their Shell: This street-food star is no longer limited to a tortilla, or to savory recipes: Tacos are showing up for breakfast, and trendy restaurants across the country have dessert variations. Most of all, tacos are shedding their shell for new kinds of wrappers and fillings too—think seaweed wrappers with poke filling.
  9. Root-to-Stem: Between nose-to-tail butchery and reducing food waste, a few forces are combining to inspire root-to-stem cooking, which makes use of the entire fruit or vegetable, including the stems or leaves that are less commonly eaten. Recipes like pickled watermelon rinds, beet-green pesto, or broccoli-stem slaw have introduced consumers to new flavors and textures from old favorites.
  10. Say Cheers to the Other Bubbly: LaCroix may have paved the way, but now there’s an entire booming category of sparkling beverages vying for consumer attention. Flavored sparkling waters like plant-derived options from Sap! (made with maple and birch) and sparkling cold brew from Stumptown are shaking up a fizzy fix. Shoppers are also toasting mocktail must-haves like Topo Chico and Whole Foods Market Lime Mint Elderflower Italian Sparkling Mineral Water.

Press release

Mintel announces five global packaging trends for 2018
Mintel, a leading market intelligence agency, has announced five trends set to impact the global packaging industry over the coming year:

  1. Packaged Planet: A focus on package innovations that extend food freshness, preserve ingredient fortification, and ensure safe delivery is increasingly benefiting consumers. Brands will need to act fast by exploiting on-pack communication tools to educate consumers to the benefits packaging can bring, from extending shelf life of food to providing efficient and safe access to essential products in developed and underserved regions of the world.
  2. rEpackage: Online shopping is becoming increasingly widespread around the globe and is near ubiquitous in some markets. When designing packaging to be viewed online, and transit packaging to be opened upon delivery in the home, the experience of e-commerce packaging must reflect consumer expectations from shopping with that brand in-store.
  3. Clean Label 2.0: Today’s consumers are more informed than ever; however, brands are in real danger of being rejected if consumers feel overloaded with information, leading to the questioning of provenance, authenticity, and transparency. Brands must bring the next generation of clean label to packaging design to provide a moment of calm and clarity for shoppers in an increasingly hectic retail environment.
  4. Sea Change: Concerns over safe packaging disposal will increasingly color consumers’ perceptions of different packaging types, and impact shopper purchase decisions. While collecting waste plastic from the sea to recycle into new packaging can raise consumer awareness, it won’t solve the problem. In order to keep plastic out of the sea, a renewed effort toward the circular economy is needed to keep packaging material in use.
  5. rEnavigate: Young shoppers are increasingly “shopping the periphery,” visiting the fresh and chilled aisles around the store perimeter and turning their backs on processed, ambient, and frozen offerings in the center of the store. The use of transparent materials, contemporary design, recyclability, or unique shapes can help draw in younger consumers to the store center.

“Our packaging trends for 2018 reflect the most current and forward-looking consumer attitudes, actions, and purchasing behaviors in both global and local markets,” said David Luttenberger, global packaging director at Mintel. “Such trends as those we see emerging in e-commerce packaging have stories that are just now being written. Others, such as the attack on plastics, are well into their third or even fourth chapters, but with no clear ending in sight. It is those backstories and future-forward implications that position Mintel’s 2018 Packaging Trends as essential to retailer, brand, and package converter strategies during the coming year and beyond.”

Press release

Foodservice Forecast

Chefs predict top menu trends for 2018
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) annually explores the top menu trends for the coming year. For this year’s “What’s Hot” culinary forecast, the NRA surveyed 700 professional chefs to find which foods, beverages, and culinary themes will be hot on restaurant menus in 2018.

According to the survey, menu trends that will be heating up in 2018 include donuts with non-traditional filling, ethnic-inspired kids’ dishes, farm/estate-branded items, and heritage-breed meats. Trends that are cooling down include artisan cheeses, heirloom fruits and vegetables, and house-made charcuterie.

Among the top 20 food trends identified by the surveyed chefs are:

  • House-made condiments
  • Street food-inspired dishes (e.g., tempura, kabobs, dumplings, pupusas)
  • Sustainable seafood
  • Vegetable carb substitutes (e.g., cauliflower rice, zucchini spaghetti)
  • Uncommon herbs (e.g., chervil, lovage, lemon balm, papalo)
  • Ethnic spices (e.g., harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout, shichimi)
  • Thai-rolled ice cream
  • African flavors
  • Donuts with non-traditional filling (e.g., liqueur, Earl Grey cream)
  • Ancient grains (e.g., kamut, spelt, amaranth, lupin)

“Local, vegetable-forward, and ethnic-inspired menu items will reign supreme in the upcoming year. Guests are implementing these trends in their own lifestyles and want to see them reflected on restaurant menus. In response, chefs are creating more items in-house and turning to global flavors,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the NRA.

NRA What’s Hot

Culinary trends shaping American meals in 2018
Sterling-Rice Group (SRG) has identified six top culinary trends, such as savory breakfasts, slow doughs, and spiced coffees, that will stand out on menus, expand onto grocery shelves, and attract consumer interest across the United States in the year ahead.

SRG’s 2018 Cutting-Edge Culinary Trends were compiled by SRG’s culinary team, led by Culinary Director Liz Moskow. The report is the culmination of a year-long examination of the global foodscape, based on international scouting trips, in-depth primary research, and input from SRG’s Culinary Council, a team of more than 175 chefs, restaurateurs, and food experts from around the world.

Look for these culinary trends to expand and grow next year as they move from cutting edge to mainstream:

  • Coffee + Spice is Everything Nice: Say goodbye to café lattes and hello to the flavor and functional benefits that herbs and spices add; think chai-style coffee or coffee layered with flavors of cinnamon, orange zest, and clove.
  • U-mami Makes Breakfast: Diners are beginning to embrace jianbing, a traditional Chinese street-food breakfast crepe brushed with umami-rich hoisin and chili sauce; layered with egg, pickled veggies, and herbs, and sometimes customized with sausage or bacon.
  • Moringa is the Thinga: Consumers just can’t get enough of the green, which is why we predict that moringa—a superfood derived from the dried leaves of the “tree of life”—will be popular in 2018 and beyond. With more protein, fiber, calcium, and vitamins than matcha, watch for moringa to become the next matcha or golden milk.
  • Slow Dough: The frenzy for fermentation continues as artisan bakers and makers of pinsa—an ancient Roman style of pizza that uses a flour blend with longer fermentation periods to make the bread easier to digest—will spur a revolution in the way crusts are crafted.
  • Trendy Tea and the Chickpea: Burmese cuisine—a blend of Chinese, Laotian, Indian, and Thai flavors—has the staying power to appeal to a variety of different palates, and SRG predicts it will be pushing front and center in 2018.
  • The Objectification of Food: Instagram has made food evermore about styling than substance. Next year the Culinary Institute of America will start offering classes on how to take “Insta-ready” photos of food. Full-on art installations and “foodzeums” are being created specifically to engage visually with food through the lens of a phone. Heading into 2018, we will continue to see visual food experiences created with the explicit purpose of getting the perfect photo opp.

Press release

CCD Innovation’s 2018 Food Trends That Matter
CCD Innovation, strategic food and beverage innovation agency, has released the 2018 Food Trends That Matter—its outlook on the trends that will be attracting eaters’ attention and influencing new product innovation in 2018.

“These nine trends matter because they reflect 2018’s core food values grouped into three areas—Culinary Culture, The Source, and Nutrition,” said Kara Nielsen, CCD Innovation’s vice president, trends and marketing. “They also reveal what foods, beverages, and ingredients are emerging to impact our foodscape in 2018. In each area, trends are mapped by maturity, ranging from those appearing on the horizon to others closer in view. This allows our clients to see ahead of the curve.”

The nine Food Trends That Matter are:

Culinary Culture—Connecting to kitchen arts and practices here, there, everywhere

  • Cannabis Cuisine: Ready or not, modern and artisan THC- and CBD-enhanced cuisine goes beyond brownies in 2018 thanks to “potrepreneurs” at all levels.
  • Inspired Mexican Menus: Mexican-American and Mexican chefs alike are creating stunning and unique dishes inspired by tradition, local ingredients, and personal visions.
  • Asian Treats & Sweets: Beloved dumplings and sweets like black sesame ice cream and pandan-scented desserts proliferate to delight modern palates.

The Source—Where food is from, how it’s grown or produced

  • Biodynamically Grown: Beyond organically grown ingredients emerge in plain sight and raise wine, cereal, tea, and kids’ food to higher levels of earth-focused sustainability.
  • Ever Expanding Grains: Traditional, heritage, and new varieties of grains are being cultivated with purpose, expanding choices, applications, and flavor in baked goods, beer, and plant milks.
  • Chicken Conundrum: Poultry production questions and new raw bird choices puzzle diners also tempted with a plethora of delectable chicken dishes on the menu.

Nutrition—Nutritive benefits for functional, dietary, medicinal, and well-being needs

  • Amazing Algae: Food innovation abounds with all kinds of algae—a sustainable ingredient packed with nutrients and now being turned into everything from butter to “shrimp.”
  • Brain Fuel: To keep up with “big data,” robots, and the 24/7 news cycle, consumers seek out potent energy sources to power their brains.
  • Alt-Sweet: Sugar is top of mind, whether added, natural, or artificial; sweet alternatives include dates, monk fruit, and new styles of stevia.

Press release

Grubhub: 2017’s top delivery trends, popular dishes for 2018
Grubhub, an online and mobile food-ordering company, has announced the results of its second annual “Year in Delivery” trends analysis. The data identifies the trendiest delivery dishes of 2017, as well as the foods expected to rise in popularity in 2018.

Five most popular dishes in 2017 (in comparison to orders in 2016 and 2015):

  1. Poke: 643% rise in popularity
  2. Soft pretzels: 221% rise in popularity
  3. Avocado toast: 212% rise in popularity
  4. Chips and queso: 163% rise in popularity
  5. Acai bowl: 138% rise in popularity

10 dishes expected to rise in popularity in 2018 (based on orders in 2017):

  1. Lettuce chicken wraps
  2. Poke
  3. Bulgogi bibimbap
  4. Roasted cauliflower
  5. Spicy tonkotsu ramen
  6. Kimchi fries
  7. Cinnamon buns
  8. Pumpkin soup
  9. Brisket sandwich
  10. Yellowtail belly

Press release

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