Curious Bits: 10 Trends in Food and Future Forecasting for 2018

Aug 30, 2018


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Food trends are constantly shifting and people are constantly eating, so it makes sense that one of us has to change. In 2018, consumers are pushing for more healthy and environmentally conscious options to be at their disposal, all while taking them to a nearby town called Flavor. Whether it’s food or beverages, the consumer wants an excellent experience from plate to belly with a little pizzazz in its presentation. Food will never stop continuing to reflect what those who consume it want, so it’s imperative to listen with an open mind and an empty stomach.


Trend #1: Veggiesaurus

The vegan lifestyle has spiked by 600% since 2014. The progressive landscape of food attracts more people to the life of vegetables for various reasons, ranging from an intense love affair with the environment to being allergic to anything delicious.

Vegan diets gained popularity mainly due to dietary restrictions, environmental concerns, and that bandwagon friend everyone seems to have.

  • A recent study found veganism is up to 6% in 2018 from 1% in 2014.
  • Vegan consumers are mindful of how food affects their one true love—the Earth.
  • Brands are starting to be #inclusive and offering vegan options.


Trend #2: Something Fishy

Poké bowls consist of chunks of raw, wonderfully marinated fish over a bowl of mixed veggies and rice. They are native to Hawaii and are the latest 2018 craze because they’re basically the sushi version of a Chipotle burrito bowl, and, let’s be real: Who doesn’t love Chipotle?

“It’s the new generation of sushi,” says chef Dakota Weiss at Sweetfin Poké in Santa Monica. Sushi is incredibly popular, so it’s no surprise why this dish is a hit with the new year.

  • Notable restaurants: Sweetfin Poké, Hanjip, Aloha Poké Co., Wisefish Poké
  • The traditional Hawaiian dish has an “exotic” appeal to it.
  • Featured on the Netflix TV show Queer Eye (reboot of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy).


Trend #3: Let’s Get Digital

Online food ordering is no new trend, but grocery shopping online has gotten simpler and less time-consuming for those busy-body types. Online grocery shopping is becoming the new norm for American consumers, especially since Amazon acquired Whole Foods this past year.

Online shopping opens grocers up to a whole (pun intended) new market for foods (pun intended again).

  • According to Nielsen, 1 in 4 adults have bought a meal kit in the past year, and 70% have never looked back.
  • Online grocery shopping is convenient and easy.
  • Gluten-free, kosher, vegan, etc., options are more easily accessible.


Trend #4: Health Nut

The snack industry has evolved— doing away with the unhealthy and adopting more beneficial ingredients for happy bodies. Health-conscious consumers are going peanuts for nutritious alternatives to the traditional and otherwise unhealthy snack options available.

The snack industry now has consumers demanding healthy on-the-run options. These are not new brands, but consumers are taking so much notice of the healthy alternatives that clean eating is so 2018.

  • According to the IRI Snacking Survey, 60% of people want added health benefits/nutrients in snacks.
  • Consumers respond well to packaging with detailed benefits.
  • Nutrition and taste make it or break it.


Trend #5: Flavortown

Consumers are always looking for the most flavor-packed snack, and, in 2018 so far, brands are cranking out more unique flavors for products like it’s...their job. Variations in flavor can be seen across a variety of snack brands in order to offer that next flavor.

Snack food brands have been coming out with new flavors in order to differentiate from one another.

  • Cheetos and Doritos have tapped further into the hot category, adding more flavor.
  • Cheez-It has taken their Duoz and added popcorn/pretzels.
  • Chex Mix has an extensive line of different flavors for the sweet ’n’ salty customer.
  • Brands are developing new flavors to compete in this market.


Trend #6: Plant to Plate

Farmers markets are a favorite pastime for Americans and pop up here, there and everywhere with their local goodness. Hyper-local food is the next level—with food that’s sourced in, or on, house. The purpose is to put as little distance as possible between the plant and the plate, and one might say it’s pretty...


Hyper-local eating is in, and plain old  local is yesterday’s news. Various restaurants and brands have started sourcing their food using this method.

  • Restaurants are now expected to source hyper-local food.
  • Consumers see value in knowing their food is as fresh as possible.
  • The experience is vital to the consumer—making sure their desires are met.


Trend #7: Sweet Yourself

Desserts have been getting progressively more intricate in 2018. The dominance of many styles of ice cream and baked goods is abundant. They are also becoming more of a photo op for—you guessed it—millennials.

Dessert is a luxury experience. With new styles of sweet thangs coming out, it’s a constant battle to be a dessert god or goddess.

  • Fish ice cream, rolled ice cream, gourmet milkshakes, and rosé-infused sweets are all popular.
  • Baker Christina Tosi says 2018 will feature gourmet soft serve and naked layer cakes.
  • Everyone is more focused than years past on that perfect Instagram shot.


Trend #8: New Year, New Cow

For so long filet mignon, rib-eye and the New York strip have been the powerhouses of every restaurant. In 2018, we are seeing a shift in the slices ’n’ dices of meat being used. The shoulder tender, oyster steak and many more are starting to gain some fat with the new year.

Chefs around the country anticipate that historically popular cuts of meat will be seeing a decline, while others will be more popular than sliced bread.

  • Vegas strip, oyster steak, shoulder tender and merlot cut
  • Many other trends with new slices of meat, like house-made condiments and street-style food.


Trend #9: You Are What You Eat

Healthy eating is not new to the public eye. People have done it for ages, but the new push is for gut-friendly food/supplements and all-around improvement of the body to keep those bowel movements happy and healthy.

Gut-friendly foods promote good digestion. The appeal for these products, so far in 2018, is not only healthy eating but also enhancing how well the body’s organs can perform.

  • Fermentation is healthy for digestion and promotes a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.
  • Kombucha is a rich source of probiotics and has other healthy benefits.

Foods that promote the growth of happy bacteria in the stomach are called prebiotics.

  • Supplements like BIOHM help provide that good bacteria and fun-guys in the body.
  • Kefir and Kimchi are two other gut-friendly foods that ferment to keep those guts clean.
  • The gut helps produce 95% of serotonin in the body, and everyone’s brain loves a good dose of serotonin.


Trend #10: A Beer-utiful Beverage

Everyone loves a hoppy IPA after a long day at work or even if you’re just feeling like having a beer. The New England-style IPA is no exception. So far in 2018, it has been a fan favorite and will only continue to be. The microbrews are coming out on top, while larger brewers are struggling to stay above water.

Recently, New England-style IPA (hazy/juicy IPA) sales have been increasing steadily due to the rise of microbrews and appeals to taste buds.

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