It's hard to imagine, but we're less than two months away from 2018. That means it's time to start wrapping up 2017 and thinking about the new year. This week Whole Foods released their annual forecast of the flavors, products, and culinary influences that will take off in the next year.
Their list is compiled by industry experts, trend forecasters, and buyers with more than 100 years of combined experience in sourcing products and spotting trends. And what they think will sell is what we'll all be able to buy in stores in the next few months. That means 2018 might be a good year for anybody interested in elderflower sparkling water, mushrooms, and cooking with beet leaves and broccoli stems.
The Top Food Trends of 2018, According to Whole Foods
According to Whole Foods, these will be the 10 biggest food trends of 2018
Everything in 2018 is coming up roses. (And elderflower, lavender, hibiscus, and violets, too.) Edible flowers are huge as garnishes, salad ingredients, teas, and flavorings for everything from candy to coffee. Pistachio rose lattes were just the beginning. Now everything is going to be flower-flavored or flower-scented. Whole Foods even has lavender-lemon granola and raspberry-geranium popsicles.
2. "Super powders"
People liked the idea of protein powders so much, they're ready to add powders to anything they possibly can. Matcha and turmeric are still going strong, and powdered vegetables like kale, spirulina, spinach, and herbs are being sold in powdered form to add to smoothies and soups.
Mushrooms are delicious, and they also have a ton of health benefits. Now people are starting to use them in dietary supplements, and even in bottled beverages, teas, and coffees. A mushroom smoothie might sound odd, but it goes well with chocolate or coffee to make something really rich and interesting. (Mushrooms are also getting very popular in skin and hair care right now.)
4. More Middle Eastern cuisines
"Middle Eastern" food is a huge umbrella embracing many regional cuisines. Now people are ready to dive deeper and get more specific about what they're eating and where it comes from. Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian, and Lebanese influences are becoming more popular on menus, and shoppers are buying more spices like harissa, cardamom, and za'atar.
5. More transparency
Food doesn't magically just appear on grocery store shelves. People want to know where their food comes from, what it is, and how it got in that package on that shelf. That includes information about country of origin, GMOs, Fair Trade, sustainability, animal welfare, and more.
6. High-tech vegan food
When I first experimented with vegetarianism, the only meat alternative I could find was Tofurky. We have come a long way since then, and scientists are creating "high-tech" meat alternatives like "bleeding" vegan burgers, or sushi-grade "tuna" made from tomatoes. People are fascinated by these developments, and even non-vegans are lining up to try them.
7. Puffed and popped snacks
This one might be a surprise, but fancy Cheetos are apparently going to be a big trend in 2018, too. It makes sense when you consider how much everyone loved kale chips once they finally tried them. Crunchy snacks have always been popular, and now people are getting creative and puffing up everything from cassava to Brussels sprouts.
8. Even more tacos
The taco trend is going so hard it's starting to raise questions about how far you can take a taco before it stops being a taco. Is it still a taco if the shell is made of seaweed and the filling is made of raw fish? What about if it's made of chocolate and stuffed with ice cream? If you'd need to try it to know for sure, then you're in luck, because both of those things exist now, and they sound pretty amazing.
9. Root-to-stem recipes
We've been throwing away way too many perfectly good parts of vegetables. There's no reason to throw away beet greens, celery leaves, or the stems of artichokes or broccoli. They're perfectly edible and very tasty. It's time to stop composting them and see what they can do on the plate.
10. More fancy, sparkling, nonalcoholic beverages
LaCroix was just the gateway. Now sparkling waters and seltzers are getting even fancier, to the point where they're practically non-alcoholic cocktails with flavors like elderflower, mint, ginger-strawberry, maple, birch, and more. Even cold brew coffee is getting carbonated.
Have you found yourself using these in your own kitchen?