2018 is proving to be an adventurous year in the food industry. I’ve been sipping and snacking my way through LA, so I thought I’d compile a list of what’s currently trending! There’s so much going on, from a new water revolution to now-functional mushrooms. Not to mention, souping is the new juicing, and avocado isn’t toast yet – which is a huge “hooray” for me since I’m a major avocado lover. Here are ten food trends to try in 2018:
The Trend: Plant-Based foods Fresh produce is the star of 2018, especially with the popularity of plant-based diets and veggie-centric main courses and side dishes. Bright and bold natural colors are “rocking” in the food world. Think about what the produce section of your grocery store looks like: Colorful, to say the least. Using the entire vegetable, or root-to-stem eating, is the new way to go, because it reduces the food waste that is so common at home and in restaurants. If your goal is to cut back on meat, plant proteins like lentils, black beans and quinoa will take the place of meat proteins in everyday cooking. #MeatlessMonday, anyone?
The Trend: Coffee Elixir If coffee is the first thing that comes to your mind when you wake up, then we have something in common. Now, it’s time to up the ante: Superfoods are not just for your morning smoothies anymore. Revamp your morning cup of coffee by adding protein, maca, mushroom powders and other superfoods that are nutritious and delicious. Imagine actually getting health benefits out of a cup of coffee rather than just a caffeine fix. It’s a win-win!
The Trend: Air Frying Also all the rage? Air fryers. Unlike a deep-fryer that uses vegetable or canola oil, air fryers circulate hot air around the food and perfectly crisp the food in a much healthier way. It may sound too good to be true, but there’s absolutely no downside. From french fries to chicken wings, recipes for air frying are popping up more and more.
The Trend: Fizzy H2O Say cheers to the other kind of bubbly. Drinking a can of flavored fizzy water is more popular than ever and has captured the hearts of millenials and moms alike. Some people I know are so hooked on La Croix flavored sparkling water that when they go to Whole Foods, they buy every case of the lime flavor that they can get their hands on. The bubbly waters make you feel like you’re drinking a soda, minus the added sugar and additives. If you love LaCroix, you’ll also enjoy Spindrift and Perrier.
The Trend: Souping Over Juicing Move over, green juice. Drinkable soups are the hot new thing: Hearty, tasty, filling and convenient. Pureed soups are packed with vitamins and nutrients, making them a delicious swap for juices. Like juicing, souping gives your digestive system a rest, but it’s unlikely to lead to the energy crashes, headaches and weight gain rebound that sugary juices have been known for. Using bone broth as the base to your soup will give you many anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
The Trend: Ghee is the Better Butter Substitute If you’re not familiar with Ghee yet, be prepared to see it everywhere this year. Ghee is clarified butter, which is produced by heating butter and removing the milk solids and water. Ghee is a healthy fat and has been used for years in Ayurvedic healing practices. Ghee has a rich, nutty flavor and can be used in place of just about any other cooking oil or fat in recipes. It is the perfect substitute for butter if you have a milk allergy or are lactose intolerant.
The Trend: Donuts With Exotic Fillings 2018 is the year of creative fillings for donuts, not only in your neighborhood donut shop, but also in the fine dining world. Everyone still wants to splurge every now and then and when they do, donuts with fun and interesting flavor combinations are hard to beat. Fillings such as pineapple with basil cream, meyer lemon curd, mojito and mint leaf, lavender and berry with goat cheese are all the rage. Definitely different from your classic glazed donut!
The Trend: Functional Mushrooms Who would have thought that mushrooms and fungi would be the next big thing? Mushroom fans claim that they can cure everything from high blood sugar to arthritis. Medicinal mushroom powders are popping up in bottled drinks and can be added to coffees, smoothies and teas. When I went to check out the Four Sigmatic mushroom shop in Venice, CA, I got a brief education on mushrooms’ many health benefits. There’s even an e-learning course called Mushroom Academy where you can learn all about the benefits of medicinal mushrooms. The best part is, the course is absolutely free.
The Trend: Floral Flavors and Edible Flowers In addition to being used as beautiful decorative touches, more and more edible flowers are being sourced for their specific flavors. Think lavender lattes and rose flavored everything, from drinks to desserts. Flowers like lavender, violet and hibiscus are moving from fancy restaurant plates to grocery store shelves, so keep an eye out the next time you’re baking or hosting a tea.
The Trend: Overall Well-Being Through Food The saying “you are what you eat” has never been more true. The emphasis of body and mind connections are influencing new food and beverage introductions in 2018. Healing the “gut” and curing what ails you through ayurvedic cooking has become increasingly popular. If you’re interested in learning more, www.countertopfoods.com is all about cooking with spices medicinally. Their products “help make the food you already love into food that your body will love you for.” More on this in another post.
In 2018 and in the trending food world, you’ll also notice a few other things. Dumplings still dominate. Meatballs are on a roll and tacos are here to stay. Only this time, look for breakfast tacos, dessert tacos and even sushi tacos. Yum! This year’s pizza trend will be square shaped pizzas. Grocery delivery (www.milkandeggs.com) and meal kit delivery services like (www.blueapron.com) will only get bigger. Of course, a few things will stay the same: I can promise you that mocktails will never replace cocktails.
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