Food trends for 2018 – my thoughts on 5 of the predictions for next year
I cook and eat the food I love and that those around me will enjoy (hopefully!). I don’t often follow trends or diets – I don’t want to force a shoe that doesn’t fit me. It’s just not worth it. It doesn’t make them bad diets or bad ideas, it just means they aren’t meant for me personally. Our likes and dislikes keep the world interesting and full of variety, and keep inventors dreaming up new tasty ideas. I don’t believe that food is a one-size-fits-all situation!
However, it is great to keep updated with new ideas. You never know when inspiration will strike, or what new delicious things you might discover! So with that in mind, I’ve had a look at the predicted food trends for 2018 from company Whole Foods, as curated by their team of super trend spotters. I’ve picked my top 5 trends that I’m most excited to find out more about, and here’s a quick round up the 5, with my verdict.
You can read about all of the trends for 2018 from Whole Foods here http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/news/whole-foods-market-reveals-top-food-trends-for-2018
Trend #1: Floral Flavours
Flowers are already becoming increasingly common as decorations for sweet and savoury dishes, lending bursts of colour to plates. Now we’re set to fall for their fragrant flavours too, in their natural flowery form, and as a flavouring.
I have to admit, my first experiences of floral flavourings left much to be desired. Super sweet Turkish delight and Parma Violets are hardly the best advocates for this trend! (And they definitely didn’t appeal to me as a child). More recently though, I am definitely warming up to the idea. From a hint of rose in a biriyani, to the chocolate and rose dessert I had recently at Rick Stein, to the spiced rosewater chickpeas I cooked this week, rose is definitely growing on me. (Terrible pun not intended…) Add an elderflower cocktail or two and I’m already halfway there, ready to explore all of the flowery flavours available. I’ve not really tried fresh flowers before, and even less experimented with them in my own recipes, but I’m up for the challenge! Bring on the flower power!
For flower recipes galore, visit sheknows.com (above flower dessert image taken from this link)
Trend #2: Functional Mushrooms
When I saw this trend, I was 100% on board straight away. I love mushrooms, and if they’ve got added health benefits, even better! However. As it turns out, functional mushrooms actually means the kind used in traditional herbal medicines, not the tasty kind you’d want in stir fry. Varieties like reishi, chaga, cordyceps and lions mane can be taken as powders, extracts and teas, boasting improved immune systems, relaxation and improved neurological function among other benefits. Blah blah blah. They’re also not particularly renowned for their great flavours. Uh oh. Mushroom tea really doesn’t sound like my cup of –oh you get the picture.
However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, in the form of the humble button, porcini, oyster and chanterelle. All of these are popular, tasty and easy to find in the shop – and even better, they contain protein, fibre, B vitamins and selenium (which is a great support to the immune system). Hurray! Even better, the humble button mushroom also contains a source of vitamin D, which over the winter is more important than ever. Where do I sign up?
Trend #3: Middle Eastern
One of the things I love about the UK is its ability to expand and improve on the current culture by adding to it with all the best that our diverse people have to offer. Delicious foods from Middle Eastern countries have added to our varied food culture in the UK for a while now, including tangy spices, rose water, and the hot favourite, halloumi. Our love affair with everything Persian, Iranian, Moroccan, Syrian and Lebanese is about to reach new heights in 2018.
Personally, I can’t wait. I love the vibrant, intense flavours of Middle Eastern food, and with several cultures all contributing to the mix, there is a lot to choose from! I already love using the flavours of harissa and ras el hanout in my food, and am really excited to try using za’atar and pomegranate in my recipes in the near future. With other key ingredients like halloumi, lamb, tahini, parsley and mint, there is an interesting mix of the well-loved as well as the new, and I can’t wait to get stuck in. Watch this space!
For quick list of Middle Eastern inspired ideas, try this list by The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/oct/23/20-best-middle-eastern-recipes-part-1-claudia-roden-greg-malouf-tabouleh-kibbeh#img-1
Trend #4: Transparency 2.0
Knowledge about our food, including where it comes from and what it contains, is a hot topic for 2018. We want Fairtrade, responsibly sourced, sustainable food that doesn’t literally cost the Earth, and we want it now.
And rightly so! With understanding and awareness of environmental issues pushed to the top of our agendas, food should definitely be a part of this. Not only to protect the quality and safety of food itself, but also to protect the environment with sustainable food production. I want to know that my food was produced with the highest standards, whether it’s welfare for animals, sustainable farming methods, or a fair price for the producer. I want to know what ingredients are in my food, and what’s been added to it, to help me and others make better and more informed choices about what we eat. I’m a firm believer that the more knowledge we have, the better. This is the most empowering food movement for 2018. It puts us, the consumers, at the heart of food production, and is definitely worth supporting.
Trend #5: Root to Stem
The plant, the whole plant, and nothing but the plant. Sort of. In an effort to reduce plant based food wastage, a few people have come together to create the Root to Stem movement. It’s old news, but is gaining traction, and looks like it will be ever more popular next year.
It also makes a lot of sense. Reducing food wastage is really important, and on top of this, we could actually be missing out on something really delicious, that we just threw in the bin. Oops. We’re all culprits of this (I know I am! – bye bye broccoli stem…), unless you’re an utter green goddess – in which case, well done you!
But how can we use the foods we currently see as wastage in an interesting and tasty way? Well, beyond the usual stock and broth made of veggie leftovers, there’s tonnes of scope to do so much more with this, and the previously wasted food is becoming the star of the show. Think broccoli leaf pesto and sautéed beetroot leaves… (you can find more ideas like these here http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/cooking-with-vegetables-from-root-to-stem/) I think this could be really interesting, and I’m absolutely keeping an eye out for ideas. Let me know if you have any already!
So those are my top trends predicted for 2018, and honestly, even if they don’t take off as predicted, I’m still excited to try them myself anyway! Stay tunes for more on these next year…
Is there a trend are you looking forward to trying out next year? Do you think these will be popular in 2018? Let me know what you think in the comments below.