Eager to see what the future holds for your rumbling stomach once the holiday leftovers have disappeared from the fridge? Same here! We’ve researched all the emerging trends in the foodsphere and with a little help from our crystal ball, we’re betting that the following trends will be making waves in 2018.
1. Street Food Goes Gourmet
It’s the shining light after a long night out. Hearing “tacos”, “tamales”, or “sausage” is music to your bass-deafened ears. It’s the bugle call at the end of the night; and, let’s face it, the only one you’re likely to answer (sorry, mom!). It’s street food. However, the traditional city street food cart is now getting an upgrade. From pushcarts, to pedals to food trucks, the street food has made its way into the pseudo-gourmet scene. The Darwin-style evolution continues on to top-rated and Michelin starred restaurants where $2 carnitas tacos have inspired a almost unrecognizable molecular gastronomy treatment to the humble taco. You need only take a glance at some high-end menus in the new year to find street food has gone gourmet.
2. Korean Condiments
If the past few months are any indication, we’ll all be going gochujang in 2018. This Korean red chili paste is the new black – actually, make that “the new Sriracha”. Korean condiments such as doenjang, ganjang and kimchi are on a world tour, stopping in the U.S. in the new year. Keep an eye (and your taste buds out) for these spicy, funky and savory sauces.
3. Craft Soda
For those of you who missed the craft beer trend or aren’t keen on the modernist cocktail scene, there’s craft soda. Due to the mounting negative perception of artificially flavored sodas on the shelves, micro manufacturers have emerged, offering the promise of healthier options. Following in craft beer’s footsteps, unique flavors like “fig elixir”, “tarragon black cherry” and “agave vanilla creme” are popping up in stores in beautifully designed bottles. So, who knows – you may want to cross “drink less soda” off your resolution list, and explore these potentially healthier alternatives instead.
Not all heroes wear capes. At the end of the day, the term “superfood” is just media jargon for “vitamin-packed” and “really, really, really good for you”. While you won’t see turmeric flying in to save the day in a ridiculously tight suit and cape, it, along with many other “super” ingredients, does have many health benefits. Look for goji berries, cacao, chia seeds, maca powder, nutritional yeast and many others when browsing the aisles for your resolution-friendly meals.
5. Middle Eastern Food
While kebabs may already be your go-to during a late night binge, prepare your tastebuds for a lot more Middle Eastern flair in the new year. Warm spices like cumin, coriander and cardamom as well as flavorful blends like za’atar and harissa are totally having a moment. Look out for Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian, and Lebanese influenced dishes on a menu near you in 2018.
6. Meal Kits
This isn’t a #shameless plug, but a very apparent trend that’s shaking up the food world, especially grocery. They’re a convenient and often healthy alternative to expensive takeout and hunger fueled grocery trips. However, the joy of cooking is still alive and well. It’s a way to skip the store (or that food app) and have quick and easy meals by creating box meals delivered straight to your door. Keep a look out for more grocery store and meal kit partnerships in the new year.
Ohhhhhhh when the moon meets your eye, it’s like a big peachy pie – now that’s amoré! Pie’s no longer reserved for saving the day when there’s a heated debate brewing at the holiday table. No, it’s now a make-you-feel-at-home dessert all year round. Even being served at weddings as a cake alternative, pies of all kinds are the shining (and delicious) rising star of the dessert world.
8. Sugar Alternatives
Hey honey, how about a date? We’re talking natural sweeteners, and we won’t sugar coat it. With the health-conscious concerns increasing, consumers continue to look to alternative sweeteners for a lower glycemic impact on their health. Sweeteners made from dates, agave, coconut sugar, honey and even monk fruit will emerging options for sugar in 2018. Sweet Tooths, rejoice!
9. Veggie Burgers
Plant-based and proud is the movement we’re predicting will continue to pick up speed in 2018. The rise of vegan and vegetarian recipes has given way to mainstream meat-alternatives everywhere, from fast casual chains to the freezer aisle. Look to plant-based proteins like seitan, lentils, black beans, and quinoa for a guiltless-yet-delicious burger replacement in the new year.
It will be a lot easier to avoid alcohol thanks to a surge of artisanal and creative mocktails (see: craft soda, above). From faux sangria to not-so-boozy mules, these non-alcoholic mixes are a great way to enjoy to a blissfully hangover-free Sunday.