Whole Foods Market has released its annual food trends report for the year ahead, highlighting trends to watch out for in 2018.
A majority of the projected trends come from recent consumer preference changes happening in the food and flavor industry. According to Whole Foods Market, consumers are going to be looking for more product transparency, plant-based beverages and food, sparkling beverages and foods with a little extra crunch. The list also included some popular ingredient trends like powders, functional mushrooms and Middle Eastern spices.
The Whole Food Market report forecasts that these will be the popular food and flavor trends for 2018:
- Floral flavors flourish. Though recently gaining ground in the U.S., floral flavors have been popular around the globe for decades. Botanical flavors will be increasingly used in drinks and snacks. Some beverages include lavender lattés, hibiscus teas and elderflower cocktails and bubbly drinks.
- Feel the power of super powders. Alternatives to coffee, such as matcha, maca root and cacao, are popping up in beverages. These powders can be easily incorporated into a range of products, including lattés, smoothies, nutrition bars, soups and baked goods.
- Functional mushrooms. Mushrooms are now being sought out for their wellness support, as well as an ingredient in dietary supplements. A variety of mushrooms, like eishi, chaga, cordyceps and lion’s mane star, are being incorporated in bottled drinks, coffees, smoothies and teas.
- A Middle East feast. Middle Eastern culinary and flavor trends have been popular for years. Now, they will continue to carve out a mainstream appeal. Spices like harissa, cardamom and za’atar are being used more frequently. Additionally, dishes like shakshuka, grilled halloumi and lamb are becoming more popular.
- Transparency. More and more, consumers are looking at their product labels. Consumers will continue to look for GMO transparency, Fair Trade certification and animal welfare claims.
- Plant power. As more consumer embrace the flexitarian lifestyle, they will be looking for more plant-based products. Dairy-free alternative such as nut milks and yogurts made from pili nuts, peas, bananas, macadamia nuts and pecan will increase in popularity.
- Puffed and popped. Consumers will also be looking for products will a little extra texture. Consumers will look for products that are puffed, popped, dried and crisped. The classic chip will embrace better-for-you alternative like jicama, parsnip or Brussels sprout crisps.
- Tacos get out of their shell. Tacos aren’t going anywhere. However, they will be appearing in new places and forms. Tacos are appearing on breakfast menus and are being wrapped in seaweed.
- Root-to-stem. Based on the popular root-to-stem cooking trend, consumers are going to look for products that use the entire plant. Products like pickled watermelon rinds, beet-green pesto and broccoli-stem slaw have introduced consumers to new textures and flavors.
- Bubbly bounces back. The expanding sparkling beverage market will continue to grow, as more people find an alternative to soda. Plant-derived sparkling beverages and sparkling cold brews will be some of the hot products of 2018.