Each year a new food craze comes along that you wonder how you ever lived without — avocado toast anyone? Kale, which is now touted as a magical superfood, used to be just a garnish. So, what's next on the food-trend train? Whole Foods predicted 2018's top food trends by consulting with expert trend spotters who have more than 100 years of combined experience, according to a press release from the natural-foods grocer. In 2018 you can expect to be gaga about floral flavors, mushrooms in everything from coffee to bath and body products, and root-to-stem recipes that use the entire vegetable to help reduce food waste.
So, just how to foods become trendy anyways? The '70s seemed to be all about prunes — they were even served as kebabs — though now you'll be hard pressed to find your peers Instagramming their latest prune dish. According to Lucy Battersby on Good Food, "Food historian and author Colin Bannerman says there are always three forces driving food trends: manufacturers and supermarkets trying to make money; journalists trying to impress readers; and restaurants, which are 'always trying to re-invent themselves on an endless quest for novelty.'"
If we follow this logic, the Whole Foods predictions, coupled with me writing this story, means you should be bananas about eating tacos for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert in 2018. Here are the top food-trend predictions for 2018 so you can start making your New Year's shopping list now.
1. Edible Flowers
I've actually been eating edible flowers for a couple of years when they've shown up on my plate in a restaurant, but I have never bought them myself with the intention of eating them. According to Whole Foods' trend spotters, eating flowers is going to be all the rage in 2018. "From adding whole flowers and petals into dishes to infusing botanical flavors into drinks and snacks, this top trend makes for a subtly sweet taste and fresh aromatics," Whole Foods reported.
In 2018 you can expect floral flavors to pop up as lavender lattés —perhaps the new unicorn frap — pink hibiscus teas, and elderflower as an ingredient in cocktails and bubbly drinks. If you want to get a head start on sampling the latest floral flavors, these recommended products can get you going.
2. Mushrooms Are The New Kale
OK, I'm a big fan of this one. I've long used mushrooms as a meat substitute in everything from tacos to lasagna, and Whole Foods predicts that mushrooms are going to be huge in 2018. "Shoppers are buzzing about functional mushrooms, which are traditionally used to support wellness as an ingredient in dietary supplements. Now, varieties like reishi, chaga, cordyceps, and lion’s mane star in products across categories," Whole Foods noted.
Expect to find mushrooms showing up in bottled drinks, smoothies, coffee, chocolate, and teas. You might also start finding mushrooms as an ingredient in your bath, body, and hair-care products. According to Medical News Daily, eating mushrooms can reduce risk of certain cancers, keep your heart healthy, and boost your immune system. If you want to start adding mushrooms to your diet ASAP, you can check out some mushroom items recommended by Whole Foods now.
3. Middle Eastern Cuisine
I grew up in a city that had quite a few Middle Eastern restaurants, and when I moved away I was disappointed to learn that not everyone had cottoned on to how amazing this food truly is. Whole Foods predicts that Middle Eastern cuisine will take center state in 2018, and I for one am super psyched.
"Things like hummus, pita, and falafel were tasty entry points, but now consumers are ready to explore the deep traditions, regional nuances, and classic ingredients of Middle Eastern cultures, with Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian, and Lebanese influences rising to the top," Whole Foods reported. "Spices like harissa, cardamom and za’atar are hitting more menus, as well as dishes like shakshuka, grilled halloumi and lamb." There's no need to wait until 2018 to try this exciting food trend, you can get these Middle Eastern foods now.
4. High-Tech, Plant-Based Foods
Plant-based diets have been getting a lot of buzz, and now some high-tech innovators have conjured up some plant-based foods that look and taste more like the real thing, which just might remove the stigma from the veggie burger once and for all. "By using science to advance recipes and manipulate plant-based ingredients and proteins, these techniques are creating mind-bending alternatives like 'bleeding' vegan burgers or sushi-grade 'not-tuna' made from tomatoes," Whole Foods noted.
"These new production techniques are also bringing some new varieties of nut milks and yogurts made from pili nuts, peas, bananas, macadamia nuts, and pecans. Dairy-free indulgences like vegan frosting, brownies, ice cream, brioche and crème brûlée are getting so delicious, non-vegans won’t know the difference — or they might choose them anyway!"
I think this is pretty exciting because personally, one of the most unattractive things about plant-based diet is tofu and seitan. I just can't get past the texture. If you want to try some of these items now, high-tech, plant-based foods are already on the market.
5. Potato Chip Alternatives
Why no one has thought to make chips out of something other than potatoes for decades, I'm not sure, but the new trend of puffed and popped snacks made from things like hummus, kale, beans, and more are actually pretty delicious. My roommate and I have been devouring snacks from Simply 7, which offers varieties like quinoa curls and lentil chips that still taste like real chips but are all natural.
According to Whole Foods, "New extrusion methods (ways of processing and combining ingredients), have paved the way for popped cassava chips, puffed pasta bow ties, seaweed fava chips, and puffed rice clusters. Good-old-fashioned chips also get an upgrade as part of the trend, with better-for-you bites like jicama, parsnip, or Brussels sprout crisps." And, you can totally get these puffed and popped snacks right this second.
6. Tacos All Damn Day
All I need to hear is tacos. Seriously, I could eat tacos 24/7 and never get tired of them. If you're like me then you're going to be thrilled that tacos are taking over the world in 2018. "Tacos are showing up for breakfast, and trendy restaurants across the country have dessert variations," Whole Foods reported. "Most of all, tacos are shedding their shell for new kinds of wrappers and fillings too — think seaweed wrappers with poke filling." And, OMG, these dessert tacos are next level.
7. Root-To-Stem Veggie Recipes
If you're into living a zero-waste lifestyle, then this root-to-stem veggie trend is for you. When you make a recipe with a fruit or vegetable, you likely discard part of the food because eating a watermelon rind if weird, right? Not anymore my friendlies.
"A few forces are combining to inspire root-to-stem cooking, which makes use of the entire fruit or vegetable, including the stems or leaves that are less commonly eaten," Whole Foods noted. "Recipes like pickled watermelon rinds, beet-green pesto or broccoli-stem slaw have introduced consumers to new flavors and textures from old favorites."
8. Everything Bubbles
If plain old water doesn't do it for you, you'll be happy to know that more bubbly alternatives are predicted to be big in 2018. "These drinks are a far cry from their sugary predecessors," Whole Foods noted. "Flavored sparkling waters like plant-derived options from Sap! (made with maple and birch) and sparkling cold brew from Stumptown are shaking up a fizzy fix."
If you want to be ahead of the curve, you can get many of these items now so you can start setting the trend with killer Instagram food snaps of you eating flowers and dessert tacos while sipping your bubbly water.