This new year, can we kiss kale goodbye? Will "craft" this-and-that ramp up or be replaced? What new cooking techniques or ideas will drive what lands on our plates at restaurants, on retail shelves and in home kitchens?
To find out, we turned to food industry prognosticators: the Food & Drink Resources in Denver, the McCormick Flavor Forecast and the Food Channel.
"For 2018, we're paying especially close attention to what we're seeing appear on menus and what we expect to go mainstream very soon," says Richard Keys, chef and co-founder of FDR, which focuses on product and menu development and consumer research.
Here's what's caught the eyes at FDR:
- 1) Tiki-style drinks in fuchsia, chartreuse and turquoise will reemerge, as will Hawaiian beverages and foods.
- 2) Soft-serve ice cream is going upscale with olive oil and sea salt, burnt marshmallows, mulled cherries and almonds.
- 3) New and old pizza styles of pizza gained steam in 2017.
- 4) As we predicted last year, Khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread from Georgia, formerly in the Soviet Union, reappeared. It cropped up on Compass Rose Bar & Kitchen in Washington, D.C.
- 5) Trending in 2018 will be Detroit-style pizza, which has a thick, square crust.
- 6) Mushroom madness is afoot, with the fungi found in brines, pickled, made into pate and tea, smoked, braised whole, seared, grilled and charred. While low in protein, mushrooms are high in umami (a savory taste), helping you not miss the meat that doesn't appear on FDR's trend list.
- 7) Nostalgic foods will be back on menus, from prime rib to fried bologna sandwiches.
- 8) You'll see more "naked" wines coaxed into bottles with no added yeast, no manipulation and no chemicals.
- 9) Food that helps gut health, immunity, cholesterol, inflammation, asthma, acne, depression, constipation and fatigue will remain. But with more and more chefs focusing on overall well-being, more restaurants could employ on-site nutritionists.
- 10) White flour and sugar will continue to be nudged aside by alternatives. Look for more chickpea and cassava flours, as well as sweeteners such as coconut, brown rice sugar and rapadura, the pure juice extracted from sugarcane.
- 11) Overnight oats will come into their own, with a variety of mix-ins, toppings or both, such as peanut butter, banana, chia seeds, chocolate, blueberries, walnuts and coconut. And if you don't believe FDR, do an Instagram search for #overnightoats. You'll find more than 400,000 posts on the subject, with pictures.
The McCormick Flavor Forecast highlights the casual, adventurous and interactive nature of how people eat across the globe.
"Dive into street food flavor fusion with the handheld gyro-taco hybrid," says Laurie Harrsen, marketing director for McCormick & Co. "Discover a Japanese izakaya favorite, flavorful onigiri - stuffed rice balls - sprinkled with furikake seasoning. Or take a bite of East Africa with Tanzanian barbecue skewers."
- 12) Japanese gastropubs - or izakayas - serve tasting plates similar to Spanish tapas. Recipes feature bold glazes, tangy sauces and seaweed seasoning, making for an explosion of flavor. Ishiyaki tenderloin is on the Wobbly Olive's new winter menu, an example of izakayas-style dishes.
- 12) Foods from Tanzania and Ethiopia are being discovered across the globe. An example is meat skewers, called mishkaki, similar to shish kebabs. Meat is marinated in a blend of lemon, tomatoes and green papaya to tenderize it. Curry, garlic, red pepper and ginger are added for bold flavoring.
The Food Channel, not be confused with the Food Network, suggests watching for these trends:
- 13) Sour is winning over the sweet tooth. Think fermented foods and the taste of vinegar. Sour beers are big these days.
- 14) Fish sales are growing due to popular diets that require clean protein and packaging that keeps it fresh longer.
- 15) Food is not only for sustenance. Today, it's entertainment. Travelers are in search of local foods they can discover globally.