Extra Tasty & Evergreen: 2018’s Big Food Trends

From foraging to fermentation, it’s no secret that food wellness has hit the mainstream. In January, The Grocer cited three food trends that were set to make waves in supermarket aisles this year: plant-based innovation, purple ‘Instagrammable’ fare, and fermented fodder. Whether you find these food trends extra tasty or somewhat unpalatable, here’s the big trends from 2018 that are still adding flavour to the industry.

1. Veganism

Once a fringe movement for the hipster coterie, veganism is now surging in global popularity – think Veganuary, #veganhour, and VegFest UK – driven by personal health, environmental, and animal welfare awareness. According to the Vegan Society, consumer demand for meat-free food increased 987% in 2017 with around 600,000 vegans in Great Britain today, the majority of which are females aged between 15-34 (Guardian.com).

In fact, run a search for books featuring the term ‘vegan’ at Waterstones online, and it reveals more than 1,014 celebrity and chef releases from the likes of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Joe Wicks and Lucy Watson to name just a few. The high street has been equally fast to respond with openings of vegan restaurants across the country, including a Pie & Mash shop by Young Vegans in Camden (you can check out further openings here). Is it just a fad? The Food Revolution says it’s here to stay. So, at a time when you’re now as likely to see Chilli ‘non’ Carne on the menu as its carnivorous predecessor, and almond milk makes for your morning latte, plant-based power will continue to rise.

2. Probiotics

Gut health. It’s not a particularly appetising term but that hasn’t stopped consumers buying into the healthy hype of good bacteria. The prebiotic and probiotic movement continues to have its moment with new products and supplements coming to market (if you’re unsure of terms, check out Healthista’s guide here). Drinkable yoghurts – Actimel and Yakult perhaps sit front of mind – may claim majority share, but according to Nutritional Outlook, brands now need to adapt to keep up. Popular with millennials and baby boomers alike, multifunctional formulations, flavour developments, and single shot supplements will carve out new space in the category. Don’t forget the favor of fizz either. Britvic’s Purdey’s drink – a multivitamin carbonated juice – launched its ‘Thrive On’ campaign in 2016, fronted by Idris Elba. It reached 31 million consumers globally, landing a Grocer Gold award for Consumer Initiative of the Year award.

3. Fermentation

Towards the tail end of 2017, fermented foods were tipped as a top trend for 2018 by dieticians. Food Navigator dubbed fermentation an ‘intersection of two mega-trends’ – ‘natural’ products and clean eating – lending insight into its soaring popularity. Rich in probiotics linked to digestive health, preservation of perishable foods like Sauerkraut, Miso and Kimchi have become the go-to foods associated with functional fermentation. In April of this year, Mintel published a blog charting the revival of fermentation, particularly within the European drinks market (Kefir, anyone?). However, traditional foods and the power of pickling will also spark new horizons for this artisan trends, segueing into dairy and bakery cultures. Check out kalsec’s briefings for more.

4. Hyper-local

It is well documented that consumer expectations around food provenance has evolved in recent times. Last year, Business Insider UK prompted investors to pay attention to the demand for locally grown produce, and for good reason. Hyper-local food has boomed in the UK, with BBC Good Food citing figureheads such as chef René Redzepi of Copenhagen’s Noma as a force for good in the industry. Other chefs are throwing down the ‘grow your own’ gauntlet too. In January, The Guardian’s Tony Naylor published an article on gourmets who have swapped gastro-science for gardening. Away from the restaurant scene, consumers have brought into veg box schemes proving our growing appetite for food that’s within walking distance away.

5. Hawaiian

Last but not least, Hawaiian cuisine has continued to top the food agenda this year. In 2017, Instagram feeds were rife with poke bowls – a Hawaiian deconstructed take on Japanese sushi – a healthy, affordable and customisable cuisine. It has since moved into the street food domain with traditional island dishes like Lomi salmon, Lau Lau, and white rice being served up to the nutritional conscious. Faddy or forever, it remains to be seen whether Hawaiian will bring a taste of the Pacific to 2019.

Naturally colourful, Instafun food that nods to global culture and innovation – not forgetting sustainability – is still making a big buzz on the foodie scene. What’s your prediction for the year ahead?