Food Trends 2018

Another year is coming to an end and a new one is here to pick up – 2018! A year that I hope you look forward to just as much as I do. But before we plunge into the unknown that is 2018 let’s have a quick rewind and remember what was 2017.

Health, plant based foods, bowls, eggs, vegan-diets, refined-sugar-free-diets, brunching, avocado art, charcoal and picture-perfect Instagram foods… The list is long and many of the things we craved during 2017 is foreseen to stick around also in the upcoming year.

Picture perfect brunch at The Glass Den, Coburg, Melbourne.

When searching the web I found some interesting trends that will pervade our approach to food and maybe the entire future. Most of the facts comes from Food & Friends, a communication agency specialized in food and drink, and their yearly trend report. I’m always thrilled when they release their report, it’s just too interesting. I also used information found on BBC Food and Fortune. The rest of my sources will be liked below; if you fell like immersing yourself into some interesting reading even further.

I can’t bring all potential trends up so I made a list with the ten that I think are the most interesting and relevant. So make yourself comfortable in the sofa, maybe grab a cup of tea or a non-alcoholic drink (yep, that’s trending right now), and just marvel over what food we’ll indulge in during the next twelve months.

Plant Based Everything

Plant based food has grown immensely the last two years and it will continue to grow in 2018. This is due to the increasing number of people whose adopting the vegetarian- or vegan diets. The flexitarians (people who decrease their meat intake by skipping meat one or several days a week) are also a growing factor. If we just look back two years it’s really happened remarkable things within the industry that’s vegan food. A lot of meat and milk substitutes have entered the shelves and there are constantly new and improved inventions on its way. One of the most remarkable plant based products is the Impossible Burger which contains nothing but ingredients from the plant kingdom. It took five years to get it right but the inventors are finally pleased with their product and people who tried the Impossible Burger says it resembles meat on the spot. The secret ingredient is heme, a molecule that’s rich in iron and mostly found in meat; but it could also be extracted from the plant kingdom and especially from the roots of certain plants.

Now, when there’s a burger which bleeds and has a meaty flavor and texture but without containing any actual meat, all the carnivores out there has lost all their arguments for why a vegetarian or vegan diets isn’t worth trying.

Spice Things up

Spices are predicted to be a hot tend in 2018 (pun intended). Flavors from Northern Africa and the Middle East will come on strong with spice blends like Ras el Hanout harissa and za’atar. Cardamom, cinnamon and other flavors from this region will invade our cooking and make it more interesting. I think we’ll see more food from this region in general but I also expect to see some fusion inspired dishes where for example the Moroccan flavors will be used in new ways and adapted into other kind of cuisines. Shakshuka (spicy tomato sauce with roasted veggies and poached eggs) will in other words continue to comfort our weekend brunches for yet some time.

Sweden meets Northern Africa – fried sweetbread with Ras el Hanut, wild garlic and black trumpet mushrooms at Adam & Albin, Stockholm.

Like a Virgin

Non-alcoholic beverages are growing in popularity and have been doing so during the last couple of years due to our growing interest in health. Virgin-drinks, non-alcoholic beers, wines and now even spirits without alcohol! Seedlip distillates their spirits out of natural ingredients; no sugars, sweeteners or artificial flavors are used. You simply get what to expect from all spirits except from the alcohol.

Floral tones like rose and lavender will be more and more requested and unexpected grown-up-flavors like chili and vinegar will replace the alcohol and make their way into your drink.

Ten years ago you would have been looked upon if people found out that you were a teetotaler. But the norm is changing; reducing your alcohol intake or skip the booze all together is now widely accepted. The range of non-alcoholic beverages has increased both at restaurants/bars, in supermarkets and at Systembolaget (the Swedish liquor shop). But so far we’ve just seen the beginning of a trend that has the potential of growing into immensely proportions.

Non-alcoholic ginger beer from Stone’s.

My Cup of Tea

This is the year when we swap coffee for a cup of tea. Who knows all of a sudden you might see tea bars popping up on the high street. You can at least expect that your local coffee place will be offering a wider range of teas within the upcoming year.  The increased focus on health is one of the reasons for why we tend to choose tea in greater extents than before. I personally will embrace this trend with open arms. I’ve never been a coffee drinker and will probably never become one (I’ve tried, but it’s just too bitter for me). But tea… that’s nice! Anyhow… we can expect to see a lot of floral flavors as well as more earthy tones from fungi and mushrooms. The more common green tea will continue to be popular as well as herbal teas.

I wish and think that chai will be added to the list of popular teas; but this is just my humble opinion; I’ve no evidence to back this statement up so take it with a pinch of salt.

Follow Your Gut

2017 was the year when we started to take our guts more seriously. So far it’s just been a thing for the true nerds but during the upcoming year the awareness around what’s considered good gut-health will spread to the big masses. We’ll care about and show big interest in how we can approve our health and well-being by eating the right bacteria. No wonder this is a big topic – our bellies are home for more than 100 000 billions of bacteria from hundreds and hundreds different kinds! Crazy, I know!

Plenty of books have already been released in this subject, but there will for sure be even more to come. By eating and drinking fermented or pickled products like kimchi, yoghurt, sourdough bread, beer and miso we will let more good bacteria into our bodies. Alliums (bulbous plants like onion, leek, garlic etc.) are another source of gut-friendly bacteria. You might have heard of probiotics and prebiotics – two groups of bacteria that are considered to be healthy both for your gut but also for your entire immune system. The differences between these two groups of bacteria are bigger than the name implies. So here’s a quick guide to some of the differences and the advantages for why it’s beneficial to consume probiotics and prebiotics:

  • Probiotics are found in yoghurt, kefir, and fermented products like kimchi and miso. These bacteria are good for your immune system and general well-being, they help you out in the production of vitamins and enzymes (like vitamin K2), and they provide you in the uptake of vitamins and minerals found in the food (like iron and vitamin B12). A thing that you have to take in consideration to maximize your intake is that most probiotics dies when they’re warmed.
  • Prebiotics are found naturally in alliums and other plant fibers. Prebiotics works as a fertilizer for the good bacteria already found in the gut. They will help you grow more good bacteria and provide a better balance. It’s also known that prebiotics will lower your cortisol levels making you more resistant to mental disorders like stress, anxiety and depression. Prebiotics will survive most environments no matter how warm or acidic.
Yoghurt contain lots of good bacteria.

Faster Fast Food

In a society where everything is supposed to be more and more efficient and where you as an individual have less and less time, it’s of big importance that we can consume fast food even faster. I do really dislike this trend. Honestly! Where’s the world heading? We might feel good now, today, tomorrow or in two years, but what about the future? This trend could potentially lead to people being even more fatigue and stressed out than today. I mean how could meal replacements be good for you? But I do also see the opportunities in “speed”. It’s nice that people can skip the line when ordering sushi for example and just pick out whatever kind of sushi they want from a treadmill passing by. The fact that bars starts to sell drinks, wines and beers on tap to speed up the process is another sign for that we’re heading towards a society with more focus on speed.

The speed trend will also give rise to a new era of vending machines, but not the kind of machines with candy and soda as only option. You will soon be able to buy warm meals by just pressing one button. The Swedish company Berries by Astrid have just launched a smoothie vending machine which gives the customer a nutritious smoothie made out of nothing else than fruits, berries and yoghurt.

Another trend is to utilize the technology for making casual-dining into fast-casual-dining. With clever processes and better communication it’s now possible to cook posh and healthy food in fast ways. I guess this trend isn’t too bad after all; as long as it’s the technology that has to do the extra labor. If we somehow can get more spare time or time with our families and friends that’s worth it. But if we spend the time that we gain on our jobs the speedy trend won’t do us good.

Food as an Experience

The millennial’s seeks not only for a nice bite to eat when they go to a restaurant or a bar, they also want an experience. Some extreme bars just recently started to offer their guests a more interactive experience where the guest is a part of story. According to my own observations I think immersive dining experiences will grow even more in popularity over 2018. Events where the guest can enjoy a unique interior, show, standup or theater while dining will probably be a huge thing. In Sweden we have a restaurant where you can enjoy a three-course-meal and listen to a live band, all in complete darkness. Albert and Ferran Adria’s new restaurant Enigma is even more extreme. They’ve taking dining to another level, a level that’s never been experienced before. In their restaurant they serve up a menu consisting of 40-ish dishes served in a spectacular environment. During the dinner the guests are guided through a maze of different rooms that delivers a fool body experience.

At Dracula’s Cabaret in Melbourne they combine show and interaction with food and drink in a super creative way.

Sound is another way for restaurants to offer spiffy experiences. By investing in special-built audio-systems they attract both food- and music enthusiasts and create an experience that impossibly can be perceived at home. One of the world’s leading music bars can be found at Hotel At Six. With taught put into every microscopic part of the music you will for sure hear things you never experienced before.

Table for One Please

Sweden is the most single dense country in Europe. 47 % of all households are populated by a solo person. In the rest of Europe the number isn’t quite as high but the singe-living-population is estimated to increase over the next 10-15 years also over the rest of the continent. This is due to higher education, a rise of elderly and the fact that people now days can support themselves without having to rely on someone else. With a higher amount of singles the urge for eating alone at restaurants will grow. Restaurants will become more solo-friendly by for example offering tables for one, or having a dining counter where the solo-eaters can interact with the staff and chefs.

Compared to South Korea, where solo-diners have high status and where restaurants are designed with small booths for one, Europe has a lot to learn. In Korea they even have a specific word dedicated to solo-diners “Honbap”.

High Tech Food Tech

Food tech is here to stay! Several restaurant chains has a self-serve-system which allows the guest to order food and drinks from an app (Pinchos is one such example). When the food is ready for pick up the guest receives a message and can just go and grab whatever they ordered from a disk.

A smart home which allows you to snap “shelfies” of your fridge and pantry will take the hassle out of making shopping lists. This technique will make it easier to stay up to date with what you have at home and what has to be purchased.

Don’t let Your Waste go to Waste

We not only care about our health but also of the environment. With focus on sustainability and recycling the society will become more environmental friendly in the upcoming years. One way to minimize our waste and our footprint on nature is by reducing the packaging material. In India the edible spoon has just been launched and in France they passed a law requiring all single use plates and cutlery to be biodegradable within two years. Another way to reduce the waste is to wrap or serve food in edible things like in tortilla breads or in lettuce wraps. The “Things Wrapped in Things” trend is foreseen to lower or almost eliminate the waste from street-food-markets.

Recycling is another way to go. Coffee grind can for example be made into flour, pellets and fire logs. Or why not create a home-spa where your friends and family can enjoy a nice coffee scrub.

The End is a New Beginning

You should give yourself a round of applauds if you read this far. I guess I got a bit caught up and wrote a longer trend report than I first intended to. I just want to wish you all a happy new year with lots of love, joy and food <3

And remember… follow your gut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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