Food Trends 2018

It’s the start of a new year and as is normal at this time of the year, publications around the world begin predicting their food trends for the coming 12 months. Part art, part science, and influenced by a number of factors ranging from fashion and pop culture to health trends, we all wait with great anticipation (and sometimes amusement) to see what these ground-breaking new trends may be.

This year, to find out more, we turn to three global Market Research companies for the inside track – here we feature Innova Marketing Insights’ Top 10 Trends as curated by Global Foods Forum and next week it’s the turn of Packaged Facts and Mintel – we also end off with trends from our local chefs.

1.  Mindful Choices. Consumers are more conscious than ever about making responsible food choices, and increasingly want to know what is in their food and how it is produced.

2. Lighter Enjoyment. Consumers continue to look for ways to eat and drink more healthily, lightness in terms of alcohol content, sweetness, flavor, texture or even portion size is increasing its appeal.

3. Positively Processed. As consumers become more concerned about naturalness and minimal processing techniques, the industry is reviving traditional processes such as fermented foods and cold brew tea and coffee, alongside the development of new ones.

4. Going Full Circle. [There is] greater consumer expectation that brands will be more resource-smart via developments such as tip-to-tail eating, innovative uses for food waste and more biodegradable and renewable packaging.

5. Beyond the Coffeehouse. Coffee is trending among Millennial and Generation Z consumers, tea is reinventing itself among the younger generations. Coffee and tea are increasingly being used as ingredients and flavors outside the hot drinks and iced tea and coffee sub-categories across a wide variety of products.

6. Say it with Color. “Instagrammable” food is becoming more and more vital to millennials, so the time for foods with vibrant colors has arrived. While social media appears to be playing a huge part in the trend, natural food colors are also opening up the opportunity to deliver products that connect bright colors and health.

7. Dining Out, In: The lines between foodservice and grocery are being blurred, and this is opening up new opportunities for food experiences at home. As consumers look for restaurant-quality experiences, more innovation in consumer-packaged products is tapping into this need.

8. From Snacks to Mini Meals. Busy lifestyles mean that meal times and occasions are becoming less prevalent and people are seeking quick and convenient, yet healthy, solutions. “The other thing that we see happening in the snacking area is fruits and vegetables with a snack claim,” comments Innova Market Insights’ Lu Ann Williams.

9. Ocean Garden. Nutrient-dense vegetables from the sea, like kelp and spirulina, long established in the supplements sector, are finding their way into a wider variety of new food and beverage products due to their ability to provide nutritional fortification, act as a natural source of color and deliver unique flavors, with umami being a particularly strong example.

10. Bountiful Choice. Brands are always looking to connect more closely with consumers in terms of their specific needs and tastes. …“Around 10 percent of consumers in every category usually say they’re attracted to novelty and variety,” Williams observes. “I think this is where some of the declines are coming in big food companies, and there’s growth for these small niche products that are meeting this consumer need and interest in novelty.”