Food Trends 2018

Last week we looked to Innova Marketing Insights for their predictions on what’s hot and what’s not for the coming year – this week we turn to Packaged Facts and Mintel for their trends and we end off with highlights from Food24 and a few of our local, South African chefs.


  1. Cauliflower at Center & Side: Cauliflower benefits from its versatility as it can be prepared in many ways, including global preps such as Indian curries and fritters and Italian pasta.
  2. Eggs Benedict Trending Across Dayparts: Increased experimentation and multi-culturalism with omelets has opened the door for more Benedict experimentation.
  3. Mac & Cheese Beyond the Box: This much-beloved comfort food is being adapted and re-adapted into many forms and fancies.
  4. Meatballs are on a Roll: Meatballs made of beef, pork, lamb, bison, duck, turkey, and even plant proteins such as lentils are definitely trending, including fine dining restaurants.
  5. Olives Across the Board: Olives pack a lot of flavor, versatility and allure. And olives are egalitarian, representing opportunity at every price point in both foodservice and retail.
  6. Better with Brown Butter: It’s hard to go wrong with brown butter, a double-down on comfort food flavor and texture. Name a favorite dessert, and it’s probably better with brown butter.
  7. Figuring out Figs: In fine dining, figs appear in about three out of ten menus. But upscale casual dining is where the growth has been.
  8. (Earl Grey) Tea Time at Dessert: While tea-flavored ice creams are now mass-market, tea as a dessert or drink flavoring remains happy hunting ground for foodies.


  1. Full-Disclosure: In our new post-truth reality, consumers require complete and total transparency from food and drink companies.
  2. Self-Fulfilling Practices: As more consumers find modern life to be hectic and stressful, flexible and balanced diets will become integral elements of self-care routines.
  3. New Sensations: Texture is the latest tool to engage the senses and deliver share-worthy experiences.
  4. Preferential Treatment: A new era in personalisation is dawning due to the expansion of online and mobile food shopping.
  5. Science Fare: Technology is being used to engineer solutions for our stretched global food supply.


  1. Dietary Requirements: Chefs say that they will need to embrace dietary requirements and start looking at alternative ingredients
  2. Reduce Food Wastage: Eating smart will be the new sexy as we reinvent and rework food to avoid unnecessary food wastage
  3. Fermented Foods: The appeal of fermented foods will continue to grow and become more mainstream
  4. Raw: Ingredients in their natural or raw form will begin to appear on shelves – think fresh horseradish or licorice root
  5. Chocolate: We’ll begin to see a lot more high-quality milk chocolate in South Africa.

And that concludes our two-part blog series on food trends for 2018. It will be interesting to see how these fare over the next 12 months, but it is heartening to see that practises like mindfulness and issues like food wastage and food transparency are featuring more heavily – and chocolate of course, let’s not forget the chocolate.