6 Food Trends You Need to be Watching in 2018

Consumers take more time now to find out what they’re eating than ever before. It’s becoming of more concern to them that they eat the right foods. This increased consumer awareness is having an impact on the food industry.

Several food trends are starting to dominate the food industry. It is expected that these food trends will gain traction and become more important in the future. Thomas Griffiths is the Vice President of Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute. He believes that the 6 identified trends are important, and consumers should try and include them in their food purchasing and preparation decisions.

The top 6 food trends that 2018 promises to bring even more to the fore are:

1. Botanicals

The use of plants and flowers in the preparation of food is on the rise. People are researching their medicinal and healing properties. They include them in food preparation as part of home remedies they’re trying as an alternative to tradition medicines. To mention a few, ashwagandha (known as Indian ginseng), lavender, and turmeric (with its active ingredient, curcumin) are gaining popularity. Not only do they provide the food with a new, exciting flavor, they also provide health benefits.

In 2016, McCormick & Co. bought Botanical Food Company of Australia. They package herbs for customers to use as part of their cooking routines. This helps those who cannot grow and dry their own herbs. According to Campbell’s Griffiths, ginger, lavender, and cardamom are very popular right now.

It’s regarded as a refreshing approach which is easy to use and its ability to enhance our overall health and well-being. Companies that watch the trends are incorporating these botanicals in their foods.

2. Transparency

Consumers want manufacturers to conduct themselves with transparency. This drives the ‘clean-label movement’ which wants corporations to provide accurate and complete product information. They also want to see fewer additives. The sustainability of product-making and storage are issues that increasingly preoccupy consumers.

Farmhand Organics sets the trend by printing the source and signature of the producer on the product itself. One Degree Organics has a QR code system which allows the consumer to find out the profiles of the farmers that produce its goods. Bellucci’s extra virgin olive oil includes information such as lot numbers, harvest dates, and the type of olives used. Another innovation that consumers show interest in is Blockchain’s supply chain digital ledger. A consumer can track a fish’s entire journey to their plates.

The backstory, mission, and values of the corporation are more important to consumers than ever before. People place more emphasis on social responsibility. Those corporations that can include it in their marketing are on an upward trajectory.

3. Ethnic cuisine

As consumers broaden their taste experiences, they seek out food that is completely different from the norm. Currently, Asian and Middle Eastern flavors dominate the demands of consumers. The appeal of Asian food is that it balances the five basic taste sensations: sour, bitter, umami (savory), sweet, and salty. Middle Eastern foods are attractive to consumers because of their exotic spicy flavors.

There is a big market for spice-rich foods in the United States. The old staple, hot sauce, is increasingly being augmented by other spices and sauces. This is as consumers seek an authentic ethnic cuisine experience.

Whole Foods’ Molly Siegler predicts that this trend of seeking out new foods is destined to continue with its current growth. For many, she reasons, it’s a way to travel overseas without leaving home. The changing demographics of the U.S. are also contributing to the change in food trends. Marketing is aimed at Hispanic and Asian populations, which are growing.

4. Science-based foods

A few years ago, cell-cultured meat and plant-based meats seemed like pipe dreams. However, these innovations are already available in stores, and there is an increasing demand for them. There has been an 8.1% increase in the sale of plant-based foods according to The Plant-Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute.

The plant-based burger products made by Beyond Meat prompted the company to launch Beyond Sausage. It looks and tastes like pork sausage but contains no hormones, nitrates, soy, and gluten.

Corporations are investigating cell-cultured meat products and how best to introduce them to the market on a larger scale. Initial high costs are being reduced all the time.

‘Clean meat’ is desirable to consumers as it has health benefits and is environmentally-friendly too. Higher production and clever marketing make the future of these products likely to be successful.

5. Sustainability

Consumers are focused on reduced waste. Consumers favor a ‘root-to-stem’ approach which means that the whole plant is used in the production of food products. Innovative companies are coming up with ways of using traditionally unused parts of fruits and vegetables to make new products.

These demands from consumers apply to the use of meat as well. Consumers favor the use of the entire animal, rather than only selected pieces.

These sustainability protocols have been adopted by many corporations with Whole Foods being a market leader.

6. Indulgence foods

A reduced level of concern about fat content among consumers has been replaced by a desire to eliminate sugar and sodium from the diet. In removing sugars and salt from their products, manufacturers are adding in more saturated fats to make up the deficit.

Stress and worrying about an uncertain future causes a number of consumers to turn to comfort food. These foods remind them of their childhoods and times where life seemed simpler. Indulgence in comfort food is inevitable although the ongoing perception is that their continued consumption should be avoided.

Companies are trying to make more nutritious versions of these comfort foods which include pizza, macaroni and cheese, and chocolate. They reduce the salt content. There is increasing proof that monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 fats have many health benefits. Their presence in foods is no longer regarded as taboo.

Interestingly, butter usage has surged while margarine sales have declined. Despite its higher fat content, butter is regarded as natural food, whereas margarine is not.

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