The Food & Drink Innovation Network (FDIN) predicts healthy guts will dominate 2018

Food trends come and go and 2017 has been no exception – from the everyday to the down-right “cereal”.

In 2017, healthy eating very much dominated food trends. This year, we saw a backlash against “clean-eating” – fad diets often encouraging consumers to exclude certain food groups from their diets, for example gluten and dairy – with consumers instead choosing to eat in moderation. Moringa powder, a nutrient-dense plant containing protein, calcium, and iron, was added to our favourite drinks, while charcoal-infused food became more mainstream.

Social media played a large role in leading and promoting these food trends with cloud eggs, while “unicorn” fever swept the nation evolving cakes, bagels, and drinks.

According to the Food & Drink Innovation Network (FDIN), while 2017 saw an uplift in healthy eating, 2018 is going to take health to another level…

2018 foods trends for industry professionals to watch out for:

  1. Gut reaction. Fermented foods and gut health have been bubbling along for the last few years with the rising popularity of kombucha and kimchi, however these foods will become more mainstream in 2018. The focus will turn to prebiotics and probiotics to develop foods that will help with gut health, essential to overall health and well-being. As a result, eating raw ingredients could become more popular next year, including garlic, leeks, and jicama, also known as yam bean in Asian cooking and a fantastic and healthier alternative to tortilla chips with dip.
  2. Natural sweeteners. Inulin, not to be confused with insulin, is a fibrous carbohydrate, increasingly being used as a sugar and flour replacement. Found in chicory root, inulin can be added to smoothies, our favourite baked, sweet treats such as cake, and even sticky rib glazes. Inulin is not only a natural sweetener, but has a range of benefits making it better than maple syrup and coconut sugar, including reducing constipation, improving gut health by acting as a prebiotic, filling you for longer, boosting heart health and lowering metabolic syndrome risk factors, and increasing calcium absorption.
  3. Plant-based food. Next year, vegan and gluten-free products will become mainstream and aimed at everyone rather than just the few. Due to a growing understanding of health and sustainable production methods, more consumers are reducing the amount of meat they are eating. As a result, next year vegan products will likely resemble meat in texture and appearance to appeal to this growing market.
  4. Snack nation. Already making its mark on the food industry, the food-to-go trend will continue to grow in popularity due to ease of eating, not needing to be chilled, portable, and nutritional. Originally targeted at a younger age group, in 2018 more products for adults will come to the market, from pouches, meals-on-the-go, and sweet and savoury foods in squeezy tubes.  The rise of food-to-go can be attributed to families sharing smaller dishes while spending time together, and a move towards healthier snacks, as consumers increasingly balance their fast lifestyles with good nutrition.
  5. Waste not, want not. In 2018, we’ll see more “clever” ways to reduce food waste, which will prevent food producers from throwing away food classed as rubbish during production, e.g. mushroom stalks, and damaged food. As a result, next year consumers will likely see the whole ingredient being used, rather than just the “good parts”. Additionally, more restaurants and eateries will pop-up cooking with food that is nearing the end of its shelf life.