Industry leaders at the world’s premier natural and organic foods retailer released a list of top trends they expect to see in 2018 across all departments in their more than 470 stores.
These seasoned trend-spotters compiled the below list based on more than 100 years of combined experience in product sourcing and studying consumer preferences.
So what’s in store? Floral recipes, Middle Eastern culinary influences, functional mushrooms, and more are expected to gain in popularity next year among consumers. Read on to explore the full list.
1. Floral Flavors
Thanks to foragers, edible petals have been on the scene for awhile now, but expect that to reach more mainstream appeal in 2018 as dishes infused with botanical flavors are anticipated to become trendier. Think bright pink hibiscus teas, and an increased presence of elderflower in cocktails and bubbly drinks, too. Lavender latté, anyone?
2. Super Powders
Because powders are so easy to incorporate, they’ve found their way into just about everything from coffees to soups. Ground turmeric will remain on the rise as will smoothies featuring spirulina, kale, herbs, and more. Protein powders are not just for bodybuilders, anymore.
3. Functional Mushrooms
Expect to see mushrooms varieties like reishi, chaga, cordyceps and lion’s mane star in bottled drinks, coffees, smoothies, and teas. Experts suggest that body care is hot on this mushroom trend, too.
4. Middle East Influences
Consumers are ready to explore the deep traditions and classic ingredients of Middle Eastern cuisine that go beyond hummus, pitas, and falafel. Spices like harissa, cardamom, and za’atar are are rising in popularity. Other Middle Eastern ingredients expected to trend in 2018 are pomegranate, eggplant, cucumber, parsley, mint, tahini, tomato jam, and dried fruits.
5. Transparency with Product Labels
GMO transparency, Fair Trade certification, responsible production, and animal welfare standards are just a few of the things consumers will be looking at to tell them the whole story behind the food they are eating. While the FDA’s deadline for nutrition labeling is among the first regulatory steps for greater transparency, expect consumers and brands to continue paving the way into a new era of product intel.
6. High-Tech Goes Plant-Forward
Plant-based diets and dishes continue to dominate the food world, and so, too, is the tech industry. Science is continuing to advance recipes and manipulate plant-based ingredients and proteins. Think sushi-grade “not-tuna” made from tomatoes. Anticipate new varieties of nut milks and yogurts made from pili nuts, peas, bananas, macadamia nuts, and pecans.
7. Puffed & Popped Snacks
Technology is changing all-things puffed, popped, dried, and crisped. Think popped cassava chips, puffed pasta bow ties, seaweed fava chips, and puffed rice clusters. Chips will continue to evolve into better-for-you bites like jicama, parsnip, or Brussels sprout crisps.
8. All Kinds of Tacos
Tacos are always trending, but they’re no longer limited to Mexican recipes. They’re being consumed in all kinds of shells and fillings – think seaweed wrappers with poke filling.
A few forces are combining to inspire root-to-stem cooking (nose-to-tail butchery and food waste, to name a few). This trend makes use of the entire fruit or vegetable that are less commonly eaten. Look for pickled watermelon rinds, beet-green pesto, or broccoli-stem slaw to gain traction in 2018.
10. Bubbly Drinks
Sparkling beverages are not slowing down. Look for flavored sparkling waters and sparkling cold brew from Stumptown. LaCroix is just the beginning.