Foodie forecasting – a few predictions for 2018

As dedicated followers of foodie fashion we’re always keeping a hungry eye out for fresh ideas. So, as the year draws to a close, we lick our lips in anticipation of what 2018 will bring. Novelty is everything, so the best advice is perhaps “expect the unexpected”. However, by sifting through some of the more authoritative industry reports and analysing the more credible commentators it’s possible to make some educated guesses. These will hopefully provide you with useful food for thought as you decide what stock to order in the new year or start planning menus for the seasons ahead.

On the wagon
The interest in healthy lifestyles is manifesting itself in a new-found sobriety – as a growing number of people, particularly those aged 16 to 24, are shunning alcohol. The 2016 Office for National Statistics lifestyle survey polled nearly 8,000 Britons and discovered just under 60% had consumed an alcoholic a drink in the past week – the lowest rate since the survey began in 2005. The young are being even more abstemious – fewer than half of people aged 16 to 24 let alcohol past their lips over those seven days, compared with nearly two-thirds of those aged 45 to 64.

Drinks brands are upping their game as far as their alcohol-free offerings are concerned and mixologists are giving the same level of craft to their ‘mocktails’ as they do their cocktails. It is therefore highly likely that the range of low and 0% ABV wines and beers will grow in 2018, along with alcohol free spirits such as Seedlip, even if alcohol-free spirits sound like a contradiction in terms! (we told you to expect the unexpected…)

Foods that fess up
In recent years there have been some major food scandals and this has led to a significant loss of confidence amongst consumers. The desire for products with proven provenance, that are produced locally in relatively small quantities, using natural ingredients and demonstrating ethical, sustainable and fairtrade practices, is almost certain to grow over the coming year.

Mintel estimates that products claiming to be organic and free of additives, preservatives, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) made up 29 percent of new products from September 2016 to August 2017, marking an increase of 17 percent from global launches a decade earlier. You can expect this trend to continue, with greater emphasis on the need for disclosure and transparency.

Fermentation is becoming fashionable
Fermented foods might not sound terrifically appetising but the predictions are that they are likely to become a lot more popular in the near future. Part of the attraction is the energy boost they can give you, and the fact they are rich in probiotics, which are widely believed to help improve your digestive system. Plus they often come with strong flavours and interesting textures. We’re familiar with fermented dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese, as well as things like olives and pickles. However, more exotic fermented foods are making their way westwards from the far side of the globe.

Look out for Kimchi, a staple in Korean cuisine, which is a traditional side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables, most commonly napa cabbage and Korean radishes, with a variety of seasonings including chili powder, scallions, garlic, ginger, and jeotgal. Miso (the staple ingredient in Miso soup) is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji and sometimes rice, barley, or other ingredients.  Then there’s Tempeh, a traditional soy product originating from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form.

New Year new superfood
Not long ago Matcha was all the rage. It’s a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves rich in theanine and caffeine – a combination that accounts for the calm energy people might feel from drinking Matcha. Over the last year Turmeric has also been highly rated as a powerful antioxidant with excellent anti-inflammatory properties. But now there’s a new kid on the block – Moringa.

Derived from the dried leaves of a plant native to parts of Africa and Asia, Moringa is rich in protein, fibre, potassium, calcium and vitamin A. It has a dried spinach flavour that goes well in wholesome smoothies. Some adventurous chefs are starting to cook with it. And a few trend gurus are suggesting it will usurp Matcha Latte as the hot beverage of choice amongst the in-the-know crowd.

If you think this all sounds a bit far-fetched then consider that earlier this year, Kellogg’s venture capital fund, eighteen94 capital, was the main driving force behind a $4.25 million cash injection into Kuli Kuli, a maker of nutrition bars, powders and beverages featuring Moringa.  Don’t be surprised if this new superfood pops up in more packaged foods and beverages over 2018.

Serving suggestion – you gotta wear shades!
Blame it all on smartphones and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, but people like foods that are vividly photogenic. The healthy eating trend, the desire for natural ingredients, the penchant for enjoying ingredients raw and a desire for dramatic twists adds momentum to the craze for fusion treats that are positively bursting with vibrant colour.

Look out for everything from beetroot lattes to yam cheesecakes, blue algae lattes to matcha green buns, black breads to purple asparagus. We like to savour dishes with our eyes before we tuck in, and colour sends strong messages to our taste buds. There’s every indication that chefs will be working hard in the new year to create dishes that paint some pretty surprising pictures – you have been warned!

The proof is in the pudding
These are just a few ideas plucked fresh from a variety of trade reports, market researchers and various industry commentators. There’s no shortage of organisations and experts giving us all their opinions. But one of the best ways to keep your finger on the pulse as 2018 unfolds is obviously to visit our show. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in what is actually happening on the regional food scene. No guesswork, just lots of tasting and talking, drinking and demonstrating, comparing and celebrating!

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