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December 1, 2017

Whole Foods has released its 2018 food trend predictions

By Jack Rear

For foodies, knowing what’s going to be fashionable is one of the keys to staying afloat. From the humble avocado to the truly pointless chia seed, these trends get more unexpected every year.

To take some of the hard work out of guessing next year’s food trends, Whole Foods have highlighted their picks for 2018. In essence, these are the foods that will be appearing all over Instagram for the following year. Will any of them have the same staying power as avocado? Do they stand a chance at becoming the next sweet potato?

On the other hand, could these become the next foam food trend? A horrible fad that tasted terrible and disappeared immediately.

The general trend of these Whole Foods choices is that they’re mostly all vegetable-based. That’s probably no surprise given current trends in the food industry. According to a study from GlobalData there’s a wave of vegetarianism and veganism sweeping across the globe. 6% of Americans now claim to be vegan, that’s up on 1% in 2014. In Germany, 44% of people have a low-meat diet, up from 26% in 2014.

The study also found that consumers are more interested than ever in buying fresh foods, ethical eating, and buying healthier food ingredients.

With all that in mind, Whole Foods’ 2018 food trends shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise to anyone. Still, they’re exactly as pretentious as one might expect food trends in 2018 to be.

Whole Foods’ 2018 food trend predictions:

1. Flowers

To be fair, it’s not even slightly difficult to see this trend dominating Instagram in 2018. Flowers are already popular in teas, but from 2018, Whole Foods predicts we’ll be shoving petals and even whole flowers in everything we consume. Hibiscus is going to be leading the way with this trend. Elderflower is also going to be a popular option in cocktails. Plus, there’s going to be a whole boatload of rose-flavoured stuff everywhere. To be fair, rose-liqueur is pretty good.

How to try it:

If you’re into herbal teas then this is the perfect trend for you. We came across this flowering tea complete with glass pot to watch the flower blooming for £34.

2. Powders

Who needs super powers when you’ve got super powders? These are going to be huge in 2018, apparently. Lattés, smoothies, nutrition bars, soups and even baked goods will be getting in on the hype. Whole Foods highlights matcha, maca root and cacao as popular alternatives to coffee. As ever, kale and spirulina, look to stay in fashion in smoothies. The other big powder in the gain is protein powder, often used by gym-buffs to help them bulk up. This will apparently transform in 2018 too, adding additional nutrients such as activated charcoal or collagen to promote healthy skin.

How to try it:

Obviously all of these powders will be very different but a good basic one to try is matcha. It has a very mild taste and can be mixed with just about anything to give it a verdant green look.

3. Mushrooms

Absolutely revolutionary stuff here. Mushrooms have been a staple part of most Western diets for time immemorial. However, they’re set to become super trendy in 2018. Apparently they’ll be showing up in all kinds of unexpected places including bottled drinks, coffees, smoothies and even chocolate. Mushroom broths are also going to be more popular than ever due to being so quick and easy to make. The prediction is that the mushroom trend is going to go far beyond its foodie roots. Expect to see mushroom soap and hair care products too. If you say so, Whole Foods…

How to try it:

There’s a few places out there doing this, but the most-referenced source for mushroom coffee is Four Sigmatic. They make coffee combined with those cordyceps mushrooms (the ones that turn ants into zombie-like mushroom hosts) which is pretty cool.

4. Middle Eastern dishes

Donald Trump is going to be spitting feathers when he hears about this one. The modern increase in globalisation has brought many cultures together and food with them. Hummus, pitta, and falafel were only the start. Next year we’ll be learning a bit more nuance when it comes to Middle Eastern dishes. Specifically, there’s going to be a trend for foods from specific countries in the Middle East, rather than just a homogeneous landmass. Expect to see Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian and Lebanese restaurants leading the charge. Dishes including shakshuka, grilled halloumi, lamb, pomegranate, eggplant, cucumber, parsley, mint, tahini, tomato jam and dried fruits are set to spice up palates around the world. Speaking of spices, be on the lookout for harissa, cardamom, and za’atar when you’re shopping!

How to try it:

If you want to try a classic Middle Eastern dish, start with the basics. Here’s a lovely recipe for shakshuka:

5. Knowing where your food comes from

Not exactly a specific food, more a packaging trend. As plenty of people are still (completely unnecessarily) terrified of genetically-modified crops, expect more packaging to point out GMOs. However, other things to look out for on packaging include Fair Trade certification, responsible production and animal welfare standards.

6. Food created by robots rather than grown by farmers

Considering that people are so terrified of GMOs, this one is a surprise. However, lab-grown foods are something of a trend at the moment and that’s going to continue into 2018. Expect more vegan meat, tuna made from tomatoes and more. Essentially, it’s going to be easier than ever to be a vegan thanks to those scary scientists. Probably the same ones who are creating GMOs. But if anything has proved a lasting trend over the years, its general ignorance about that sort of thing. Expect more of that in 2018.

How to try it:

As you might expect, some of these foods are yet to reach mass-markets. However, if you find yourself in the USA, you can try Impossible Foods’ meatless meat burger in selected locations across the country.

7. Puffed and popped snacks

New technology is making it easier than ever to turn foods into snacks. Popcorn is the great-great-great-great grandfather of this trend that’s going to see all of us stuffing our faces with Brussel sprouts crisps, cassava crisps, puffed pasta pillows, and popped seaweed.

How to try it:

Just in time for Christmas, here’s a recipe so you too can transform your classic Brussel sprouts into delicious crisps, courtesy of Epicurious:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Remove the leaves of the Brussel sprouts. You want as many leaves as possible, and you may need to keep cutting away the stem as you get deeper into the sprout.
  2. Place the leaves on a baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with the sea salt. Bake, turning every 5 to 7 minutes, until browned and crunchy, almost burnt.

8. Tacos

What is a taco without a tortilla shell? A 2018 food trend, apparently! And they don’t even need to be savoury anymore as breakfast and dessert tacos are going to be ruling the roost. Essentially, anything can be a taco these days. A bowl of ice cream? Taco. A handful of grapes? Taco. A hunk of raw beef wrapped in seaweed? Taco. Okay, we’re being facetious. But forget everything you thought you knew about tacos, basically. In 2018, the tortilla part will be replaced by wafer, seaweed, and other variations. Meanwhile, fillings like sushi and ice cream will become the new popular way to eat. However, don’t panic. The classic taco isn’t going to be left behind. Expect to see all your old favourites with a much more gourmet sheen on them.

How to try it:

Here’s a great recipe for dessert tacos based on cheesecakes! Delicious!

9. Eating every part of vegetables

Root-To-Stem is going to be the ‘in’ thing of 2018. For those non-foodies out there who mightn’t have heard of this term, root-to-stem is the vegetable equivalent of nose-to-tail butchery: you eat the whole of the food item rather than discarding parts like the root or the stem. Appetizing-sounding dishes like pickled watermelon rinds, beet-green pesto or broccoli-stem slaw should be enough to get this one off the ground. Unfortunately, this trend won’t apply to all vegetables. For example, eating the leaves of a rhubarb plant can literally kill a person.

10. Carbonated water

Whole Foods insists that we don’t call this stuff soda, so we’ll call it what it is: flavoured-sparkling water. Expect fancy flavours such as ‘maple and birch’ and ‘lime, mint, and elderflower’. Glamorous.

How to try it:

Flavoured sparkling water really isn’t difficult to find in any supermarkets. However, one brand who have really stepped things up are VOSS. They’ve created flavours such as ‘Lemon Cucumber’ and ‘Tangerine Grass’, that are delighting customers around the world.