Food And Health Trends To Expect In 2018

September 11, 2017  |  
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Gettyimages.com/Beautiful young woman eating tom yum soup using chopstick, looking over the camera with a smile.

If you pay close attention, you can spot them starting as early as 12 months in advance: food trends. Take a stroll around a farmer’s market and some plucky millennials will be handing out little cups of this yogurt meant to solve all of your digestive issues and that chicken nugget that is, allegedly, the only ethically produced poultry product available. Some of these will flop, either because the product wasn’t great or the individuals weren’t plucky enough. But some of those products will get a spot on a shelf in a small, gourmet store. Than their first shelf in a chain. Then lots of shelves in lots of chains and before you know it, you’ll be asking yourself how that special yogurt that was $4 a bottle at the farmer’s market in the Spring is now $17 a bottle at Whole Foods. Jump on them before they become pricey: here are food and health trends to expect in 2018.

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Throwing carb caution to the wind

So many restaurants have been removing carbs from their menus. All those lost and homeless carbs had to go somewhere, right? And they have—little niche spots dedicated to serving up just carbs like gourmet bread shops and donut shops. They aren’t ashamed of what they are. They are there to say, “When you’re ready to treat yourself to carbs, this is the place to do it.”

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Sweet and spicy

Think wasabi and ginger, sweet chili sauce and ghost pepper—these warm, sweet and spicy combinations will be popping up in creamy sauces on everything from rice and vegetable bowls to raw fish to filet mignon.

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No more vegan/meat-eater segregation

Plant-based “meat” will no longer be restricted to that one bohemian vegan restaurant that desperately needs business. In fact, the segregation of the meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters is coming to an end. Chefs known for their animal protein dishes are starting to dive into the world of plant-based “meats”, and challenging themselves to make dishes just as enticing as the original animal-protein dishes.

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Nootropics

Also known as “smart drugs,” nootropics are essentially supplements made to enhance brain function. You’ll start seeing these popping up in beverages, next to the coconut water and smart water. They reportedly have no side effects.

Bigstockphoto.com/Nuts mix in a wooden plate

Allergen labels everywhere

It’s time to rethink the way we see gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and meat-free food. Those words will cease to be tiny labels, hidden on the back of a package. Those items will stop being shoved into a tiny corner of the store. They’ll be more their own type of food like vegetarian or vegan food is, rather than an edited form of a better food. And they’ll sit right next to the other foods that do contain those allergens.

 

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Less upcharge in brown rice

Restaurants are beginning to realize just how messed up it is that patrons need to pay an extra $3 if they don’t want to be backed up by white rice and do want the fiber and minerals found in brown rice. They’re no longer holding the brown rice hostage, at a ransom of several extra dollars.

 

 

 

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Non-potato chips

You’ll see just as many if not more specialty chips as you do potato ones. Expect tons of carob chips, carrot chips, plantain chips, purple potato chips, sweet potato chips, turnip chips and the like. The market is realizing there’s been a missed opportunity to get your veggies in, while snacking.

 

 

 

 

Bigstockphoto.com/Caramel and chocolate rice crispie cakes popular childrens treat

Raw bars, in chain markets

No longer do one or two companies monopolize the raw bar market, offering raw date/honey/nut bars up at the same price as a full meal. Larger brands have made these more affordable, and more available. Expect to see some raw snack bars next to the candy at the check-out counter.

 

 

 

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Cheaper kale (finally)

Okay, okay farmers: the jig is up. You can no longer charge us $4 for a bundle of kale. It’s a green that grows like any other green and is actually less nutritious than its sister greens like romaine lettuce. The great kale scam is coming to a close.

 

 

 

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Savory sodas

Soda flavors are changing. You’ll see celery, chili pepper, and snap pea soda. These make a nice compliment to the sweet and spicy dishes mentioned previously in this article. When your food is sweet, you want your beverage to be savory.

 

 

 

 

Bigstockphoto.com/Chicken Satay; barbecued skewered chicken shown on white plate with peanut dipping sauce on the side.

Dried meat sticks

Not just beef jerky but every type of dried meat, on little sticks, for sale in the snack area. People are realizing dried meat wasn’t just something people needed in the old Wild West when refrigerators weren’t around; they’re lean, high-protein, on-the-go snack options.

 

 

 

 

 

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Fermented foods

America is becoming a little less hush-hush about its digestive issues. The very food industry that caused those issues is looking to remedy them by offering dishes infused with gut-healthy, fermented foods. Pickled ginger, kimchi and the like will start popping up not just in sushi restaurants, but burger joints and more.

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Forgotten parts of food

If you’re not a conscious chef in today’s world, you may have a short career. That’s why many chefs are turning to using every single part of the food, whether it’s a fruit, vegetable or animal. Expect to see parts of ingredients you’ve never seen before. Nothing’s going to waste!

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Extended hours

Particularly in larger cities, restaurants are realizing most people aren’t eating breakfast by 10 am on a weekend, nor are people wrapping up dinner by 9 pm. Late night spots are about to be all the rage.

 

Bigstockphoto.com/Baked mushrooms stuffed with spinach and cheese

Larger vegan/vegetarian menus

You won’t have to flip to the back of the menu, and turn your eyes to the bottom corner of the page to find the three vegetarian items. Vegan and vegetarian items will be spread throughout menus. Menus are being reorganized, less by “meat” and “pasta” and more by “tapas,” “Entrees” and “plates to share.” And there’s space for vegan and vegetarian items in all of these categories.

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