Each year, foodies pick out the trends they feel will dominate the year ahead. Emma Kirke assess the state of play midway through 2018…
Back in January, it was predicted that 2018 would be a year for adventurous veggies and vegan cuisine. They were right! Plant-based proteins are delivering high levels of activity after veganuary saw a higher take-up than previous years.
Gut-friendly food was a big prediction for 2017, but we have continued to see its popularity rise in 2018, from testosterone-boosting kefir, to pickling and preserving probiotics including kimchi and miso and prebiotics such as garlic and onions.
How about booze-free beers? With more health-conscious millennials treating their bodies to less booze, the non-alcoholic industry is causing a storm. Nix and Kix are now available in most supermarkets and other companies will be following suit. Premium-flavoured tonic waters and botanical gin alternatives are also available for mocktails and at home parties when you need to cater for the designated driver.
When we talk about food trends we should consider the trends in spices as well. Spices for gin and tonic are trending and don’t be afraid to be adventurous. Timut pepper is a hot citrus-like spice from Nepal, and Asda has tipped it as the next big condiment. If you add this to your gin and tonic it will give it a surprisingly good kick.
Specialised teas, especially green teas, have seen sales growing in momentum. We may even see tea cafes popping up as opposed to coffee specialists. Have a read up on this topic as there is a surprising amount of variety and reported benefits associated with different plants.
Apparently hyper-local foods are becoming sought-after ingredients. Growing your own or buying local produce is big, and maybe you could check with your neighbours to see if you could swap home-grown products?
We all know that eating too much red meat has been found to be detrimental to our health, so finding alternatives that deliver the same texture and taste sensations without incurring the same possible health issues can only be a good thing. Does such a thing exist? Heme is a cutting-edge food and could be the new environmentally sustainable meat alternative. Apparently in tests it delivers a meat quality, including the bloodiness of rare cooked meat, and the taste to match.
Have you started using voice-activated cooking guides in your kitchen yet? Alexa and other products are helping us out with the instructions for creating culinary genius. Technology is creeping in everywhere.
One of my favourite topics is nootropics. Brain food. Gut health is a major focus but turmeric, salmon, eggs and Mexican yams will be making their entrance in our meal plans, all with the aim of enhancing our everyday performance and optimisation of thinking.
Lastly, I think that mainstream brands will begin exploration of health-boosting ingredients. For example, we know that Yeo Valley will be releasing a limited-edition baobab and vanilla yoghurt. Now this is an exciting transition!