Around this time each year articles start popping up, predicting the food and diet trends that will boom in the coming year. While some years feature more fleeting fads than others (I’m looking at you 2014, the year of Paleo), 2018 is shaping up to be a more balanced, healthy year for food trends. While there are different views on what we’ll be seeing on shelf and in the media this year, here are my top foodie trends to watch in the new year:
- Plant-based proteins: It was trending in 2017, and won’t be going anywhere in 2018, with the new year expected to see more people embracing a ‘flexitarian’ lifestyle. Two years ago Euromonitor reported Australia as the third-fastest growing vegan market in the world. Since then, a greater focus on sustainability and cost-effective options, plus a healthy dose of social media inspo through ‘Meat Free Monday’ has seen the trend for meat-free alternatives skyrocket. We’re experimenting more with options like tofu, legumes (like chickpeas and lentils), whole grains, nuts, as well as eggs and dairy foods, and that’s a good thing! While meat is a healthy food to eat, including a whole range of different foods means we’re likely to take in a wider variety of nutrients. The verdict? This is a really positive trend, and one I’m keen to see more people adopt!
Try: incorporating a few plant-based meals into your repertoire each week, using proteins like lentils, tofu, or eggs.
- A focus on gut-health: Our fascination with the microbiome, (the community of millions of bacteria taking up residence in our gut) boomed in 2017, and will continue gaining traction this year – and for good reason. We’re learning so much more about how different foods can change up the strains of bacteria in our gut, which in turn can help or hinder our digestive health, weight, immunity, even mental health. While there is still much to learn, including fermented foods like yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha provides your gut with a dose of probiotics – beneficial bacteria to feed the micro biome. Prebiotic-rich foods act as food for gut bugs, so feed your microbiome with foods like leek, onion, garlic, legumes, oats, and firm bananas.
Try: adding some yoghurt to your morning muesli or smoothie, or experiment with pickling and fermenting! It’s a great way to avoid food waste (we all have some limp veggies at the back of the fridge), is a delicious way of spicing up a meal, and provides a dose of healthy bacteria.
- Demand for transparency and provenance: We’re getting savvier about our food, and want to know more: what it’s made of, where, and how it was grown. It’s no long enough for cafes and restaurant menus to list just the food they offer, but also the suppliers and farms their produce hails from. Whether it stems from a more health-conscious nation, or the hangover from ABC’s popular War on Waste program – expecting transparency in the food we eat is a good thing, and encourages manufactures and farmers to be accountable for the food they produce and sell.
Try: Shopping locally – or better yet, straight from the producers! Head to the Australian Farmer’s Market Association to find your nearest Farmer’s Market.
What do you expect to see trending in the food space this year? While there’s likely to be a whole range of other crazes, the above are three trends I’m very happy to see making waves in 2018!