As the year ends, annual food trend reports are being released for 2018. We’re spotlighting some of the snack and flavor trends we see on the horizon for the new year with some insights and thoughts.
First things first, plant-based foods are still the biggest trend out there and will continue to grow and become more mainstream in 2018. With more brands instituting the new labeling rules, consumers will continue to look for transparent labels and healthy snack options. Expect new flavors to pop up to enhance the snacks and make an impact.
Floral flavors have been on the rise in recent years due to kombuchas and other probiotic beverages becoming popular. The subtly sweet tastes and fresh scents are also being seen in snacks with lavender and rose making their move. Expect elderflower to be the big winner this year.
Because healthy powders are so easy to incorporate in beverages and food, they are becoming more and more mainstream. The powders are being heralded for energy boosts, a healthy alternative to caffeine, and many other health benefits. Consider matcha, maca root, cacao and turmeric.
Mushrooms have been used to support wellness in supplements for awhile. Now the fungi is moving into the mainstream and can be found in drinks, snacks and broths. Mushrooms are also a great plant-based option for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Middle Eastern Influence
Americans have become accustomed to Middle Eastern snacks like hummus, pitas and falafel. 2018 will find a deeper exploration of Middle Eastern flavors and ingredients. Spices like cardamom and za’atar are being incorporated into more snacks and foods with classic Middle Eastern ingredients like eggplant, cucumber and tahini also seeing rises.
Because of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean popularity, pistachios are landing in the spotlight again. Full of flavor, color and protein, these nuts are popping up in more snacks, both on the savory and sweet sides.
Poppin’ Fresh out the Kitchen
Crunchy snacks have been a classic choice for generations, but new technology is seeing more puffed, popped and crisped snacks make an entrance. New extrusion methods have made these snacks possible and they are typically a healthier way to enjoy a salty snack.
The rise of social media, in particular Instagram, has made food’s aesthetic just as important as the taste. For many millennials, it has become second nature to snap a photo of their food or drink before the first bite or sip. Brands are responding to this by creating special products that will incite consumer demand and online interactions.
You could call this the anti-rainbow food. Expect to see black beverages and snacks grab shelf space in the coming year. Since consumers still want health benefits with their goth snacks, activated charcoal is a popular ingredient.