It’s hard to believe that 2017 is coming to a close and we’re already looking ahead to 2018 food and flavor trends. This year, it’s been particularly fascinating to see how our predicted 2017 trends ended up playing out in the marketplace. Let’s take a quick look back at what trends shaped 2017, and our predictions for 2018.
2017 Year in Review
Hot and spicy flavors ruled 2017, as Millennials sought out unique peppers, complex ethnic flavors, and flavors that turned eating into a challenge or experience, like Ghost Pepper. In terms of ethnic cuisine, African and Indian both saw major increases in popularity, as Mediterranean, Latin, and Southeast Asian flavors continued to show growth. Pickled and fermented flavors also continued to grow, especially due to perceptions of their potential health benefits, as well as consumers’ demand for sour flavors. Indulgent foods and flavors, especially comfort foods, saw an increase this year as well, due to the “treat yourself” mentality, much in opposition with the healthy food and flavor trends of recent years.
Looking Forward to 2018
There are already several trends shaping up to have a major impact on the food industry in 2018. Some familiar trends, too, will take new forms and introduce consumers to new ingredients and the cuisines of other regions of the world. We’re predicting the following to be among the most notable upcoming flavor trends of 2018:
Over the past few years, consumers have become more interested in the foods and flavors of other parts of the world. Millennials, in particular, are becoming more globally conscious citizens, and they want to experience other cultures. This trend has pushed Latin, Mediterranean, and Asian food into the spotlight in recent years. While those cuisines are not going anywhere anytime soon, 2018 will see a rise in Indian, Korean, Yemeni, Israeli, African, and Filipino food and flavors. Among the flavors getting the most buzz? Tamarind, a tangy fruit commonly featured in African cuisine, Zhug/Skhug, a spicy green hot sauce used in Yemeni and Israeli cuisine, and ube, a purple yam commonly featured in Filippino food.
In addition to seeing a rise in these particular ethnic foods, we’ll also see more ethnic fusion. While ethnic fusion has continued to grow in popularity over the past few years, expect to see more fearless food and flavor combos inspired by global cuisine. As consumers get more adventurous, so will the potential ethnic fusion combinations.
Flavors with Function
Health conscious consumers want their food to have a function. Therefore, functional flavors and spices will grow evermore popular in 2018. Spices that are touted for their health benefits, like turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, will continue to see increases in 2018 as the demand for flavors that function increases. Similarly, matcha and activated charcoal will make their way into more products and menu items, as consumers are seeking these out for their potential health properties. For an increasing number of consumers, food isn’t just supposed to taste good; it’s also supposed to prevent diseases, provide energy and have healing properties.
Happy Hour Any Hour
In 2018, alcoholic beverage inspired flavors will be everywhere. From snacks to desserts to proteins, this trend picked up steam in 2017 and will rise to prominence in 2018, as consumers look for their favorite beverage flavors to be enjoyable at any time of day. Wine-inspired flavors, in particular, will see a boost this upcoming year.
Consumers, especially Millennials, are looking beyond familiar flavors and ingredients and seeking out more unique, sophisticated options. These consumers are adventurous and want to try new things – and a wide variety of new things. This trend is going beyond truffles and pink sea salt, as consumers are seeking unique flavor combinations and sophisticated ingredients. Even floral flavors are predicted to experience substantial growth in 2018, demonstrating the vast array of ingredients that consumers are interested in.
Moving Forward with Fuchs
At Fuchs, we have seasonings inspired by every season to help you figure out your next LTO or seasonal product line – and the taste trend research to back it up.
And Fuchs’ innovation doesn’t stop there. Our R&D team will develop custom seasoning solutions for your needs!
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