Our 2018 Food Trend Predictions

Still ordering smashed avocado on toast? That’s so 2017 — at least in our opinion. Now it’s 2018, there’s going to be a load of new “it” ingredients and food trends to try. Here are our predictions for the foods you’ll feast on over the next 12 months, from flowers to a new take on Japanese eats.

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Flower power

This year, the food fortune tellers predict that we’ll be going mad for botanicals. Expect to find dishes decked with petals and whole flower heads. Drinks will be infused with lavender, hibiscus, elderflower and violet, and everything else will come up smelling ­— and tasting — of roses.

Japan-easy

Most of what we know about the food of Japan is expertly refined. We’re talking sushi rolled by chefs with the deftness of an embroiderer and dainty puffs of gyoza peeking up from a bowl of miso. But 2018 will be more robust. From wagu beef burgers slicked with wasabi mayo to deep-fried tofu squewers, expect to vibe off the after-hours Tokyo scene in the new year.

The new wave of Middle Eastern

Yotam Ottolenghi made sumac, za’atar and pomegranate molasses mainstream. But the new strand of food from the Middle East is here. Mega chef David Chang tweeted in 2017 that he was researching the food of Syria, Iraq and Iran and that we could ‘expect to see more of these food cultures’ on his menus.

In London, the #CookForSyria café popped up in Covent Garden for December, supper club Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is going to become a restaurant with a permenant site in 2018 and key ingredients (pistachio, lemon-y fava beans, rice dishes with a murmur of cumin) are gaining popularity in restaurants over the world.

The color purple

PANTONE‘s 2018 color of the year is Ultra Violet, a dramatic shade of purple, which you’re going to see everywhere — including your plate. We’re already big fans of sweet potatoes – they’re packed with fiber and nutrients – and we’re looking forward to seeing the purple variety this year, which gets its color from the same antioxidants found in blueberries. Already a hugely popular ingredient in Asia, purple sweet potatoes are making their way to the U.S. They have a rich, smooth taste and nutty aroma. As they’re denser than their orange cousin they take longer to cook. They can be baked, roasted or mashed.

No wasters

For a generation that have witnessed the emergence of plant-based eating, recycling as default and the first electric cars coming to our streets, eating sustainably isn’t anything shocking. But fresh ways of coming at cutting back on waste are here. From New York chef Dan Barber’s burgers made from the pulp of juices at his WASTed pop-ups, to cabbage cores jazzed up with spices, living la vida eco will look a whole lot cooler.

Give us a poke

Hawaiian poke (pronounced poh-keh), bowls reared their heads in 2017, and now look like they’re about to become the new sushi. Never heard of them? A staple in Hawaiian culture, the meal includes a layer of rice with chunks of raw, marinated tuna or other fish with vegetables and umami-rich sauces, all crammed into the same bowl.

Hot and bothered

It’s always exciting to try a new seasoning, and this year’s hottie is timut pepper from Nepal. Tipped as the next big condiment, timut – or timur – is related to Sichuan pepper. It has surprising hints of grapefruit and leaves a  warmth on the tongue. Try it on fish and green vegetables.

In a pickle

You’ll be fighting off fellow millennials when trying to get your hands on the last pickling jar in the supermarket aisle. Not only do many fermented foods contain microbes that may be gut-friendly, they last for ages and have a wonderfully complex flavor. Don’t worry if you don’t fancy making your own. With gut health an increasingly popular wellness area, there’ll be plenty of natural alternatives to buy.