Now that we’ve shut the door on 2017and looked at trending diets this year, let’s look at the food trends that are heavily anticipated in 2018. Just Googling “2018 food trends” will bring up hundreds of articles in dozens of publications about what’s going to be hot this year. You can see for yourself here, here and here.
We decided to dig into a few of these trends and learn a bit more about them – and see how prevalent they are on the grocery shelves already. However, it’s up to you to decide if you’d like to drop these into your shopping cart this year.
Flower Power for the Millennial Generation
One of the hottest trends for 2018 across the aisles is botanicals. Within botanicals, rose is expected to be the number one flavor this year. We found more than 150 rose-flavored products in our database, such as teas, waters, juices, sodas, jams, chocolates and candy.
We found 25 types of elderflower products, more commonly known as elderberry, which are mostly beverages but surprisingly includes three cheese products. For cheese lovers out there, this could be an interesting option for your next charcuterie.
Then there is the category of botanical foods heartily endorsed by rabbits: “edible flowers.” They account for nearly 20 products in our database that can be consumed fresh, dried or in brine. And we can’t forget chamomile, which is a popular tea, is also appearing in non-tea products such as ice cream.
Another big botanical making its way across the aisles is lavender. We found lavender as an ingredient in 115 products including tea, herbs, chocolate, jellies and fruit spreads, and syrup, just to name a few.
With all of these lovely scents invading our senses, it’s safe to say that 2018 is already smelling pretty sweet.
Move Over Kombucha; Vinegar Makes a Splash
Typically, vinegar would be something you might have sitting on a shelf somewhere in the back of your pantry. Or something acidic added to your salad dressing to balance out the oil. But this year, experts say to keep an eye out for vinegar-based beverages in the same supermarket aisle as soft drinks, energy drinks and other juices.
These vinegar-based drinks are flavored with apple, cinnamon, elderberry, ginger or mandarin – to sweeten the deal and make it more palatable. It may not sound enticing but it’s a jazzed up version of the popular apple cider vinegar shots that health-conscious individuals are doing to “detox” their systems.
Our database identified 65 different “drinking vinegars” that are consumed as a beverage rather than added as an ingredient in another dish. Suja and Bragg are two such brands. If drinking vinegar wets your whistle, then odds are you can find an option at your local grocery store.
Alt-Meat Gains Traction
Another hot trend for 2018 is the growing category of meat alternatives. Let’s face it plant-based eating is a growing movement in the U.S. And concerns about the environment and animal welfare are changing how Americans view meat. Our database has identified more than 1,000 meat-alternative products. This includes well-known options like tofu-based products (250), but now also adds a soy protein called tempeh, a wheat gluten that the Japanese call seitan, marinated jackfruit and a handful of mushroom-based products.
These products, also identified by the ironic term “vegetarian meat,” also include foods made with turmeric, a form of ginger that controls inflammation in organs like the brain or heart. The meat alternative category includes food for vegetarians who don’t eat meat, as well as vegans who also won’t eat foods derived from animals – such as milk, eggs, cheese or yogurt.
If you are thinking of trying a meatless Monday this year, then a new meat alternative might be an option for you.
Figs Expand Beyond the Cookie Aisle
While we all know figs in reference to the famous cookie, figs are a core ingredient in scores of other products such as granola bars, salad dressing, chocolate, relishes, cheese, cereals and yogurt. You can find fig products on a lot of different shelves – 31 of them to be exact. We found some unique products that include fig as a key ingredient. A Moroccan recipe lamb & fig sausage and milk chocolate, fig and hazelnut flavored coffee were two standouts.
Transparency – Always On Trend
What’s not new – but still hot! – is consumer demand for more information about what’s in their food. Food companies and retailers are responding and Label Insight is proud be a part of that process. With detailed product attributes that are meaningful to the individual, consumers can make more informed choices.
Curious to learn more about using Label Insight data? We’re helping CPG brands and retailers tackle their toughest product data challenges.