The 109 Hottest Food Trends for 2018

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Find out which foods are on our radar come the new year.

By: Samantha Leffler | December 15, 2017

 

Always looking to be ahead of the curve when it comes to food trends? Then you’re in luck – we have the scoop on what’s going to be big on the scene in 2018. The National Restaurant Association recently released its What’s Hot 2018 Culinary Forecast, and there are definitely some things to take note of.

for example, did you know that Peruvian cuisine is on the rise while artisan cheese isn’t as popular as it once was? Or did you have any idea that jackfruit is trending while bitter melon is so last year?

The National Restaurant Association compiled the data by surveying 700 American Culinary Federation members earlier this year and asking them to rate over 100 items as 2018’s predicted “hot trend”, “yesterday’s news”, or “perennial favorite” respectively. Speaking of what’s hot, don’t miss these Top 14 Food Trends of 2018.

 

  1. New Cuts of Meat  – Traditional cuts such as the ribeye, T-bone, and filet are officially a thing of the past. Now it’s all about the shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas Strip Steak and Merlot cut. Looks like you’ll need to avoid The Grilling Mistake That’s Making You Sick come the new year.
  2. House-Made Condiments – House-Made condiments – ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise – will be giving Heinz a run for their money in 2018.
  3. Street Food-Inspired Dishes – There’s a time and place for fine dining, but in 2018, street food staples such as tempura, kabobs, dumplings, and pupusas are poised to reign supreme.
  4. Ethnic-Inspired Breakfast Items – While waffles and omelets will always be accepted breakfast foods, next year, ethnic-inspired breakfast items will have their chance to shine. Think: chorizo-scrambled eggs and coconut milk pancakes.
  5. Sustainable Seafood – With mounting concern about the environment, it should come as no surprise that sustainable seafood is slated to be a hot trend in 2018.
  6. Healthful Kids’ Meals – Happy Meals may be one of the most popular fast food items of all time, but 2018 is the year for healthy entrees for kids.
  7. Vegetables Carb Substitutes –  We’ve seen  the emergence of cauliflower rice, and zoodles (zucchini noodles) already, but it looks like we’ll be meeting more veggie carb substitutes next year, as this trend is on the rise.
  8. Uncommon Herbs – Sure, you’re well aware of cilantro, parsley, and thyme, but have you heard of chervil, lovage, lemon balm, and papalo? By the end of 2018 you’ll know all about ’em.
  9. Authentic Ethnic Cuisine – Say goodbye to imposter ethnic cuisine (sorry, chipotle) and hello to the real thing.
  10. Ethnic Spices – Continuing  with the ethnic theme, 2018 will also embrace an array of ethnic spices such as harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout, and shichimi.
  11. Peruvian Cuisine – You’re probably slightly familiar with Brazilian cuisine, and by the time 2018 is said and done  you’ll  be acquainted with the food of Brazil’s neighbor –  Peru – as well.
  12. House-Made/Artisan Pickles – In addition to house-made pickles will also be big next year. Call us crazy, but burgers in 2018 are shaping up to be especially delicious.
  13. Heritage-Breed Meats – Heritage-Breeds are traditional livestock breeds that were raised by farmers in the past, and 2018 is the year of heritage breed meats. In other words, get ready for some Berkshire Duroc, and Gloucesteshire Old Spots Pork.
  14. Thai-Rolled Ice Cream – We’ve already been introduced to Thai-Rolled ice cream, and apparently, it’s sticking around for 2018. In fact, it’s actually a trend on the rise. No complaints here!
  15. African Flavors – People with spicy palettes, rejoice! Bold African flavors are set to be all the rage in 2018.
  16. Ethnic-Inspired Kids’ Dishes – If you haven’t gotten the hint yet, ethnic foods will be everywhere you turn in 2018 – including on your kids’ plates. Get ready to introduce your little ones to beloved ethnic staples such as tacos, teriyaki, and sushi.
  17. Doughnuts with Non-Traditional Filling – We can’t ever remember a time when doughnuts weren’t on trend. But 2018 will be specifically all about doughnuts with non-traditional fillings, such as liqueur and Earl Grey cream.
  18. Gourmet Items in Kids’ Meals – Kid cuisine staples include mac and cheese and french fries, but in 2018, little one’s meals are getting an upgrade. For example, lobster mac and cheese and truffle fries could be making an appearance for the pint-sized.
  19. Ethnic Condiments – Ethnic condiments fit with several individual themes we’ve seen on this list thus far. Not sure what constitutes an ethnic condiment? Think sriracha, sambal, chimichurri, gochujang, and zhug.
  20. Ancient Grains – As their name suggests, Ancient grains such as Kamut, spelt, amaranth, and lupin have been around for thousands of years, but they’ll be making a comeback in 2018.
  21. House-Made Charcuterie – Since 2018 seems to be all about the house-made goods, why not pair your house-made condiments and pickles with some house-made charcuterie? Though this trend isn’t as hot as it once was, it will still be present next year.
  22. Plant-Based Burgers – Vegetarians and vegans will be pleased to know that plant-based burgers are poised to be a hot food trend next year.
  23. Filipino Cuisine – Not familiar with Filipino cuisine? By the end of 2018, you’ll be saying, “Pass the pancit!”
  24. Hybrid Fruit/Vegetables – Hybrid dogs are as popular as ever, and in 2018 hybrid fruit and vegetables—kale-Brussels sprouts, pluot, broccoflower—will have their opportunity to shine.
  25. Protein-Rich Grains and Seeds – If you’re looking to lose some weight, you’ll be relieved to know protein-rich grains—which melt away belly fat—will still be popular next year. To get a head start, stock up on hemp, chia, quinoa, and flax.
  26. Artisan/House-Made Ice Cream – As beloved as a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is, there’s something special about ice cream that’s house-made as opposed to mass-produced. Good thing the artisanal stuff will still be trendy next year!
  27. Savory Dessert – Speaking of sweets, savory desserts will still be having a moment in 2018. This is great news for those who prefer savory items, but if you have a craving for a bit of sugar at the end of a meal, you may want to stick to the house-made ice cream.
  28. Heirloom Fruit and Vegetables – The term “heirloom” is to plants as “heritage” is to meats. That is to say, heirloom plants are most often thought of as old-time varieties of vegetables that come true from seed. Despite trending over the past several years, expect to still see heirloom foods in 2018.
  29. House-Made Sausage – In addition to house-made ice cream, condiments, pickles, and charcuterie platters, house-made sausage will remain popular through next year. If this house-made trend continues, there may be nothing left to source!
  30. Exotic Fruit – News flash: apples, bananas, and the like are totally boring. These days it’s all about exotic fruits such as rambutan, dragon fruit, paw paw, and guava.
  31. Ethnic Fusion Cuisine – We’ve already established that ethnic cuisine will have a big year in 2018, so why not just combine the food from multiple cultures and start a new trend?
  32. Seafood Charcuterie –Charcuterie typically involves cured meat products, but 2018 is going to put a spin on the old dinner party standby by incorporating seafood into the mix.
  33. Smoked Dessert Ingredients – If you’ve ever thought your dessert was missing a smokey flavor, you’ll be pleased to know that smoked dessert ingredients will have their time to shine next year.
  34. Artisan Cheese – The artisanal cheese trend appears to be cooling down a bit, but you can still expect to see plenty of it in 2018.
  35. Savory Jam and Jelly – Bacon jam, tomato jam, and hot pepper jelly are just three examples of the savory jams and jellies we can expect to see more of next year.
  36. Superfruits – Superfruits are designated as such because they have a myriad of health benefits, and in addition to blueberries, strawberries, and kiwi, we can now count Acai, goji berries, mangosteens, and purslanes as part of the extra-nutritious group.
  37. Whole Grain Items in Kids’ Meals – Though it’s always preferable to feed your children whole grains instead of refined grains, the trend of including whole grain items in kids’ meals is actually not quite as popular as it once was.
  38. Middle Eastern Flavors – You’re probably more familiar with Middle Eastern flavors than you realize (think harissa, coriander, and anise). Get a headstart on these regional herbs and spices, as they’ll be big in 2018.
  39. Non-Wheat Noodles and Pasta – Non-wheat noodles such as those made of quinoa, rice, and buckwheat (like soba noodles) typically have fewer calories than wheat pasta, so the fact that they are trending in 2018 is great news for those looking to lose weight.
  40. Ethnic Cheese – Since cheese is so delicious, we can’t imagine it would ever fall out of favor. It looks like 2018 belongs more specifically to ethnic cheeses such as queso fresco, paneer, labne, and halloumi.
  41. Grilled Items in Kids’ Meals – Kids are typically served fried items including french fries and chicken fingers, but giving them grilled food (as is expected to happen more frequently in 2018) is better for their overall health.
  42. Imperfect/Ugly Produce – Who says your food always has to be Instagram-worthy? In fact, ugly produce is making a case for itself in 2018, and we couldn’t be more psyched about it. Bring on those weird-looking carrots!
  43. Organic Produce – As people move towards eating healthier, organic produce remains as popular as ever. Though organic fruits and veggies are typically more expensive than their non-organic counterparts, the benefits to organic produce include increased freshness and fewer pesticides.
  44. Extreme Milkshakes – Though not very healthy, extreme milkshakes sure are fun to eat and take photos of. Like it or not, they’re poised to remain Instagram fixtures at least through 2018.
  45. Hybrid Desserts – Cronut and chocolate: The cronut (croissant-donut) arguably started the hybrid dessert phase, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Brace yourselves for the townie, ice cream cupcakes, and more.
  46. Free-Range Pork/Poultry – Free-range pork and poultry are treated better and contain more nutrients than pigs and chickens who aren’t permitted to roam freely, so it’s good to know the concept is still popular.
  47. Oven-Baked Items in Kids’ Meals – Baked chicken fingers and oven-baked fries are healthier than their oil-fried counterparts. And we doubt your kids will catch the difference.
  48. Southeast Asian Flavors – Southeast Asian flavors include fish sauce, and coconut milk – all of which you can expect to see more of in 2018.
  49. Underutilized /Trash’ Fish – Underutilized fish such as mackerel, mullet, red fish, and porgy aren’t as nutritious as salmon or tuna, but they’re still tasty and have a lower fat content than certain red meats.
  50. Avocado Toast – Millennials, rejoice! Avocado toast snagged a spot roughly halfway through this list, which proves it isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
  51. Kids’ Entree Salads – If you continuously struggle to get your little ones to eat their fruits and veggies, you’ll be happy to know that entree salads for kids are trending upward. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the kiddos will automatically start chowing down.
  52. Fruit/Vegetables Side Items in Kids’ Meals – Grownup meals typically feature fruit or vegetable side items, so why not do the same for kids’ meals? There’s certainly nothing wrong with a nutrient boost!
  53. Jackfruit – The jackfruit is a species of tree in the fig, mulberry, and breadfruit family native to South India. It has a vibrant green color and is rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber; so eat up!
  54. Grass-Fed Beef – Grass-fed beef has higher concentrations of certain nutrients than regular beef as well as higher omega-3 levels and less fat overall. Understandably, it’s also more expensive than beef that is grain-fed.
  55. Amuse-Bouche/Bite-Size Appetizers – If you have trouble controlling how many delicious appetizers you eat at a party, you’ll be happy to know that many apps in 2018 will be bite-sized. However, that doesn’t mean you should snack on even more of the tiny hors d’oeuvres!
  56. Bite-Size/Mini-Desserts – Mini is in for 2018. In addition to bite-sized apps, we’ll also be seeing more of bite-sized desserts. While this means you may get to taste some different sweet treats, don’t let their small size trick you into eating too many!
  57. Tapas/Meze/Dim Sum – Tapas, meze, and dim sum are popular in parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, respectively. It looks like they’ll all be headed stateside soon.
  58. Latin American Flavors – Latin American flavors—cilantro, chilies, lime—will be making a big impact next year, which is great news for people who can’t get enough of big, bold flavor.
  59. Ethnic Dips and Spreads – Keeping with the ethnic theme, ethnic dips and spreads will also be making their mark in 2018. This is helpful to those watching their weight, since ethnic dips such as hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki, and dukkah tend to be healthier than American favorites like ranch, spinach-artichoke, and blue cheese dips.
  60. Gourmet Burgers – As predicted, the burger will get a gourmet boost in 2018. Now, it will pair perfectly with all of those house-made condiments and pickles!
  61. Bibimbap – If you aren’t already familiar with Bibimbap, chances are you’ll be acquainted with the tasty Korean mixed rice dish by the end of 2018.
  62. Bone Broth – Soup lovers will be happy to know bone broth is poised to be especially popular next year. Unfortunately, this trend isn’t vegan- or vegetarian-friendly.
  63. Poke – Poke is a raw fish salad typically served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine, but the low-carb favorite has morphed into more of a protein-rich main course since gaining popularity in major cities a couple of years ago. Looks like the trend will be sticking around for 2018.
  64. Dark Greens – Kale, mustard greens, and collards will be big in 2018. Not only do we love these veggies for their dark green hue, but these low-cal leaves are also packed with nutrients such as iron and vitamin C.
  65. Traditional Ethnic Breakfast Items – Brunch-goers will be pleased to know the millennial favorite will be getting a boost from ethnic breakfast items in 2018. That means you should make room for huevos rancheros, shakshuka, ashta, and more.
  66. Non-Traditional Eggs – If you thought only chickens lay eggs safe for humans to eat, 2018 is here to prove you wrong. Prepare your palettes for duck, quail, and emu eggs.
  67. Micro-Vegetables / Micro-Greens – As their name suggests, micro-vegetables and microgreens are small in size, but in this case “micro” is more of a reference to their young age than anything else.
  68. Farro – Farro is a whole grain known for its nutty taste and higher protein content than quinoa. Since it is higher in fiber than many other whole grains, it’s ideal for those looking to lose weight.
  69. Pho – If you like ramen, chances are you will also have an affinity for pho, which will be trendy in 2018. The tasty Vietnamese noodle soup consists of broth, rice noodles, some herbs, and meat.
  70. Black/Forbidden Rice – Black rice—also known as forbidden rice—will likely be working its way onto many plates next year, although it’s not as popular as it once was.
  71. Hand-Made Pasta – It seems many of us will be embracing our inner Aziz Ansari à la Master of None in 2018 and making our own pasta by hand. If only the getaway to Italy was included!
  72. Inexpensive/Underused Meats – If you’re a meat eater on a budget, you’ll be relieved to know cuts that are typically inexpensive and underused are poised to be a big deal in 2018. Said cuts include chicken feet, pig ears, tongue, and oxtail.
  73. Extra Hot Peppers – If jalapeños aren’t hot enough for you, rest assured knowing that extra hot peppers such as habaneros, ghost peppers, Carolina reapers, and Scotch bonnets will be very trendy next year.
  74. Game Meats – Game meats such as venison, game birds, boar, and rabbit haven’t quite achieved the popularity of chicken or beef, but it looks like 2018 might just be their year.
  75. Sliders/Mini-Burgers in Kids’ Meals – Burger sliders have been popular among adults for years, but now the shrunken eats are headed for the pint-sized set. How are we only just thinking of giving tiny burgers to tiny people? It seems like a perfect match!
  76. Overnight Oats – If you love to plan ahead, you’ll be pleased to know that overnight oats (a healthy breakfast that can be made the night before) is trending upwards. With our 50 Overnight Oats Recipes for Weight Loss, you’ll never get tired of this rising star.
  77. Ramen – As we head into the colder months, nothing sounds better than a bowl of ramen. Though the Asian soup may not be as popular as it was a few years ago, it still remains a favorite dish for many.
  78. Fried Chickpeas – Chickpeas are packed with fiber and other key nutrients, but frying them certainly doesn’t add to their nutritional value. Thankfully, this trend is on the way out, so let’s hope we can soon get back to eating chickpeas that haven’t been bathed in oil.
  79. Spiralized Vegetables – Of course you’re already familiar with the concept of spiralized veggies. Though still somewhat popular, the concept of turning vegetables into noodles is now considered a trend that’s classified as “yesterday’s news.”
  80. Mediterranean Flavors – What’s not to like about olive oil, lemon, and basil? Apparently nothing, because Mediterranean flavors (which can also do wonders for weight loss) were deemed a “perennial favorite.”
  81. Goat – Beef and chicken are some of the most popular sources of protein. Although goat hasn’t reached that level of popularity in America, the meat is frequently eaten in the Middle East, South Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
  82. Bitter Melon – Bitter melon is another trend that has fallen into the “yesterday’s news” group, which is good news for those that look to melon for a little dose of something healthy and sweet.
  83. Gourmet Mac and Cheese – What’s better than mac and cheese? Gourmet mac and cheese that includes truffles, lobster, and other pricey add-ins.
  84. Algae – Algae may be healthy for you, but its polarizing sea-like taste means that not everyone is on board with the nutrient-rich plant. Those who can’t stomach algae may be relieved to know that even though it is still trendy, it’s now considered “yesterday’s news.”
  85. Bacon – If we had to pick a textbook “perennial favorite” food, bacon would win by a landslide. Perhaps that’s why this tasty (though not very healthy) protein still finds itself on a list of food trends in 2018.
  86. Quinoa – A few years ago, quinoa was still a foreign food to many, but now the protein and fiber-rich grain has become a part of our diets, hence why it will stick around in 2018.
  87. Meals in Mason Jars – Get ready to embrace your inner hipster, because even though they were deemed “yesterday’s news,” meals in mason jars will still be popular in 2018.
  88. Comfort Foods – We can’t remember a time when comfort foods weren’t popular, and it looks like they will be more coveted than ever before in 2018. Get ready for chicken pot pie, meatloaf, roasted chicken, and a host of other delicious staples.
  89. Cauliflower – The vitamin C-rich veggie is going to make a name for itself in 2018, and we think it’s about time. If eating cauliflower stalks isn’t for you, consider trying the ever-popular cauliflower rice.
  90. Juice/Milk in Kids’ Meals – Another kids’ meal trend you can expect to see in 2018 is including juice or milk with your little one’s entree. Thankfully, both beverages are a much better upgrade from sugary soda and include key nutrients crucial to growth and brain development.
  91. Octopus – Though some may be turned off by the texture of octopus, it is a great source of protein, oxygen-transporting iron, and brain-supporting vitamin B12. However, those watching their cholesterol should limit their intake.
  92. Breakfast Hash – Since there are countless varieties of breakfast hash, not to mention it’s easy to make and always flavorful, we’re not at all surprised this early-morning dish was classified as a “perennial favorite.”
  93. Brussels Sprouts – Brussels sprouts are more than just a nutritious Thanksgiving side. It turns out that the delicious vitamin-packed veggies are also trending as we head into 2018.
  94. Barbecue – Barbecue is another “perennial favorite” Though it was originally popularized in the south, the cooking style has since found devotees all over the country.
  95. Bone Marrow – Though bone marrow may be a bit too adventurous for some eaters, the delicacy is still expected to be popular in 2018.
  96. Ceviche – Popular in Latin American cooking, Ceviche is healthy, flavorful, and delicious.
  97. Semifreddo – Semifreddo is a class of semi-frozen desserts, and the principal ingridients are usually eggs, sugar, and cream. Though it’snot one of the healthiest things on the list, it’s fine to indulge every once in a while.
  98. Flatbread Pizza – If you love pizza but are looking to cut down on carbs, rest assured that there’s still space for flatbread slices in 2018.
  99. Flavored Popcorn – Though it seems like  the different varieties of popcorn are now endless, flavoring the healthy snack and movie theater staple is still trendy. however, flavored popcorn did fall into the “yesterday’s news” category, so don’t expect it to be around for much longer.
  100. Chickpeas – Though not as popular as fried chickpeas, regular chickpeas (which are much healthier thanks to an abundance of protein and fiber) still found a spot on this list.
  101. Egg White Omelets/Sandwiches – Eggs are an excellent source of protein, and even though you lose plenty of valuable choline and B vitamins when you omit the yolk, the whites are low-calorie and fat-free. However, egg white omelets are also classified as a “yesterday’s news” trend.
  102. Gelato – The beloved Italian sweet treat is very similar to ice cream, but adds more milk rather than cream into its recipe and usually omits egg yolks—resulting in a dessert that’s lower in fat than the American staple.
  103. Broccoli Rabe – Broccoli rabe is rich in fiber, protein and vitamins A, C, and E. It makes a great side dish or addition to soup or stir-fry.
  104. Breakfast Burritos/Tacos – Another “perennial favorite” is the breakfast burrito and taco. We’re hoping these babies never fall out of favor, because they’re flavorful, comforting, and downright delicious!
  105. Greek Yogurt – Probiotic- and protein-packed Greek yogurt is always a staple in our kitchen, so even though it’s been trending for over a decade, we’re still happy to see that it snagged a spot on this list.
  106. Crustacea – Though it might be surprising to see something as vague as shellfish on this trendy list, the class of tasty crustaceans was voted a “perennial favorite.” If we had to guess, we’d say we have delicious lobster and shrimp to thank for that.
  107. Offal – organ meats such as heart, tripe, liver, and sweetbreads—is a trend that fell in the “yesterday’s news” group, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing any of it next year.
  108. Chicken and Waffles – A favorite in the South and amongst the brunch crowd, we’re not surprised the carb-heavy meal (with some protein thrown in for good measure) snagged the penultimate spot on this list.
  109. Pumpkin Spice – It’s hard to believe pumpkin spice is still trendy after what feels like at least a decade in the spotlight. But, the autumnal flavor will still be popular in 2018 thanks, in large part, to the cult status of Starbucks’ overly sweet Pumpkin Spice Latte. For much healthier beverage ideas, try blending these 56 Smoothies for Weight Loss 






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