Farewell 2017, a year where (if you believe Instagram) we mostly ate bubble waffles, poké, and unicorn freakshakes. So what’s on the menu for 2018? We’ve trawled the trend reports to find out what the UK’s food experts are predicting for the year ahead. From edible flowers to plant-based proteins, here’s what we could be eating in 2018.
Booze-free beverages – The trend forecasts agreed that there will be a rise in interesting alcohol alternatives this year. Think flavoured bitters, sparkling waters, and bubbly cold brews. Will it stop us knocking back the occasional Martini? Probably not, but it’s nice to have options.
Plant-based protein – This was a trend we could all agree on, with experts predicting more root-to-stem cooking, vegan junk food, and plant proteins like tempeh and seitan. Frenchie’s Greg Marchand thinks we’re likely to see ‘less protein on the plate but this protein will be better sourced, where protein is used almost as a condiment rather than a main ingredient’.
Healthier snacking – Could this be the year we say goodbye pork scratchings, hello bean bites? Expect to see snacks made from lentils, peas, and black beans taking over the supermarket snack aisles this year.
Japanese izakayas – Angler’s Gary Foulkes predicts ‘that Japanese cuisine will continue in its ascendancy, with more emphasis in particular on the yakitori style of cooking and the food found in the izakayas across Japan – especially ‘after hours’ Tokyo’. If this means swapping pints and peanuts for sake and skewers, count us in.
African food – ‘I think we are on the tip of an African food boom,’ says Just Opened London editor, Helen Graves, ‘Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen has done a great job of beginning to popularise these flavours…I’m really excited to see how this trend develops in 2018.’ You can tap into the trend at upscale West African eatery, Ikoyi, or try dishes with a South African influence at Peckham newcomer, Kudu.
Floral flavours – According to Whole Foods, we’re going to be all over edible petals in 2018. Get ready for elderflower cocktails, bright pink hibiscus tea, lavender lattes, and rose-flavoured everything. It all sounds a bit made-for-Insta, but we’re happy to be converted.
Ghee – Step aside coconut oil, this year we’ll be cooking with ghee. According to Pinterest, the clarified butter is growing in popularity thanks to its rich, nutty flavour and ability to withstand higher-heat cooking. It’s also lactose-free, which is handy if you’re jumping on the Whole 30 bandwagon.
Faster pasta – In 2017, the Padella effect triggered a wave of pasta bar openings, including Passo, Pastaio, and Flour & Grape. Expect more fast-casual pasta joints this year, plus the arrival of Eataly – a vast Italian food hall and dining space opening near Liverpool Street.
Gut-friendly foods – Fermented and preserved foods were big news in 2017 and BBC Good Food thinks we’ll see even more of them this year. Expect to see kimchi, kefir, kombucha, and miso on restaurant menus, as well as interesting pickles made in-house.
Best of the rest: Soup (replacing juice). Korean condiments. Middle Eastern food. Bottled cocktails. Mushrooms as a superfood. Pink chocolate. Trolleys in restaurants. Even more tacos – sushi tacos, tacos for breakfast and dessert.
So which food trends are you hoping to try this year? And which would you like to leave behind in 2017?