What do documentaries, local supermarket offerings, and modern digital media have to do with food trends? It turns out a whole lot more than we realize, according to the people who influence fresh produce consumption on a daily basis. We asked 20 of our top food editors and bloggers what they’re seeing for 2018 food trends, and the results are in!
Thanks to the popularity of food documentaries, the vast offerings of fresh produce in most supermarkets, and inspiring food photography on social media platforms, fresh produce continues its growing opportunity to engage with the hottest food trends. Here’s where our influencers rated the following trends for 2018:
Hot Food Trends According to Influencers
Easy One-Skillet Meals
Cast iron skillets continue to grow in popularity, and with that, comes the trend for one-skillet meals – where all of the ingredients for your dish can be combined in one cast iron skillet and cooked together. These photographs often perform well because they are bright, dynamic, and simple – all while feeling like an elevated eating experience.
The term “sous vide” means “under vacuum” and is meant to pressure cook food in a water bath. A French technique used by restaurants for years, this has become a consumer trend that is expected to grow over the next couple years, most immediately with the more adventurous foodie community as they gain access to home kitchen-friendly equipment.
Instant Pot recipes continue to grow in popularity, especially for the novice cook who wants a pressure-cooked meal, similar to what Sous Vide can provide, but without the advanced equipment. Instant Pots, similar to the look and feel of a Crock Pot, cook with heat pressure rather than a slow heat for several hours, which provides quicker meals that are tender and feel like fine dining.
Stronger Emphasis on Veg + Hacks
Thanks to some of the most popular documentaries, restaurant trends, and influencer recipes, vegetables continue to be emphasized on the plate, especially when used as a “hack” for grains and animal proteins. Our influencers expect cauliflower rice, jackfruit meat substitutes, and veggie noodles to continue to be popular, and are excited to see what our industry does to create new and unique versions of these types of “hacks.”
What’s an artisanal ingredient? Anything out of the ordinary that is used to enhance the experience of a dish! This can be a unique fruit or vegetable, cheese, spice, herb, liquor, etc. Examples include bourbon whipped cream, brie and blackberry grilled cheese, or a rosemary biscuit with onion jam. Our mouths are already watering thinking of the possibilities, since artisanal recipes usually take advantage of unique sweet and savory combinations.
While many brands sell throughout the entire year, influencers find that people are still interested in seasonal recipes. For example, if you grow berries, take advantage of holiday baking recipes in November and December, but don’t forget to ramp up your presence in spring when strawberries are traditionally in season and people are actively looking.
Easy to Put Together
The average, everyday person is still trying to simply get healthier items into their family’s meals. This means we need to continue to create simple, easy to put together snacks and meals that a college student, full-time working adult, or parent can re-create in order to eat the healthier options that they want.
There is still a significant need to educate people on the fundamentals of fresh produce – everything from best ways to cook carrots, to what flavors pair nicely with mango. Do not forget that the average consumer knows far less than we may realize, since we live and breathe fresh produce each and every day!
After connecting with our favorite influencers, the most common reaction to 2018 food trends was this: if you want to be relevant in today’s fast-paced overwhelm of food content, you have to find the balance between creating approachable recipes that also provide a visual and taste experience that keeps people wanting more and more of what you’re offering.