We can’t wait for summer and all it has to offer. It’s a beautiful time of year for the freshest, juiciest, local ingredients and classically summery colours. But this year, we’re going all-natural. Think pink because of the garden-picked flowers infused in an iced tea drink or BBQ burgers dripping its plant-based fat onto the grill. Everything is delicious and super photogenic.
Here are the top five food trends to look out for this summer.
1. Plant-based diets
Plant-based diets are trending this year among vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Thanks to our summer cravings for fresh, local produce and lighter, healthier meals, plant-centric meals will grace many of this summer’s menus. Food bloggers, celebrities, Instagrammers and chefs have made the term plant-based a growing trend from late last year. New restaurants are even popping up and calling themselves plant-based rather than vegan or vegetarian. Think legumes, beans, nuts and seeds instead of beef, chicken or eggs, as an example.
With so many Netflix food docuseries educating the public about what we’re eating, it’s no wonder this trend is taking off. Eating mostly plant-based foods have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer—plus it can be better for the planet.
Many chefs even find cooking and creating vegan proteins to be a welcome challenge that breaks from the kitchen norms. “No longer the ‘weird’ dinner mate, vegans and vegetarians have been fully accepted into the food scene, as chefs known for their meat dishes are looking for a new challenge and diving into the world of plant-based dishes and meat alternatives,” Lifesum nutritionist Frida Harju-Westman explains in a HuffPost Canada article
This trend has been gaining momentum over the last year and is expected to reach all new heights this summer. The fresher, more colourful, sweeter, summertime-vibey, beautifully plated and enviously mouth-watering the dish, the more likes the Instagram gets. Apparently, even the famed Culinary Institute of America offers courses on food styling and photography for Instagram. It’s no wonder, Instagram is a business’ new front door and has the ability to make or break chefs. Plus, what a great way to crowdsource content and get your fans to create buzz around new summer dishes? Even Facebook tells us to watch our feeds for brightly coloured and beautifully plated dishes in 2018.
“A lot of restaurants are realizing the benefit in facilitating people taking photos of their food,” trends expert Daniel Levine tells HuffPost Canada. Christina Tosi, the award-winning pastry chef behind the Milk Bar empire, comes to mind for this trend. Her vanilla rainbow cake with visible layers of rainbow cake crumbs, sprinkles, vanilla frosting is the quintessential Instagrammable dish for the summer.
3. Floral flavors
Rosewater cookies, lavender iced tea, elderflower boozy drinks, chamomile ice cream… This trend is all about infusing nature’s sweet, floral flavours into summer dishes. We’ll see more edible flowers topping cakes, gracing salads, brewing sweet teas and adding subtle flavour to sauces, dressings and sweet treats. Floral flavours also come at a time when specialized teas and naturally-made booze-free drinks are on the rise. Plus, many of these flowers have medicinal powers that turn any summertime drink into a refreshing superfood.
Take rose petals, for example. Not only does it naturally dye liquid to a beautiful (Instagrammable) pink, it adds a subtle floral flavour and is so good for your health. Rose petals are rich with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. It’s packed with vitamins A, E and C, all of which are great for improving your immune system and detoxing your body. It helps with weight loss, soothes your gut, reduces stress and keeps you hydrated. Win-win, we say! Almost every edible flower has hidden health properties, so we’re excited to see more of this all-natural trend.
4. Superfoods and nootropics
Last year everyone was talking about gut health. Fermented foods skyrocketed in popularity. Kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, yogurt, naturally-made pickles…fermented foods graced nearly every poke bowl, dragon bowl and glory bowl alike. That trend is still here, but we’re seeing new superfood ingredients to help with your cognitive health, respiratory system and nervous system. The whole meal deal, in other words.
According to BBC good food trends for 2018, health-conscious eaters will be consuming more “nootropics” or brain food for improving your cognitive health. Superfoods like nuts, coffee and chocolate, berries, fish and spinach are all considered “brain foods.” BBC also tells us to look out for turmeric, salmon, eggs, dandelion greens and jícama.
5. Healthy, colorful lattes
Speaking of turmeric. This summer we’ll see colourful, Instagrammable, yet healthy (iced) lattes infused with superfoods such as turmeric, beets, rose, matcha and the top trending health ingredient, Blue Majik (a trademarked health product made from algae). These lattes pack a powerful health punch and are a perfect midday pick-me-up. This trend also piggybacks on two other top trends for this year: snacks and the fourth meal (aka treats).