What will we remember 2018 for when it comes to food trends?
2018 was a big year for foodies. Netflix food documentaries and cooking shows were a dime a dozen—and they were all well-produced, informative, entertaining and highly “crushable.” It’s also the year that American celebrity chef and travel-food documentarian Anthony Bourdain and French celebrity (and the world’s most Michelin-starred) chef Joël Robuchon passed away. Both of them left behind unparalleled food legacies.
There’s no doubt that the food industry is changing.
People are gaining awareness of where food is coming from and the effects it has on their bodies, communities and the planet. There are more people than ever who are looking for local, wild and sustainable foods and the same can be said about consumer’s looking for a quick, healthy meals on-the-go. There has never been a better time for odd food trends like avocado buns, dog-looking ice cream treats, unicorn cakes and gold-plated foods to gain immense popularity (if nothing else but for the Instagrammability of them).
Here are the top food trends of 2018:
Great restaurant meals delivered
One of the biggest food trends at play this year was the shift toward eating good, local restaurant meals but at home or in the office. We’re seeing more restaurant and corporate catering delivery companies step up to fill a growing demand for consumers who want to enjoy a wide variety of restaurant-cooked meals in the comforts of their own spaces.
For example, home delivery services like UberEats are popping up everywhere and even Foodee, our corporate meal delivery service, is seeing a trend toward ordering team meals right to every office. While that means that fewer people may be frequenting restaurant locations, the businesses are still being supported in a different way (through delivery companies and apps).
DIY meal kits delivered
Likewise, as more people are preferring to stay within the comforts of their own homes, subscription, pre-portioned meal kits delivered to consumer’s homes is on the rise. While this has an arguably higher footprint on the planet if the kit travels far, has lots of packaging and refrigeration boxes, it could help reduce food waste, encourage home cooking and support healthy meal planning. Regardless, there are plenty of companies filling the need—and plenty of articles smattering the net on how to choose the “right meal kit for your lifestyle.”
Food trucks and fast food take-out
Neither of these food culture trends is new, but they’ve been gaining momentum over the years and seem to have hit a pinnacle this year. No event is complete without a food truck or two in the parking lot. Every major office has a rotating schedule of them out front to cater to hungry Millennial staffers. Consumers are calling in (or using apps to request) restaurant orders ahead-of-time and taking out or getting delivery, rather than eating in. What about the fast food part of this trend, you ask? Just one look at how many super-stuffed breakfast sandwiches and deep-fried chicken posts are hashtagged on Instagram and you’ll understand.
Natural wine and wild beer
This one’s near and dear to my heart, as my partner is a natural winemaker. But, I can attest to our recent travels to several major cities around the globe that natural wine bars are all the rage and gaining popularity among young wine drinkers and sommeliers alike.
With consumers more aware of what they’re ingesting than ever before, they’re turning on “regular” wine with its chemicals, additives, fertilizers, sprays, wood chips, factory yeasts, unnecessary added sugars, sulfates, colourants, flavours, you name it. There are up to 150 additives that winemakers are allowed to add—same goes for beer—and naturalists and wild fermenters are finally opting out. These are sometimes cloudy, funky, sour or unusual tasting beers and wines, but most are interesting and delicious. In short, the grapes speak for themselves (and aren’t sprayed or tampered with in the field or on the crush pad). Wild beer is similar where it ferments with the yeasts found in nature.
This celebrity-endorsed lifestyle and wellness trend—or diet, I should say—has become increasingly popular over the past several years. On the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet, 70-80 percent of daily calories come from fat and only 5 percent comes from carbs. This is not only a huge change for most people, it’s also highly restrictive and is a celebrity-diet for a reason: they can afford to hire doctors to monitor their medical charts throughout. Regardless, everything from keto cheesecake to keto pancake recipes, hashtags and images have been explosively popular this year.
What was your favorite food trend of 2018?
Stay tuned in January for the top food trends coming our way for 2019.