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Get ready for the upcoming season! Consumer food trend reports are issued annually by commodity groups, commissioned by top food processors, and completed by well-respected consulting firms. These reports influence all aspects of the global, domestic, and regional food systems in ways that may go unnoticed when wearing the ‘farmer’ or ‘food producer’ hat. These consumer trend reports influence what is seen when wearing the ‘consumer’ hat in cooking shows, ‘new’ menu items in restaurants, what the ‘hot’ chefs are making, and even which ‘new’ flavor of snack chips will be on the shelf. Considering these national and global food trends can assist farmers and value-added food producers to keep product lines fresh, uncover and pursue new niche markets or products and therefore potential revenue streams. Using these previews early in the market season can assist with seed selection and inspire seasonal flavors for all manner of value added goods, farm market and farmers markets.
The 2018 Food Flavor Trends
Flavor Profiles from Persia, Morocco, Syria and Lebanon
These warm, smoky, often savory with sweet flavors will be featured. These cuisines rely heavily on fruit, vegetables, herbs and whole grains and make for great grab and go snacks at market, or as ready to eat in a market’s prepared section. Think beet hummus, eggplant and garlic dip and tabbouleh salad featuring tomatoes parsley, garlic, cucumbers, onions and whole grains. Moroccan food often features hearty vegetable stew studded with fruit, slow cooked in a clay pot called a tagine.
Anything black-charred and fire kissed
Argentinian Celebrity Chef Francis Mallmann introduced his elemental cooking method to the world in Netflix’s ‘A Chef’s Table’. Restaurants with open fire pits are opening around the country. These restaurants are often open to farm to table relationships and need to source protein and produce that can withstand flame.
Mushrooms have captivated the human imagination for millennia, showing up in folk art and as medica media in cultures around the world. Mushroom powders, tea and infusions will show up in unusual places. Creative cooks and value-added producers may choose to include fungi as a star ingredient in craft products like ice creams, and sweet and savory fusions.
Seconds are having a field day as consumers show an interest in reducing food waste. Food rescue CSA’s are popping up in PA and around the country, purchasing seconds from farms. Entrepreneurs are starting juice businesses with the twisted sisters. Food banks have additional funds through the non-profit Feeding America to acquire seconds from farms. Food artists and photographers have given these misshapen fruits and veggies a makeover by creating funny faces out of them and photographing them. Surf the web for examples of this trend.
Coffee based cocktails
Maybe it’s the winter warm drink season, or an homage to The Big Lebowski, but fusion drinks featuring coffee are going to become more prevalent on drink menus. Find the drink trendsetters who regularly need herbs and fruits to balance these concoctions.
Plant engineered meat substitutes like ‘heme’
Heme is found in plants and animals, contains iron, and has been combine with vegetable and grains to produce a new vegetarian ‘meat’ for burgers, meatballs and meat loaf that is more environmentally and cholesterol friendly than animal protein. It has the juicy characteristic of meat, that soy or all-grain subs cannot replicate accurately. Chefs making these concoctions will need all manner of pickled and fresh accoutrement to dress this product, as well as potatoes and wheat to make it.
It’s Raining Tacos
Tacos are more than a kid friendly Parry Grip song. Tacos elevate the Central American flavor profile that has trended for almost half a decade. Taquerias, taco truck and brick and mortar restaurants will be looking for everything needed to make a good taco: protein, eggs, potatoes, garlic, onions, cilantro, peppers and tomatoes to keep customers satisfied.