by Dave Hoemann / November 1, 2017

It’s that time of the year again when we start asking ourselves, “What are the hottest new trends?” Our predictions for 2018? Some are brand new and some are born again! Here are our Top 10 (in no particular order) …

INDIAN & SOUTHEAST ASIAN STREET FOOD will continue to grow in popularity. The big, bold flavors and simple preparations will strike a spice note for American palates. Of particular interest, beyond Indian, will be Burmese, Indonesian, Malaysian and Vietnamese flavors.

MEDITERRANEAN GOES MAINSTREAM with diners comfortable mixing and matching cuisines from the various 22 countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. What used to be exotic has become widely accepted and embraced by the dining public for its flavor and healthier benefits.

FRIED PICKLES & SOUTHERN COMFORT FOODS are popping up on menus everywhere. An affection for flavors from below the Mason-Dixon Line is translating in popularity and high sales of these comfort food specialties.

BREAKFAST ALL DAY is becoming desirable in all levels of dining. This movement started in the quick-service segment (McDonald’s) and is rapidly spreading everywhere due to our always-expanding travel and work schedule patterns.

PLANT-BASED DIETS are creating root-to-stem opportunities in the kitchen. Of particular interest is plant proteins (pulses, soy, grains, seeds, shoots) and plant super-foods (turmeric, matcha, moringa).

MEAL DOCUMENTATION via social media platforms (especially Instagram) is proving that “picture perfect” presentation is as important as flavor these days! Chefs will need to consider how well their plates photograph when creating their menu items.

COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY IN LABELING will become a reality for all levels of the food chain. Ingredients, sources and trace-ability will become easier for the public to see as they demand clean foods and adapt a “food as medicine” approach to healing.

THIRD-WAVE COFFEES will continue to take greater market share from the big guys. As previously predicted, interest continues to grow with demands for coffee from smaller, local artisan roasters in all parts of the country.

SPIRITS GET LOCAL WHILE CRAFT BEER GOES GLOBAL as evidenced by increased sales of locally produced spirits (particularly whiskey, vodka and gin) throughout the country. While these spirits localize, craft beers are expanding globally with drinkers’ interest in experiencing brews from all corners of the world.

CULINARY COCKTAILS will become the rage as mixologists continue to experiment with kitchen-inspired techniques behind the bar. They will showcase interesting ingredients, textures and flavors in cocktails, with savory and smoky replacing sweet.