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2018 Ingredient Trends to Watch

November 24, 2017

Packaged Facts outlines the latest in culinary innovation.

Consumer palates are continuously looking for the next best taste treat, whether it’s pulling from the familiar or moving toward the more adventurous.

Cauliflower, eggs Benedict, macaroni and cheese, meatballs, olives, brown butter, figs, and Earl Grey tea among restaurant and food retail ingredients to watch in the New Year.

The latest wave of culinary innovation is cooking up inspiration and innovation based more on the familiar than the exotic or foreign, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in the new report “New Spins on Standards 2017: Culinary Trend Tracking Series.”

“One doesn’t have to look very far to find the ‘next sriracha’ or ‘matcha tea’,” said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. “Culinary trends in 2018 will be inspired by familiar comforts from our childhoods but with artisanal, indulgent, and downright delicious reimaginings that satisfy the appetites of traditionalists and foodies alike.”

In New Spins on Standards 2017: Culinary Trend Tracking Series, Packaged Facts identifies more than a dozen foods, beverages, and ingredients that will trend in 2018 and beyond. Here are a few highlights:

Cauliflower at Center & Side – Thanks to such factors as the growing locavore trend and the increased cost of traditional protein, restaurants are designing more menu items that showcase fresh vegetables. Cauliflower benefits from its versatility as it can be prepared in many different ways, including global preps such as Indian curries and fritters and Italian pasta.

Eggs Benedict Trending Across Dayparts – Eggs Benedict have inspired newfangled dedicated restaurant concepts. Increased experimentation and multi-culturalism with omelets has opened the door for more Benedict experimentation, especially now that the breakfast, brunch, and late night (think breakfast all day) dayparts are getting truly creative attention.

Mac & Cheese Beyond the Box – This much-beloved comfort food is being adapted and re-adapted into many forms and fancies. Beyond menu presence as a signature entree or as a premium side dish, mac & cheese is being merchandised as a sociably shareable, Millennial-baiting food plate; as a fried bite-sized snack, bar food or alternative to French fries; and in mash-ups atop sandwiches or poured into poutine.

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