5 healthy food and drink trends you need to know for 2018

Food trends are ever changing, it can be hard to keep up! But what should you be adding to your shopping list in 2018?

Healthy drinking

Many of us enjoy drinking alcohol, whether it’s when socialising with friends or drinking a complementary glass of wine with a meal. However, we are becoming more health conscious and calorie counting doesn’t go well with a taste for liquor…

This suggests the upcoming trend of 2018 — healthy drinking. This new trend allows us to drink and be sociable without consuming extra calories. The low-calorie option amongst alcoholic drinks has been a rising segment for many years and will continue to grow as we increasingly monitor what we eat and drink.

There is already low-calorie beer available and it is likely that low-calorie cocktails could be the next big thing. Now, 78% of bars offer cocktails which is up 12% on 2016 — driven by social media and people’s willingness to post photos of their fancy drinks. Zach Sasser, a head bartender, predicts that ingredients such as beetroot juice, kale and pureed carrots will be popular. “Going into this health-conscious age that we live in, I believe integration is inevitable,” he says.

There is also further potential for integrating healthy ingredients into cocktails. In one survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, 700 chefs were surveyed on what they think the latest culinary trends may be. They said that the relationship between the bar and the kitchen is to become stronger. Can we expect vegetable-infused cocktails in 2018?

Rise in mushrooms

Research has revealed that many fungi, such as mushrooms, are good for you as they produce ‘adaptogenic’ compounds — assisting in anti-stress and anti-cancer treatments. For this reason, we predict that mushrooms will be the next big thing in 2018. In fact, Food Navigator found that year-on-year sales of food products that include medicinal mushrooms have risen between an outstanding 200-800%, depending on the variety.

Consulting firm, Grand View Research, reported that the mushroom market is expected to exceed $50 billion (£37 million) over the next six years. Making its way into the food and drink sector through mushroom-infused coffees and mushroom smoothies, many cafes and retailers are already profiting from the trend.

The special ingredient is finding a place on supermarket shelves in other ways too — through hair and skincare products! Different species of mushrooms are chosen for their varying properties — for example shiitake mushrooms are known for their richness in antioxidants and high vitamin D content, and the reishi mushroom is selected for its anti-inflammatory properties.

‘Flexitarianism’

In recent years, we have seen a rise in the number of people turning vegetarian and vegan. In fact, the number of vegans in the UK has risen by 350% in the past decade — predominantly driven by the younger market, with half of those opting for this diet falling between the ages of 15 and 34. Some people are enjoying the best of both worlds with a flexitarian diet — primarily vegetarian with meat and fish occasionally.

Many people believe that there is little room for indulging or eating unhealthily on a vegan diet and we predict that this could all change. With so many people transforming to a ‘flexitarian’ diet, there is a new market for vegan fast food.  

This may include seeing more of plant-based ‘meat’, such as the innovation that Leonardo DiCaprio has invested in called Beyond Meat. This could come in the form of burgers or fried food. Expect to see other indulgent food too, such as extravagant vegan desserts.

Plant-based protein

Possibly due to the rise of Instagram foodies and chefs, healthy smoothies have been big in 2017. Finely ground tea leaves, matcha and powdered super vegetables such as kale, spirulina and spinach have been popular too — their texture making it easy to add to soups, smoothies and salads. Registered dietician, Abbey Sharpe, explains their popularity: “I think people love a quick way to get in their healthy-eating fix, and powdered substances are seen as an easy way to pack in the nutrition.”

This year we are expecting to see an increase of garden plant based proteins to support healthy diets and act as workout fuel. One of the newest forms of this is pea protein which has many benefits including its neutral taste — making it favourable for regular consumption.

Domestic produce

With Brexit on the horizon and the uncertainty of trade regulations and costs, it is very likely that we will be embracing home grown produce this year. Brexit is already changing our views on food shopping. In April 2017, one in five said that they were more likely to buy British food after leaving the EU to support the economy. However, this was dependent on pricing, and if prices rise, many will go for cheaper alternatives.

We experienced rising fruit and vegetable costs in 2016 — vegetable prices rose by 6.6% and this was explained by climate problems in Europe which led to shortages in some items. Can we risk facing these soaring prices again? Many think not. Instead, keen and amateur gardeners are heading to their back yards to plant their own vegetables and it’s expected that this trend will continue.

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