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Food Trends 2018

We took a look at reports released by Whole Foods, The National Restaurant Association, and more to identify the top food trends for 2018. Examples include doughnuts with unique fillings, nontraditional cuts of meat, fermented vegetables, meat alternatives, ancient grains, soft serve, and edible flowers. Cuisines that will be hot include Middle Eastern, Peruvian, and Filipino.  From gigantic soup dumplings to chicken waffle cones, there were plenty of viral foods to try in 2017. As the year comes to a close, we took a look ahead to see what food trends will shape 2018. Using reports released from Whole Foods, The National Restaurant Association, and more, we identified the foods you’ll be seeing on menus everywhere in the coming year. Keep scrolling to see what you’ll be indulging in throughout 2018.



10 Below Rolled Ice Cream 1
The National Restaurant Association named rolled ice cream a top trend for 2018. goodebba/Instagram

Doughnuts with unique fillings

Gone are the days of chocolate-glazed doughnuts. Boutique doughnut shops have been popping up all over the world, serving up unique flavors and fillings, like LA-based Cafe Dulce, which stuffs their doughnuts with Snickers bars. Australia’s Donut Papi offers treats filled with custard, and NYC-based Du’s Donuts come in flavors like banana malt, pear clove, and espresso cardamom. The National Restaurant Association named doughnuts with non-traditional fillings one of the 10 trends that are heating up for 2018.


Doughnuts with unique fillings
Doughnuts from Donut Papi.  donutpapi/Instagram

Thai rolled ice cream

Originally from Thailand, this unique style of ice cream has become popular around the world, thanks to the intriguing method behind its preparation. Liquid ice cream is poured onto a cold slate, which causes it to freeze; meanwhile it’s chopped and rolled by hand and then served in a cup with various toppings. The National Restaurant Association named rolled ice cream one of the top 15 trends for 2018.


Thai rolled ice cream
Rolled ice cream from 10 Below in New York City.  10belowicecream/Instagram

Naked layer cakes

Milk Bar Owner Christina Tosi was one of the first bakers to open the food world’s eyes to the “naked cake” — a tiered cake whose unfrosted sides show its layers and give it its name. Her naked birthday cakes are a favorite among Milk Bar devotees, and the less-is-more cake trend has spread to weddings and at-home baking. Tosi predicts that the trend will continue to spread in 2018.


Naked layer cakes
A naked cake from Milk Bar.  milkbarstore/Instagram

Soft serve

Tosi cited soft serve as another dessert trend that will continue to grow in the coming year. Plenty of funky flavors started to make their way into the viral food sphere this year. There was watermelon and corn soft serve at Dominique Ansel Bakery in Tokyo, and flavors like green tea matcha, black sesame, and purple ube at Soft Swerve in NYC.


Soft serve
Soft Swerve’s soft serve.  stuffbeneats/Instagram



Croissants with unique fillings

Dessert mastermind Tosi also says that laminated dough— the dough used to make pastries such as croissants — will become a staple for bakeries in 2018.

This trend isn’t completely new either. NYC-based restaurant Union Fare burst onto the hybrid food scene last year when they started selling a birthday cake croissantstuffed with with a creamy, Funfetti-flavored filling. Their other croissant flavors include matcha and red velvet.

Croissants with unique fillings
Union Fare’s birthday cake croissant.  Sarah Schmalbruch / INSIDER


Breakfast items with an ethnic twist

Brunch seems to be the only meal millennials want to eat on weekends, so it’s fitting that restaurants are coming up with new twists on old breakfast classics. According to the National Restaurant Association, many restaurants are turning to recipes with an ethnic flare like chorizo scrambled eggs and coconut milk pancakes. The Association named ethnic-inspired breakfast foods one of the top five trends for 2018.


Breakfast items with an ethnic twist
Pancakes.  Gianna Ciaramello/Unsplash



Meat alternatives

Impossible Foods’ meatless burger went mainstream when it was first served by an NYC restaurant — David Chang’s Momofuku Nishi — in the summer of 2016. It has since been hailed as a viable meat alternative for both vegetarians and carnivores alike, and has appeared on additional restaurant menus on both the East and West Coast.

The meatless burger’s appeal is all thanks to heme, a molecule that gives meat its pink color, makes it bleed, and gives it its flavor. BBC named heme a top trend for 2018,calling it “a possible stepping stone to more environmentally sustainable meat alternatives.”


Meat alternatives
Impossible Foods’ meatless burger.  impossible_foods/Instagram



Poké — a raw fish salad native to Hawaii — first made its way to mainland America by way of California. Soon after, the trend went bicoastal and spread to New York City, where the dish is now served at a number of fast-casual restaurants that allow diners to customize their poké bowls with things like kale noodles, avocado, and seaweed salad.

There are still plenty of large cities like London who haven’t been hit by the poké craze just yet though, and BBC predicts that will change in the coming year. According toEater, the number of Hawaiian restaurants on Foursquare doubled from 342 to 700 from 2014 to 2016; by 2020, that number could reach over 1,000.


A poké bowl.  INSIDER


Non-traditional cuts of meat

Although 2017 saw a rise in the plant-based diet, the National Restaurant Association says meat will be just as crucial this year. The association named new cuts of meat like shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas strip steak, and Merlot cut, the top trend for 2018.


Non-traditional cuts of meat
Steak.  Jason Leung/Unsplash



Fermented and pickled veggies

According to BBC, the coming year will be all about gut health, which is why there will be a rise in pickled and fermented vegetables. While some veggies have been known to contribute to stomach bloat, veggies that have been fermented or pickled — like in the case of miso, kimchi, and kefir — can actually aid with digestion.


Fermented and pickled veggies
Kimchi.  casanisa/Shutterstock



Heritage meats

The cut of meat isn’t the only trend carnivores will be focusing on in 2018. The National Restaurant Association named heritage-breed meats one of the top 20 trends for the coming year. This refers to meat that comes from non-commercial livestock breeds that were raised by farmers in the past but have now become scarce due to industrial agriculture. These breeds have unique genetic traits and are raised on sustainable or organic farms.


Heritage meats
Heritage-breed meats.  Max Delsid/Unsplash



Unique spins on veggies

Farm-to-table food and plant-based diets dominated last year, and it looks like these vegetable-centric trends will continue into 2018. For only the second time since 1900, the number of farmers under 35 has increased, according to the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture, something that’s likely to lead to plenty of innovation in the farming sector.

Whole Foods also says that a push to reduce food waste will lead to chefs using every part of the vegetable, including stems, leaves, or rinds, which were often discarded in the past.


Unique spins on veggies
Organic vegetables.  NeONBRAND/Unsplash


Peruvian food

Three restaurants located in Peru made it onto this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants List, including one — Central in Lima— that made it into the top five. This is no small feat for a relatively small country, and it’s also a sign that Peruvian cuisine is on the rise. The National Restaurant Association named this kind of food one of 2018’s top 20 hot trends.


Peruvian food
A dish from the Llama Inn, a Peruvian restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. Lou Stejskal/Flickr

Ancient grains

Ancient grains are making a comeback — specifically as ingredients in cereals, snacks, noodles, breads, and other bakery products. According to Innova Market Insights, 2.5% of new products launched during the period of June 2016 to June 2017 featured ancient grains, a significant jump from the 0.05% of products that featured the grains in 2007.

Examples of ancient grains include spelt, amaranth, kamut, and lupin.


Ancient grains
A sourdough loaf made with spelt.  niki georgiev/Flickr


Filipino food

Once underrepresented in the US, Filipino cuisine is currently having its moment.Jollibee— the chain that’s known as the “McDonald’s of the Philippines — is expanding, and ube — a purple yam that’s native to the Philippines — was everywhere this past year. From chicken and waffles to numerous baked goods, there’s almost no food the root vegetable’s purple color didn’t touch. NYC-based Flip Sigi is another favorite among food Instagrammers, thanks to its tantalizing Filipino-style tacos, burritos, and sandwiches.

Filipino food was also named a top trend for 2018 by the National Restaurant Association.


Filipino food
A burrito from Flip Sigi.  brunchboys/Instagram


Protein-packed grains and seeds

2013 was named the official year of quinoa, but it turns out the protein-rich grain is still popular five years later, along with plenty of other seeds that are packed with protein. Hemp, chia, and flax are just a few additional examples that have become common add-ons in foods like yogurt, oatmeal, and peanut butter.

The National Restaurant Association named protein-rich grains and seeds one of the top food trends of 2018.


Protein-packed grains and seeds
Chia seeds.  Toa Heftiba/Unsplash


Edible flowers

Considering the push for photogenic food, it makes sense that edible flowers are making their way into everyday dishes and drinks. Whole Foods named floral flavors one of the top trends for 2018, saying that petals can make for a “a subtly sweet taste and fresh aromatics.”

Edible flowers are often used as herbs — think lavender lattés, or rose-flavored foods. One chef in Tel Aviv even uses them on his sashimi pizza.


Edible flowers
Sashimi pizza with edible flowers.  INSIDER


Chips that are popped or puffed instead of fried

Potato chips are deliciously addictive, but also undeniably unhealthy. This is likely the reason behind why many brands have turned to snacks that are popped or puffed as a healthier, lighter alternative. And according to Whole Foods, who named puffed and popped snacks one of 2018’s top trends, new technology is behind this shift as well.

“New extrusion methods (ways of processing and combining ingredients), have paved the way for popped cassava chips, puffed pasta bow ties, seaweed fava chips and puffed rice clusters.”


Chips that are popped or puffed instead of fried
Popchips.  popchips/Instagram


Middle Eastern spices and dishes

According to Whole Foods’ 2018 trend report, Americans will be indulging in authentic Middle Eastern cuisine in the coming year.

“Things like hummus, pita, and falafel were tasty entry points, but now consumers are ready to explore the deep traditions, regional nuances, and classic ingredients of Middle Eastern cultures, with Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian, and Lebanese influences rising to the top,” Whole Foods said. Spices and ingredients such as harissa, cardamom, za’atar, pomegranate, eggplant, parsley, and tahini will become more common on restaurant menus across the country.


Middle Eastern spices and dishes
Za’atar and other spices.  LucyCaldicott/Flickr

Homemade condiments

Store-bought condiments can be full of not-so-good-for-you ingredients like sodium or sugar. In fact, just one tablespoon of ketchup has as much sugar as a typical chocolate chip cookie. So it’s no surprise that next year, people will be taking the time to make their own condiments. The National Restaurant named house-made condiments thesecond hottest trend for 2018.


Homemade condiments
Mustard.  Ryan Snyder/Flickr



Written By: Sarah Schmalbruch

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Discover Good Food’s hottest trends in food and drink for 2018, including meat-free burgers, alcohol-free spirits and more innovative ways to eat healthy.

Over the last year, we’ve seen a wide range of food and drink trends reflecting changing attitudes towards health, community and the environment. We’ve seen a brunch boom, buddha bowls aplenty and of course, the avocado craze.

It seems 2018 is set to be a year of even more adventurous veggie and vegan cuisine while the rise of hyper-local cooking and exciting advances in technology take a firmer hold on British food culture. Wondering what to expect from the future of food and drink? Check out the BBC Good Food team’s predictions for the coming year.

1. Gut-friendly food

With fermenting, pickling and preserving reaching the mainstream, our panel agree that gut health is set to be a big food trend for 2018. This includes probiotics like kimchi, miso and kefir and prebiotics such as onions, garlic and other alliums.


Pickles in jar

2. Booze-free beverages

Good Food columnist Tony Naylor cites non-alcoholic drinks as a growth area in the food and drink industry, and our supermarket forecasters say that health-conscious millennials are drinking booze less and less. Premium tonic waters with interesting flavours, non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ and botanical mixes are flooding in to fill a gap in the market.


Rhubarb cordial


3. Hawaiian food

Poke bowls are everyday food in Hawaii – essentially sushi without the fussy presentation. Still relatively hard to find, even in London, next year they will likely cross over into the mainstream. These bowls are endlessly customisable and can be economical, too.


Poke bowl

4. Timut pepper

We love exploring new seasonings and we’re not afraid of hot spices. Timut pepper, from Nepal, is spiky, zesty – surprisingly grapefruity – and leaves a tingly residual heat on the palate. It’s also been tipped by and supermarket giant Asda as being the next big condiment for 2018.


5 ways with gin and tonic

5. Specialised tea

Good news for fans of a cuppa – tea is even more popular than before. Sales of herbal and green tea, in particular, continue to rise for consumption at home, so it’s likely that the small number of tea ‘bars’ that we’ve seen popping up may also start to proliferate on the high street. People are beginning to think of tea with the same reverence as coffee for its many varieties.


Jasmine & ginger festive tea

6. Hyper-local food

In the UK and many other countries now, there is a growing trend for dishes created with ingredients sourced within walking distance. One of the figureheads for this movement is Danish chef René Redzepi who is doing just that at his two-Michelin-starred Copenhagen restaurant Noma. Tony Naylor observes that at home, too, there are more and more “restaurants are applying a Redzepi-like sense of localism to their ingredients”.


Foraging for apples


7. Heme

Not available to buy yet, heme – pronounced ‘heem’ (from the Greek word for ‘blood’) – is at the cutting edge of food science, and is a possible stepping stone to more environmentally sustainable meat alternatives. Tech-food start-up Impossible Foods are already using it to bring a meaty quality to their plant-based burger including, yes, the bloodiness of meat cooked rare.


Impossible burger

8. Plant-based protein

With more and more chefs embracing ingredients such as tofu, tempeh and quinoa, veganism is on the rise. Food blogger Angry Chef  talks about redefined Indian cuisine (rich with pulses) as a growing trend, with restaurants taking dishes back to their plant-based roots with originality and mass appeal. There’ll be more meat-free days in 2018.


Avocado burrito bowl


9. Everyday food tech

Having recently purchased Whole Foods, Amazon is now competing with a clutch of smaller outfits who specialise in delivering recipe kits to home chefs, which means an emerging trend is set to become even bigger. Tying in with this, the development of smart fridges will take the hassle out of ordering ingredients by snapping ‘shelfies’ of your food to keep you well-stocked. We can also look forward to more voice-operated gadgets such as Google Home and Alexa to record and order your shopping lists.


Food tech

10. South American cuisines

Mexican, Peruvian and Brazilian food along with Japanese-Mexican fusion could well be big this year. ‘Arepas’ [pronounced ‘uh-rey-puhs’, which are corn pizzas-cum-muffins], chicha [‘chee-chuh’, a fermented maize drink] and chulpe corn [‘chool-puh’, used to make snacks] will be prevalent,’ says Georgina Lunn, Product Development Manager at Sainsbury’s. Quinoa and chia seeds have peaked, but purple potatoes, white and purple corn, black quinoa and kiwicha seeds are on the up.


Purple potatoes on yellow wooden board

11. Foreign farming in Britain

Luke Farrell from Dorset’s Ryewater Nursery, who has encyclopedic knowledge of Malaysian and Sichuan cuisines, is harvesting rare Asian plant varieties like som saa and pandan (Nigella reckons the latter is the avocado of 2018). Meanwhile, there’s sustainably farmed British tilapia in east London (, with the waste produced used as fertiliser to grow veg. British farmers are even producing txuleton (pronounced chuleton), the Galician old ox or dairy beef that foodies go wild for.


Pandan in serving dish with shaved coconut


12. The fourth meal

Brunch, brinner, lunch… are you confused too? Now, we have a fourth meal to contend with. ‘We’ve been watching the fourth meal for months,’ says Jonathan Moore, Waitrose’s executive chef. ‘We’re eating differently. We have breakfast for dinner, dinner for lunch – everything is less structured. The fourth is the final meal, which is normally a treat.’ So, four meals a day – if you have the appetite for it!


Two bowls with noodles, broth and meal on bamboo mat with chopsticks

13. Nootropics

The health-conscious will be consuming nootropics – that’s brain food, to you and me – according to trends prediction agency Pearlfisher. Gut health is still a major focus but cognition may now start to take over. Look out for turmeric, salmon, eggs, dandelion greens and jícama (Mexican yam).


Bowl of turmeric powder

14. Craft butter

Grant Harrington, of Butter Culture, is elevating the humble yellow block. After a year of research into dairy fermentation, when he built a cabin on a farm in Oxfordshire, the ex-Fäviken chef started supplying butter locally. Now, his rich, buttercup-hued fat, heaped with naturally occurring diacetyl acid – the stuff that makes butter buttery – is omnipresent. Diners are eulogising it in restaurants from Sat Bains in Nottingham to London’s Bibendum.


Butter block on knife

15. West African cuisine

Zoe Adjonyoh’s recent cookbook, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, about growing up eating grilled tilapia and gingery Scotch bonnet stew, has been influential. Thanks to her, ‘there is scope to show customers how to use different spices,’ says M&S’s Head of Food Product Direction and Innovation, Cathy Chapman. Additionally, Yeo Valley is releasing a limited-edition baobab and vanilla yogurt.


Spicy rice in serving dish with spoon on board with peppers



Written By: BBC Good Food team