The Campbell's Culinary & Baking Institute (CCBI) has released what it has identified as the six biggest and most accessible food trends of 2018.
The trends are based on information gathered from eating at restaurants and food stands, reviewing products available at markets, and speaking with consumers. They were broken into categories ranging from early-stage Discovery to Mainstream.
Stage 1, Discovery: Culinary Heritage
"Authentic" and "ethnic" have been popular trends for years, but CCBI expects "culinary heritage" to be a popular trend next year. It is defined as "highlighting the people who bring culinary traditions to life" and "the personal stories that define our food."
Stage 2, Introduction: Feel-Good Treats
The "healthy-ish" trend is expected to grow next year, as consumers look for treats that combine nutrients with indulgences. Foods in this category include fortified ice creams, vegetable desserts, mood-enhancing ingredients, protein-packed chips, and fresh produce snacks.
Stage 3, Adoption: Meat Matters
Meatless or mostly meatless diets are popular with some consumers, but meat is still a staple of most Americans' diets. CCBI expects meats such as unique butcher cuts, antiobiotic-free meat and exotic game to be popular elements of meat-based diets.
Stage 3, Adoption: Botanical Beats
New flavor trends and seasonings are expected to be popular with consumers. Some of the most popular herbs and spices livening up food and drinks are expected to be ginger, honey, lavender, elderflower and cardamom.
Stage 4, Mainstream: Alternatives Rule
Whether it's cricket flour, ancient grains or burgers made in a lab, CCBI expects consumers to continue to search out alternatives to traditional staples. CCBI expects this to be a major trend not only next year, but for the foreseeable future.
Stage 4, Mainstream: Limited Edition Innovation
Consumers aren't just content with the usual flavor and food options when making purchasing decisions. CCBI expects twists on traditional flavors, seasonal themes and retro re-releases to be popular items in this area.