5 top food trends for 2018

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5 top food trends for 2018

By Gina Acosta - 12/12/2017

Leading meal kit provider Sun Basket has a few ideas about where food trends are going in 2018.

The company released five category predictions for 2018 that spotlight growing consumer trends for healthy cooking and eating. 

Sun Basket's team has identified emerging specialty ingredients, nutritional interests and more, all of which are expected to go mainstream in 2018.

  1. The Year of Intuitive Clean Eating - New food fads and diets crop up all the time. With so many conflicting paths to well-being, younger consumers are less focused on "being on a diet" and more in search of foods that make them feel energized, improve their digestion, and reduce inflammation. For some, it's a move toward more plant-focused eating, either vegan or vegetarian, sometimes with occasional animal-based proteins. Pescatarians, flexitarians, reducitarians, and "chegans" (vegans who cheat) are indicators of this trend. No matter which path they take, consumers are making the commitment to cleaner, more mindful eating.
  2. Mediterranean on the Rise - Clinical studies have long shown that the cuisines of Greece, Southern Italy, and Spain are among the world's healthiest, and consumers are rediscovering the robust flavors of these regions. "It's the best of both worlds," Sun Basket Registered Dietitian Kaley Todd says. "The flavors are amazing, and the health benefits are measurable. It's one of the best examples of how nutritious food can also be delicious." With its focus on abundant seasonal produce, lean meats and seafood, and liberal use of olive oil, the Mediterranean diet is both easy to adopt and to stick with, and not just because it's delicious. Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet can be healthy for the heart and brain, may help prevent breast cancer, and stave off the negative effects of aging.
  3. Personalized Nutrition Through Food - Today, consumers are looking to make cooking easy, delicious, and personalized for their healthy lifestyle. Brands are moving from selling mass-market products to health-focused, niche offerings that meet their customers' unique dietary and taste needs, resulting in a much more personal relationship between customers and their food. According to Adam Zbar, CEO and Co-Founder of Sun Basket, "We're committed to developing clean, delicious food products that meet our customers' unique dietary needs, delight their taste buds, and are quick and easy to prepare. Currently, over 70 percent of our customers select meals personalized for their diets, including Paleo, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Lean & Clean (weight management) options."
  4. Alternative Proteins and Dairy - As consumer interest in plant-based eating continues to grow, the demand for proteins and dairy products not made from animals is also increasing. Soy products from tofu to tempeh remain popular, and consumers are increasingly turning to legumes, seeds, pseudocereals, whole grains, and nuts for protein. Nuts in particular continue to gain in popularity as a source for alternative dairy products, from milk to cream sauces and even aged cheeses.
  5. Healthy Time-Savers With Big Flavors - Thanks to quick cooking hacks from platforms like Buzzfeed's Tasty, "instant chefs" are more inspired to experiment in the kitchen—as long as there is the time commitment is minimal. Consumers look to tools and techniques like the Instant Pot, sheet-pan meals, and 20-minute recipes to make meals that are healthy, fast, and delicious. "I'm constantly looking for ways to minimize cooking time without compromising flavors," said Sun Basket's Executive Chef and Co-Founder, Justine Kelly. "Today's busy consumer wants the satisfaction of a delicious, home-cooked meal, but struggles to find time to commit to the process. Sun Basket's meal kits are intentionally designed to be quick and easy while delivering exciting flavors in a healthy way for our customers."