What trends can we expect to see through 2018?


Along with fashion and technology, food and drink trends are constantly changing. But what can we expect to see a lot of on our shelves in 2018? Suttons, online gardening retailers of vegetable seeds, investigates:

Improved alcohol

Many people across the nation enjoy an alcoholic drink now and then, 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 is where the new trend of 2018 comes in — healthier alcohol. 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.

The idea of low-calorie alcohol isn’t entirely new, as we’ve had ‘healthy’ beer on our shelves for a while — but it is becoming more widespread. 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.

We could see healthier ingredients being added to our cocktails too. 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?

The rise of fungi

Studies over the past few years have been demonstrating the potential benefits of consuming more mushrooms. 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.

The mushroom industry is definitely on the rise. 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.

It’s likely that we’ll see more mushrooms on the labels of our hair and beauty items too. 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.

Expect more ‘flexitarians’

It’s been popular in recent years for people to give up eating meat. 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.

It’s often presumed that a vegan diet is super healthy. However, this is predicted to change — with so many people transforming to a ‘flexitarian’ diet, there is a new market for vegan fast food.

We can expect to see more plant-based ‘meat’ in our diets this year. For example, there is an 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.

New forms of protein

Smoothies have been popular for many years, but we can expect to see some new ingredients added in 2018. 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.”

Food experts are expecting plant-based proteins to be purchased more frequently this year. One of the newest forms of this is pea protein, which has many benefits including its neutral taste — making it favourable for regular consumption.

Growing it yourself

Many consumers are afraid of growing food and drink prices in the midst of Brexit negotiations. As a result, it’s likely that we’ll be embracing homegrown foods this year. 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’ve already seen some incidents of rising food prices. For example, 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.