You can’t have a holiday season without articles on predicting food trends for the next year popping up everywhere. Kim Severson of the New York Times calls it “as much an American tradition as ordering an eggnog latte.” We at TreeHugger even published our own list.
Now, Whole Foods has entered the fray, publishing its predicted food trends for 2018. While the list is long and contains some surprising elements (lavender lattes, anyone?), there were three predictions that caught my eye because they fit right in on TreeHugger.
1. Transparency 2.0
“More is more when it comes to product labeling. Consumers want to know the real story behind their food, and how that item made its way from the source to the store. GMO transparency is top-of-mind, but shoppers seek out other details, too, such as Fair Trade certification, responsible production and animal welfare standards.”
This should come as no surprise to anyone who cares about what they put into their bodies. Eating a good diet is no longer just about nutrition, it’s also about the story behind its production, and what or whom has been harmed (or not) in the making.
2. High-Tech goes Plant-Forward
“Plant-based diets and dishes continue to dominate the food world, and now the tech industry has a seat at the table, too. By using science to advance recipes and manipulate plant-based ingredients and proteins, these techniques are creating mind-bending alternatives like ‘bleeding’ vegan burgers or sushi-grade ‘not-tuna’ made from tomatoes. These new production techniques are also bringing some new varieties of nut milks and yogurts made from pili nuts, peas, bananas, macadamia nuts and pecans.”
Interestingly, this is exactly what I said a year ago, when I wrote about a number of Israeli food-related tech inventions that improve gardening yields, hydroponics, and vegan meat substitutes. Plant-based protein companies like Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger are reaching broader audiences.
3. Root-to-stem cooking
“Between nose-to-tail butchery and reducing food waste, a few forces are combining to inspire root-to-stem cooking, which makes use of the entire fruit or vegetable, including the stems or leaves that are less commonly eaten. Recipes like pickled watermelon rinds, beet-green pesto or broccoli-stem slaw have introduced consumers to new flavors and textures from old favorites.”
As household food waste becomes a bigger concern for the average consumer, he or she will start seeking ways of using up scraps that may have been overlooked in the past. With celebrity support coming from people like Anthony Bourdain and his new documentary “Wasted!” and Dan Barber’s successful London pop-up restaurant earlier this year, people are talking about this more than ever before.
These are hopeful, forward-looking predictions for 2018 that reflect a more conscientious and ethical food-production system. Let’s hope Whole Foods has got it right.