Packaged Facts predicts 10 emerging food trends for 2018

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Packaged Facts predicts 10 emerging food trends for 2018

By Carolyn Schierhorn - 11/17/2017
Packaged Facts believes figs will continue to gain traction in the United States in 2018.

Packaged Facts has identified 10 food trends “you’ll probably be seeing or start seeing more of” in 2018, as the Rockville, Md.-based market research firm put it. The trends are based on the company’s 2018 Food Forecast Ebook, available soon on

  1. Hawaiian-inspired beverages and food. “The Zombies are back, along with the craft cocktail movement and the relighting of the torch for Tiki bars, with their outré, escapist karma,” Packaged Facts noted in a press release. “Poke has already swept the mainland. There’s also Moco Loco and (you knew this was coming) Spam in sushi.” Consumers should also look for malasadas, Portuguese-origin eggy doughnuts iconic in Hawaii and already popular in California.
  1. Color is the new sugar. Chefs are increasingly “juxtaposing and layering, more than blending, food ingredients and colors, with sushi as hero on one hand and the sensually duo-tone egg on the other,” the market research firm stated. “Earthy, vivid” beets continue to gain traction, including for their color bleed, while purple cauliflower is also increasing its fan base.
  1. Cracked pepper is the new sea salt. “Calling out black or cracked pepper in chips and crackers says you’re more than conventionally serious about [adding] flavor,” Packaged Facts said. “Pepper is also flexing its flavor muscle in artisanal foods, including for dessert.” Pepper has come to the fore partly because of the renaissance of interest in cured meats such as pastrami and pancetta.
  1. French cuisine. “If French cuisine no longer rules the roost like she used to, given our globalized food culture, she remains a very spirited Dowager Queen,” Packaged Facts stated in its press release. “In the wake of macaron mania, a revival in interest in French cuisine has stormed menus high and low.” Among popular French dishes and cooking methods are foie gras, tartare, charcuterie and confit.
  1. Figs. “Apples are great, berries may be better, but fresh figs just have more going on. … Fig brings star power to sweet and savory, and you can make it a double feature with fresh figs plus a balsamic fig vinaigrette or a fig-bacon jam,” Packaged Facts suggested.
  1. Meatballs repurposed. “Where there’s been meat, there have been meatballs — from Italy to Sweden to Japan (chicken-based tsukune), India (lentil idli), and back to the Mediterranean rim (falafel),” Packaged Facts said. Meatballs are being used on rolls and buns as a burger substitute and repurposed as spreads and flavorings for sauces.
  1. Pistachios. “This brightly colored, deeply flavored and protein-packed nut still has legs,” according to Packaged Facts, “suiting up sweet or savory for Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, or Indian or regional-accented California/Southwestern dishes.”
  1. Plant-based meat substitutes. “Veggie and black bean burgers have escalated into restaurant concepts such as Beefsteak (tomato beefsteak, that is) by José Andrés in Washington, and into menu offerings such as the shiitake bacon at Gunshow (Brazilian churrascaria meets Chinese dim sum) in Atlanta,” stated Packaged Facts in its press release.
  1. Sweet potatoes. Combine sweet potatoes with fusion flavorings such as dukkah, miso, paprika, shishito, or Kabocha squash, Packaged Facts recommended. “For a multicultural health halo, pair with blue/purple corn or quinoa, ginger or turmeric,” the market research firm said. “Like beets, sweet potatoes also bring stick-to-your ribs ballast and gorgeous color to vegetarian/vegan plates.”
  1. Vegan and non-GMO. “With packaged food innovation focused on clean label, vegan and non-GMO have become all-star package callouts, raising the ante on organic and all-natural,” Packaged Facts stated.

A division of, Packaged Facts publishes market intelligence on a range of consumer market topics, from demographics and shopper insights to packaged goods.

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