So what delicious delicacies can we expect to tickle our taste buds during 2018…
Back To Black
2017 was all about the unicorns and rainbows, with our food and drinks taking on dreamy hues of pastel colours with glitter and sparkles aplenty. And whilst that isn’t set to go away any time soon, ‘cos well it’s just too damn lovely, 2018 is set to take on a much darker look.
The black food trend has already started to make an appearance, you only have to look on Instagram to see pictures of black ice cream, black lattes and black bread cluttering up your feed, and even Waitrose now sell their own black crusted pizza.
So what’s the special ingredient that’s creating this black food?
Charcoal, that’s what.
No, I’m not talking the stuff you bung on the BBQ, nor am I telling you to go ahead and leave the bread in the toaster for 5 minutes longer than you usually would. No, the charcoal used to dye our food has been created by exposing coconut shells to extremely high temperatures until they become carbonized, that’s ‘burnt’ to you and me. The ash is then processed with hot air, and it is this activation process that helps puff it up to create a micro porous surface.
Activated charcoal has long been used as a means of treating patients who have been poisoned, as it has incredible absorption properties which allows it to draw out the poison before it’s absorbed by the stomach. And it’s precisely this absorption factor that’s causing some food scientists to show concern over whether this latest food trend is something we should avoid.
Incorporating activated charcoal into our diet could in theory be a good thing, certainly in terms of detox, as it can help remove toxins from the body. However, it doesn’t pick and choose what it flushes out, which means any healthy nutrients are likely to get flushed out too and in extreme cases, if you were consuming activated charcoal every day, there is the risk of malnutrition and dehydration. But seriously don’t let that put you off, because as with most things in life a little bit of what you fancy isn’t going to do you any harm, and in small doses activated charcoal is completely harmless.
In terms of flavor, activated charcoal isn’t exactly going to ignite your taste buds. On it’s own it has an as to be expected smoky taste, but when mixed with other foods it is pretty much tasteless, which is another reason for its appeal among foodies.
Our opinion? Well, we can’t deny it makes a good Insta pic, but we reckon this trend will burn out by the end of 2018.
Veganism has literally taken the food world by storm with the number of vegans in the UK having risen by 350% in the past decade. This plant based movement is one that has been predominantly driven by the young, with roughly half of all vegans falling between the ages of 15 to 34.
Obviously we’re not about to tell you that veganism is going to be a trend for 2018, it’s already way up there in the foodie stakes, but what we can tell you is that vegan fast food is about to get massive. And in a way it’s about time, because let’s be honest just because you don’t want to eat animal products doesn’t necessarily mean that all you do want to eat is mung beans and lettuce leaves.
The market for vegan junk food has literally gone crazy, with such offerings as burgers, pizzas, ‘chicken-less’ fried chicken to name but a few; the ethos is eating clean but dirty food. It’s certainly not healthy, although arguably healthier than the meat equivalent and of course it’s no wonder it has found its place in the teenage and young adult market.
The biggest influence, aside from Instagram of course, has without doubt come from the US, the home of over sized junk food, and we predict that there are even bigger things to come from the vegan fast food trend in 2018.
Give Me a Pea Please
The humble green pea, oh how we despised you as children, yet peas are set to make a huge comeback in 2018…just perhaps not as we have previously known them.
In terms of nutrition, peas are one of the best pulses you can eat, yes these little green balls are packed with protein, fibre, minerals, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, and they’re incredibly versatile too.
The rise in plant based diets has seen the demand for plant protein, namely protein powder, absolutely rocket, and this has seen all manner of plant proteins becoming available. Pea protein is one of the newest of these and one of the huge benefits of pea protein over other powders is that it has a neutral flavor, making it the perfect addition to soups, stews, bakes and shakes.
Pea protein contains 8 of the amino acids that our bodies cannot naturally produce, which is pretty good going and the remaining elusive amino acid can either be gained through consumption of meat products or rice protein. And not only that, but pea protein is also incredibly filling meaning you don’t need to use much of it to have your appetite well and truly satiated.
So the Keto diet has been on our radar for a while, but it is only now that it’s beginning to hit the mainstream. Keto has fast become one of the most-searched for food and diet trends, with more and more Keto based cookbooks, podcasts and Instagram accounts starting to emerge.
But what exactly is it?
In very basic terms it is essentially a low carb diet in which the main goal is to train the body to use fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. When carbs are restricted our bodies enter a metabolic state known as ketosis, this is where the body produces ketones when fat is broken down in the liver. Ketones are not necessarily a good thing however, as too many of them can lead to a form of diabetes. If you are following this diet it is essential that you drink plenty of water to help flush these ketones from the body.
There are obviously benefits in following a low carb diet such as Keto though, especially if your main purpose is to lose weight and reduce your body fat ratio, and there are plenty of resources out there for you to find out more. We would always recommend that you speak to your GP before starting with any new diet. Just because it reportedly worked for Kim Kardashian does not mean it’s the right thing for you!
Make Room for Mushrooms
Mushrooms, you either like them of loathe them, but this earthy fungus has burst its way into the realms of super foods and is looking set to rock our 2018.
Traditional used in medicinal remedies, mushrooms are renowned for their ability to balance blood sugar levels and help with inflammation, but new research has shown that mushrooms are also great at helping to remove toxins from the body, something which is particularly relevant in our modern toxic heavy environment.
New processes have also been developed which make it a lot easier to extract the good parts of the mushroom and then turn it into substances such as powder so that it can be easily consumed in an effective and versatile way. Instead of turmeric and beetroot lattes you can expect to see chaga mushroom latte on health cafe menus, or perhaps even super food mushroom hot chocolate.
You can already dine in the dark, but now neuro-gastronomy and multi sensory dining is going next level. Having been told we should be eating more mindfully, we can see how sensory deprivation in the form of a silent dark room like that of Dans Le Noir in London, would encourage this, but how does it work if your senses are hit from all angles?
Apparently how we feel and how our senses are stimulated can greatly affect the flavor of our food, or at least our perception of flavor anyway. Through the use of lights, sounds and scents our meals take on a performance in their own right and offer the diner the ultimate taste sensation. It is even thought that we are not so far away from virtual taste, whereby electrodes or LED lights are used to stimulate flavor sensations – all the taste with none of the calories!
Food waste continues to be a concern with figures revealing that the UK throws away 13 billion pounds worth of food away every year. As a consequence, leftover meals using foods that would usually be thrown away are increasing in popularity. It’s that ‘waste not want not mentality’ that will serve to not only help the environment, but also lower your household food budget. Things like saving leftovers from roast dinners to make quick midweek suppers, or turning fruit that looks past its best into smoothies and juices are all very easy things for the home cook to incorporate into their weekly menu. And now restaurants and supermarkets are starting to realize that this is something that matters to consumers. We’ve already seen imperfect fruit and veg making their way onto our shelves, foods that would usually be thrown away for being too ugly. But the fact remains that they taste just as good as their perfect counterparts and are ideal for making hearty soups, stews and family meals.
Top tips for reducing food waste include:
- Freezing slices of bread that you know won’t be eaten before the best before date – they can be popped straight from the freezer into the toaster when needed.
- Use leftover vegetable peelings or meat scraps, carcasses etc to make stock – this can also be frozen in portions, ready to be used when you need it.
- Know what’s in your cupboards and rotate regularly – we’re all guilty of falling for a BOG-OFF offer, but that means our cupboards can get a bit choker!
Nootropics are any substances that help to improve memory and cognitive function. In the past these have generally been in the form of supplements, or ‘smart drugs’, however 2018 sees the emergence of nootropics in our foods. Now, we all know that foods such as nuts and oily fish have nutrients that help boost these particular functions, nootropics takes it one step further by using these foods and supercharging them with added vitamins and minerals to get our brains firing on all cylinders. Optimum nutrition is again something that comes over from the States, with products such as chewable coffee sweets to enhance focus and clarity and nootropic coffee that claims to enable drinkers to gain optimum cognitive performance. You can see the trend right…caffeine. Now whilst the buzzy focusing effects of caffeine are nothing new, there are obviously drawbacks to this, specifically when it comes to bedtime.
2018 will take this concept and make it smarter, with products expected to focus on brain health without being detrimental to the rest of our health and well-being.
Ah the avocado, oh how your star status has risen beyond all other foods over the last few years. So much so that you now have your own emoji, your own humorous slogans and you are the very essence of our brunch life. But what now? Surely no food can stay top of its game forever, what can you do to wow us now oh avocado?
Avocado oil that’s what. (Ha take that coconut oil!)
Avocado oil has a very mild flavor (not unlike an avocado unsurprisingly) and is also heat stable making it perfect for cooking. Most importantly though, all the nutritional goodness packed away in the avocado – we’re talking omega 9, Vitamin E, monounsaturated fats and oodles of antioxidants – is retained when the oil is extracted. It’s great news for the, lets face it, small minority of people who don’t like the taste and texture of avocado (who even are you!?!) as it means they can still get all of the nutritional benefits without the gag factor.
And with avocado oil comes other related products such as avocado oil mayonnaise, which lends itself to the popular Keto, Paleo and plant based diets.
So there you have it, predictions for the up and coming food trends we expect to see bursting their way into our meals, menus and midriffs during 2018.