2018 is fast approaching, and chefs and restauranteurs are no doubt already starting to think of their menus for the coming year. Predicting what customers will want and staying ahead of the curve are both essential for success. Use PSL to procure quality ingredients at the best prices. Here we have compiled a list of what we think will be on menus next year.

Ten upcoming food trends

  1. Diners are becoming more conscious of their gut health, so gut-friendly foods are likely to feature on menus. Fermented or pickled foods will increase in popularity, as will probiotics such as kefir, miso and kimchi, and prebiotics such as garlic and onions.
  1. Poke bowls have not become common yet, but they will soon be everywhere. This Hawaiian dish, which is like sushi in a bowl, is economical, versatile and convenient.
  1. New seasonings can give a whole new taste to dishes. Try timut pepper, a zesty condiment that adds a residual heat to both foods and drinks.
  1. Take buying local to a whole new level by serving foods sourced within walking distance. Consumers are becoming more ethical in their choices and like to know the provenance of everything that they eat. 
  1. Look for alternatives to meat-based proteins, as vegetarianism and veganism will still be popular. Quinoa, tempeh and tofu are all good sources that lend themselves to a wide variety of dishes, but a new meat-free protein called heme, which can add a meaty quality to dishes, may soon be available.
  1. Diners always like to find something new, so be inventive with hybrid dishes by combing two or more types of cuisine.
  1. Embrace flower power with floral treats. As well as looking attractive, floral additions to 2018’s dishes should enhance the flavour of both foods and drinks. Elderflower, lavender and orchid are just some of the flowers that you can add to beverages, salads and desserts. 
  1. Popcorn has long been an enjoyable snack, but expect 2018 to take puffed snacks up a notch. Puffed rice clusters, pasta, seaweed fava chips and popped cassava chips are some of the options to try. 
  1. Ethical eating is a trend that will continue, with free-range, fair-trade and GMO-free produce having prominent labels. Root-to-stem cooking is likely to be popular, with chefs finding inventive and tasty ways to use every part of their produce.
  1. Increasingly, technology will become a part of the dining experience. It can provide diners with details of ingredients or allow them to place their orders. You can even incorporate technology into cooking itself with 3D printers available to create endless possibilities of food shapes.

Dining for all

As in 2017, it will be important next year to ensure that there is food on the menu that caters to different diets, such as lactose-free or gluten-free. You should also be aware of the risks of allergies. “What’s in My Dish?” is a service offered by PSL to help with the new allergy-compliant laws, allowing you to offer a good dining experience for everyone. This is something that will never go out of fashion!