2018 Food Trends for Families

In 2018, food trends include upcycling your food, incorporating more Middle Eastern cuisine into your diet and more. Get the scoop on five trends here.

Good news if your kids turned their noses up at kale – or if they didn’t go for rice bowls (those are so three years ago, anyway!). This year they’ll be a whole new crop of trendy ingredients and foods working their way into your grocery aisles and your local restaurant.

Each year the Specialty Food Association’s (SFA) Trendspotter Panel reveals their picks for the latest food crazes for the coming year. Founded in 1952, and with members across the food industry totaling more than 3,500 businesses, you might say the SFA keeps tabs on America’s taste buds.

What do they predict you and your family will be eating this year? Here are five foods and trends that made the list your family may want to try.

Upcycling your food

You may already be practicing this trend at home. Do you ever toss fruit that’s almost past the point of freshness into a smoothie (I did this morning)? Or, do you puree tomatoes that are getting a little mushy into your pasta sauce? If so, you’re already on trend! Now, upcycling is going large scale. Food companies are looking for ways to reduce food waste by offering consumers juice made from slightly bruised or otherwise unsellable fruit, chips crafted using fruit pulp and other innovative products.

Try the trend: You can make these 2-ingredient DIY fruit leathers at home with a recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod using leftover fruit you have on hand.

Cuisine from the Philippines

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Other Asian cuisine has already made a splash in the states – now it’s time for Filipino food to have its day. Part of its rising popularity may be that Filipino food is already a fusion of various influences, like those from Spain, India, China and even the United States. For example, a popular appetizer, known as Lumpia, is reminiscent of your standard variety spring roll with chopped meat and vegetables rolled inside. But the dipping sauce has a unique sweet-sour blend of vinegar, spices, sugar and banana (yes, bananas). Pork and rice are featured in many traditional Filipino dishes.

Try the trend. There’s several different ways to make Halo Halo, like these three from Serious Eats. Halo Halo is a Filipino desert that’s a sweetness overload, with fruit, shaved ice and other ingredients, usually eaten sundae style. Some of the authentic ingredients can be tough to come by, without a well-stocked Asian grocery store.

Alternative sweeteners

Remember when no one knew what agave was? And now you can buy it in bulk at Costco? Like agave, with its low-glycemic index (meaning it doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike), more alternative sweeteners are making their way to the market. The SFA reports, “syrups made from dates, sorghum, and even yacon and sun root will join monk fruit on the market as emerging options for sweet.” (And yes, I had to look up yacon, too, apparently, this South American plant’s root can be used to create a sweetener.)

Try the trend. You can find alternative sweeteners for sale at specialty food stores, like Trader Joe’s and online at Amazon. Monk fruit, anyone?

More Middle Eastern cuisine

Americans are now more than familiar with Middle Eastern foods like hummus, falafel, pita bread and even shawarma (need evidence? Watch the final scenes of The Avengers, when Iron Man requests … you guessed it … shawarma after the big battle scene. Thanks, Tony Stark!) This year, more nuanced Middle Eastern tastes are expected to start making appearances – so Americans will get to know more specific cuisines like those from Israel, Lebanon and others.

Try the trend. Detroiters already have a leg up on this trend thanks to the extensive Middle Eastern cuisine choices available in our area. A good place to start is the New Yasmeen Bakery in Dearborn, which includes a variety of tantalizing main dishes, like shawarma, for meals, along with an extensive dessert menu.

From-scratch bread

It was bound to happen – bread is making a comeback. For the last few years, bread has been losing its place on America’s tables, blamed for everything from causing weight gain, courtesy of carbs, to causing tummy trouble (or worse) from gluten. This year, bread may be rising back to popularity, with an emphasis on quality ingredients, like locally milled flours, and traditional bread-making techniques.

Try the trend. Super Healthy Kids offers this easy, no-knead artisan bread recipe that’s simple to make with your kids.

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