Doughnuts with nontraditional fillings, globally inspired kids’ meals and Peruvian cuisine are just some of the hot trends catching fire in 2018. We asked 700 professional chefs to tell us which foods would heat up sales. Here are nine to savor:
1. Doughnuts with nontraditional filling
When we think of doughnuts, we tend to conjure up images of glazed treats filled with vanilla cream. But in 2018, more creative options abound. How does a cheesecake-stuffed doughnut, topped with raspberry jam, sound? Yep, that’s what we’re talking about.
2. Ethnic-inspired kids’ dishes
Restaurant operators understand that kids today are more sophisticated and adventurous about the food they eat and will try global-inspired dishes when they dine out. Everything from noodle dishes to chicken tikka masala to fish tacos are on the menu.
3. Farm/estate-branded items
These are especially important to consumers who care about a connection to how food is grown and processed. They want to know where their food comes from. And the more sustainable it is, the better. Consumers, especially millennials, are driving the popularity for these quality foods.
4. Heritage-breed meat
Essential to protecting our food supply, heritage-bred animals are generally better adapted to withstand disease. They also don’t need constant doses of antibiotics and are better suited to living on pasture. Plus, they're often raised organically and sustainably, so the taste and quality are better and more healthful.
5. Peruvian cuisine
More than just chicken and rice or ceviche, Peruvian food is making a big culinary impact. What inspires this global trend? Perhaps it’s the colors, simplicity and freshness of the ingredients, combined with a melting pot of flavors culled from a variety of cultures.
6. Thai-rolled ice cream
This new style of ice cream that started in Southeast Asia is making a name for itself here in the United States. It looks like it’s made on a hot grill, but it’s actually cold. Cookies, candy and other ingredients are mixed in. Then it's spread into a thin layer and turned into a roll. The ice cream is served in a cup with fruit or flavored syrup.
7. Uncommon herbs
Herbs like chervil, lovage, lemon balm and papalo add interesting and distinctive flavors to a variety of dishes.
8. Vegetable carb substitutes
As more consumers seek out alternatives to carb-heavy foods, chefs are finding ways to turn vegetables into substitutes for bread, pasta and rice. Cauliflower rice and zucchini or beet-spiralized “spaghettis” are a few that consumers are craving.
9. Veggie-centric/vegetable-forward cuisine
As more consumers follow vegetarian and vegan diets, restaurants are expanding the number of veggie-centric items on their menus. Jicama tacos, anyone?
To see our full list of food trends, order our What’s Hot 2018 Culinary Forecast.
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