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Food Trends 2018

Meatless burgers that sizzle and bleed! Tea wins over coffee! Recipes created from food waste!

These are only a few of the 2018 food trends being forecasted by chefs and restaurant owners.

The BBC says 2018 will be the year we see tea win out over coffee. “Tea drinkers these days are seeking improved mental and physical wellness, turning to green tea for weight loss, tisanes for detox, shots of matcha for energy, and dark rose tea for skin health,” says Jenna McCarthy of Tea Talk.

Indulge in your favorite flavor in one of Hudson Valley’s tea rooms: Hastings Tea Room (White Plains), Florrie Kaye’s Tea Room (Carmel), Kathleen’s Tea Room (Peekskill), Tea Talk (Poughkeepsie), Silver Tips (Tarrytown), Charlottes’s Tea (Warwick) and Harney & Sons (Millerton).

Plant-based Proteins Help to Save the Planet

Beyond Meat has been a pioneer in plant-based protein, making the first-ever vegan burger that not only cooks, smells, and tastes like meat but is also sold in the meat case of the grocery store itself. Actor and activist, Leonardo DiCaprio, just invested in Beyond Meat.

“Livestock production is a major contributor to carbon emissions,” said DiCaprio. “Shifting from animal meat to the plant-based meats developed by Beyond Meat is one of the most powerful measures someone can take to reduce their impact on our climate. The company’s ability to create appealing, healthy meat directly from plants will go a long way in helping everyday consumers take action on climate change.”

Beyond Meat, is just one of a several companies looking to cater to younger consumers who are increasingly adopting vegetarian and vegan diets. Bill Gates, Richard Branson and a handful of venture capital firms led a $17 million Series A round of fundraising for Memphis Meat which produces meat without having to grow an entire animal. It has so far produced beef, chicken and duck from animal cells.

Another Silicon Valley startup, Impossible Foods, has been working on developing a meatless burger that bleeds. The team has developed a plant-based heme, which means blood in Greek. Heme is what makes meat smell, sizzle, bleed, and taste gloriously meaty. Consider it the “magic ingredient” that makes burgers a carnivore’s dream.

The way the world produces meat today is taking an enormous toll on our planet. According to livestock researchers, animal agriculture uses 30% of all land, over 25% of all freshwater on Earth, and creates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all of the world’s cars, trucks, trains, ships, and airplanes combined.

Hyper-Local and Low Waste

Chefs and restaurant owners are hunting for foods grown within walking distance of their restaurants. Getting even closer than local farmers’ markets, some restaurants are opting to grow their own ingredients on-site. The BBC reports that an emphasis on reducing food waste will also grow in 2018. Expect to start seeing dishes made from food waste or menus planned to use all parts of the ingredients. Many of us only buy the perfect looking fruits and vegetables and somehow think that the uglies won’t taste as delicious.

“The world has long shunned cosmetically-challenged foods, but we’re living in a time when there’s a strong movement to change the way we look at our knobby produce. There may be another reason to embrace ugly produce: it can taste better and might be healthier for you, too.

Orchardist Eliza Greenman has found that blemished fruit can taste sweeter, with a higher sugar content of about 2 to 5 percent. And a study in 2010 found that the scars and blemishes that define ugly produce ― which is a sign of their fight for survival ― have more nutrients and antioxidants,” said the Huffington Post.

According to Feeding America, between 25% and 40% of food grown and produced in the United States is never eaten. With 1 in 7 people in the US going to bed hungry, many organizations and restaurants are taking on the challenge of using the uglies. An environmental organization called Feedback fed 5,000 people free meals cooked from produce that otherwise would have been wasted. This event has been replicated around the world in 2017 and predictions say the trend could break through to restaurants in 2018.

Food Pick-up and Delivery Skyrockets

“Consumers are simply eating in their homes more than ever before. Expect to see growing numbers of concepts for redesigning restaurants to accommodate delivery and takeout by revamping order pickup areas and separating drive-thru areas for delivery drivers.

With an increase in working from home taking a bite out of the lunch market in major cities (and more options for to-go style eating from grocery competitors), the drive for take-out and delivery service is likely necessary to maintain profits in 2018,” said Restaurant Business.

Bloomin’ Brands, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s, has opened new delivery-and-take-out only concepts, beginning in Florida. Wendy’s has made a big push into its delivery partnership with Door Dash, with an expected 2,500 locations fully participating by the end of 2018. Olive Garden has reported its delivery orders have risen 70 percent over four years, and Buffalo Wild Wings now reports that take-out and delivery accounts for 19.2 percent of its orders.

Trendy, Trendy, but Is It Delicious?

Last year’s food trend predicted a coconut craze and taco fever. Food trends in 2018 will include more alternatives, new flavors, and an emphasis on environmentally friendly ways of eating.

From sushi croissants to pasta donuts, this era of food experimentation means no end in sight for more extreme fusion creations. From the salmon roll wrapped inside croissant dough (croissushi), to the spaghetti donut made from pasta, eggs, and cheese fried into a donut shape for hand-held ease, we are entering a very interesting food year.

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