Here we are, a month or so into 2018, and I am just now making sense of the mountain of messages I’ve received regarding projected food trends in the new year. Typically, by the second week in December my inbox starts to overflow with all manner of “Top 10” lists attempting to define the previous 12 months and the year to come.

For instance, what beverage category will offer the most opportunity in 2018? Could it be those related to sports nutrition? According to Persistence Market Research, the global market for sports nutrition ingredients will reach $7 billion by 2025. Perhaps 2018 will be the year companies step onto the sports nutrition escalator and ride it to unprecedented levels of success. 

Or perhaps National Grocers has it right with its assumption that collagen and collagen supplements are positioned to seep into an array of new products across retail shelves. The superfood ingredients reportedly provide a menu of health benefits including joint health, inflammation management and sound sleep.

With so many year reviews and projections in circulation, I’d like to take a moment to provide you, our dedicated readers, with a curated service in the form of “top seven trends to watch.” I’ve examined dozens of assertions and projections and calculations, all in name of reducing it all to this succinct rundown of what’s taking shape in the food and beverage industry.


Botanicals, such as epigallocatechin from green tea for boosting brain function, are gaining acceptance. Look for formulas containing ashwaganda, lions mane, reishi, gotu kola, turmeric and holy basil in order to capitalize on the latest research.


In 2018, the focus will shift from probiotics to prebiotics. Prebiotic fiber powders containing ingredients like Jerusalem artichoke, inulin, acacia, and chicory root are set to impact a variety of categories.


The quality and variety of food delivery options have developed into sophisticated services in the last few years, and consumers have shifted dollars away from grocery purchases, opting for prepared or partially prepared food delivery. New services like Sirved, a menu-based search engine, continue to refine the process and grow the market. 


Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating cannabis compound with therapeutic properties. Infusing this compound into healthy foods is helping consumers fight anxiety, pain, over-eating, and insomnia. Companies are producing healthy food products to meet the needs of those seeking healthy alternatives within traditional CBD-infused snacks.


Cheese is the fastest growing savory snack between meals, according to the NPD Group. New products like Carr Valley Cheese's Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar Cheese Stix and BelGioioso's Provolone Cheese & Genoa Salami Snacking Rolls are two examples of Wisconsin cheese companies embracing current trends.


Fermented foods – like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, some pickles, kimchi and miso – ousted seeds as the No. 1 superfood for 2018, according to a Pollock Communications and Today's Dietitian’s survey. Fermented foods may have powerful health benefits from boosting gut health to blunting inflammation.


Consumers seems to be experiencing a souring of the tongue, according to The Food Channel. Consumers are more inclined toward tastes of vinegar, sour, and fermented, especially when it comes with a healthy backstory. Sour flavors have been making their ways into the mainstream thanks to consumers embracing cultural flavors, processes and ingredients.