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100 hottest food trends in 2018

  • 100 hottest food trends in 2018
    1/ zarzamora // Shutterstock

    100 hottest food trends in 2018

    The average American spends over $7,000 on food each year. This bloated number—it's about 10% of the average household's pre-tax income—implies that people like to eat, and value dining experiences highly. But what exactly is everyone spending all that money on?

    The National Restaurant Association conducts an annual poll, surveying 700 professional chefs, all members of the American Culinary Federation, to uncover what the hottest food trends will be for the upcoming year. From appetizers to main courses to desserts, the list is gathered from answers received from October and November 2017, and is a good indicator of the types of food that will make up the majority of dining budgets.

    This culinary forecast includes 161 items, which are rated as either "hot trends," "yesterday's news," or "perennial favorites." We've included the top 100 items and ranked them by the percentage of chefs who said they'd be "hot trends."

    Read on to find out where barbeque stands, what chefs think of algae, and what fruits and veggies are must haves. Can you guess the two foods that tied as the #1 hottest food trends in 2018?

    ALSO: Super secret menu items from your favorite food places

  • #100. Egg-white omelettes and sandwiches
    2/ Renee Comet // Wikimedia Commons

    #100. Egg-white omelettes and sandwiches

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 24%

    Traditionally, omelets and egg sandwiches are made with the whole egg. There's just something about a salty yolk that elevates an egg-based dish. But with people becoming more cautious about their cholesterol intake, yolks are sometimes cast aside for just the healthier egg whites. Only 24% of American Culinary Federation members thought that egg whites would stay popular in 2018, landing this dish in “yesterday's news.”

  • #99. Chickpeas
    3/ Tiia Monto // Wikimedia Commons

    #99. Chickpeas

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 24%

    Most commonly found in Middle Eastern dishes like mnazaleh and falafel, chickpeas are a great source of protein. Those who follow a plant-based diet also use chickpeas in place of meat when following carnivorous recipes. But with only 24% of ACF members voting chickpeas as a “hot trend" in 2018, it seems that these legumes are on their way out.

  • #97. Flavored popcorn (tie)
    4/ Evan Amos // Wikimedia Commons

    #97. Flavored popcorn (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 25%

    Flavored popcorn was really popular in the mid-2000s, with places like Garrett's, a popular popcorn chain in Chicago, seeing lines form around the block for their cheesy and caramel-covered offerings. Today, it's rare to see popcorn on a menu anywhere other than the movie theater.

  • #97. Flatbread pizza (tie)
    5/ Missvain // Wikimedia Commons

    #97. Flatbread pizza (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 25%

    Another early 2000s favorite, flatbread pizza definitely had it's time in the spotlight. At one point, it was seemingly impossible to go to any restaurant and not find some variation of flatbread pizza on the menu. The meal still remains trendy in niche markets—California Pizza Kitchen has an entire section of their menu devoted to flatbreads—but generally speaking, this food trend is fading fast.

  • #95. Semifreddo (tie)
    6/ Jun Sieta // Wikimedia Commons

    #95. Semifreddo (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 26%

    Semifreddo is a certain class of semi-frozen desserts, which have a fluffy, mousse-like texture, and are made with a mix of cream and custard. Semifreddos can be quite finicky to make and include raw eggs, which makes patrons less inclined to eat them, lest they get salmonella, and chefs less inclined to cook them.

  • #95. Ceviche (tie)
    7/ Maor X // Wikimedia Commons

    #95. Ceviche (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 26%

    Ceviche is a seafood dish that has its origins in Central and South America. Instead of cooking the seafood with heat, bits of fish, lobster, and shrimp are doused in lime juice and eaten cold. It's an age-old recipe that saw a resurgence of popularity in the early 21st century, but seems to be on the decline again.

  • #93. Bone marrow (tie)
    8/ Julian // Flickr

    #93. Bone marrow (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 27%

    Humans have been eating bone marrow for at least 2.6 million years. Marrow can be prepared in a dozen different ways—whether it's used as an ingredient in beef tartar or eaten on its own right off the bone. In 2011, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that bone marrow was the "it" food of the season. Today it's on far fewer menus with adventurous eaters opting for new cuts of meat over the smooth, nutty insides of the bone.

  • #93. Barbecue (tie)
    9/ Biskuit // Wikimedia Commons

    #93. Barbecue (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 27%

    Less than one-third of ACF members predicted that barbecue would be a hot food trend for 2018. While barbecue seems like a perennial favorite, a rise in flexitarianism—a term coined in the early 2000s that refers to those who choose to reduce their meat intake without cutting it entirely—might forecast that fewer consumers will pick slow-cooked meats when they dine out.

  • #92. Brussels sprouts
    10/ MortenCopenhagen // Wikimedia Commons

    #92. Brussels sprouts

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 28%

    The Netherlands exports 40.9% of the world's brussels sprouts. So in 2015 and 2016, when brussels sprouts experienced a surge in popularity, the small European country drew in a huge profit. These days, the vegetable shows up on far fewer menus, in part due to a gene that 50% of the world's population carries that makes the leafy green taste bitter and undesirable.

  • #87. Octopus (tie)
    11/ Lou Stejskal // Flickr

    #87. Octopus (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 29%

    Octopus is an incredibly popular dish in the Mediterranean region, where it's often boiled, grilled, or baked and served whole. Uncooked, octopus has an incredibly tough texture and precise measures must be taken in order to create a tender, juicy entree. The complicated, multi-step cooking process, along with the fact that octopus goes bad quickly and many Americans are squeamish when it comes to eating the sea creature, has many chefs pulling this one from their 2018 menus.

  • #87. Juice/milk in kids' meals (tie)
    12/ Pixabay

    #87. Juice/milk in kids' meals (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 29%

    Less than 30% of ACF members predicted that offering juice or milk with kids' meals would be a trend for 2018. This is a surprising prediction, as more and more parents, in an effort to curb children's sugar intake, have demonstrated an increased proclivity to choose these types of drinks over sodas. With entire states like California attempting to remove sugary drink options from kids' meals, you'd imagine that milk and juice would be on the rise, not the decline.

  • #87. Comfort foods (e.g. chicken pot pie, meatloaf, roasted chicken) (tie)
    13/ jeffreyw // Flickr

    #87. Comfort foods (e.g. chicken pot pie, meatloaf, roasted chicken) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 29%

    Perhaps signaling that the average 2018 diner is thought to be a more adventurous eater, only 29% of the chefs polled predicted that comfort foods would hold down their spot on the most-ordered list. One group of chefs and food writers argue the decline in popularity of comfort foods is due to the fact that people often associate guilt with these foods, and are less inclined to choose them on a regular basis.

  • #87. Cauliflower (tie)
    14/ Horia Varlan // Flickr

    #87. Cauliflower (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 29%

    Cauliflower is often viewed by chefs and foodies alike as one of the blandest vegetables out there. Most ACF members voted against this brassica, but the few who believed in it seem to have been proven right. The Washington Post named it one of 2018's biggest food trends. As a viable carb option for those who follow a gluten-free diet, it's definitely risen in popularity over the last 365 days.

  • #87. Breakfast hash (tie)
    15/ Ruth Hartnup // Flickr

    #87. Breakfast hash (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 29%

    One of the first hash recipes made its appearance in Mary Johnson Lincoln's 1884 "Boston Cook Book." Just like modern-day breakfast hash, it called for equal parts potatoes and meat, seasoned with a selection of spices, and optionally topped with a fresh-cracked egg. Hash has a reputation for being a cheap meal, albeit a filling one, which is one explanation for the reason many chefs are predicted to knock this dish off of their menus in 2018.

  • #86. Meals in mason jars
    16/ soulinaearthsuit // Pixabay

    #86. Meals in mason jars

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 30%

    Mason jars had a real moment around 2010. They were everywhere—plastered all over Pinterest as wedding decor, in every hobby shop and container store, and in restaurants all over the country as tableware. While one can make an argument that they're aesthetically pleasing, they're also hard to eat from.

  • #84. Quinoa (tie)
    17/ Marco Verch // Flickr

    #84. Quinoa (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 31%

    Like cauliflower, quinoa is a do-it-all ingredient. Contrary to popular belief, quinoa is not a grain, but rather a seed that originated in South America. Thirty-one percent of ACF members predicted it as a hot trend in 2018, in large part thanks to its versatility, as quinoa can be used in salads, soups, to make bread and pastries, or eaten as a hot breakfast cereal.

  • #84. Bacon (tie)
    18/ Kim Ahlström // Flickr

    #84. Bacon (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 31%

    With 2018 almost over, it seems safe to say that a segment of ACF members hit the nail on the head when they predicted that bacon would be a hot food trend this year. Bacon isn't just for breakfast anymore; instead, it surrounds cream cheese-stuffed jalapenos as an appetizer, tops salads, is coated in chocolate for dessert, and gives your burger that extra boost.

  • #83. Algae
    19/ IMG_WorldWide // Pixabay

    #83. Algae

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 32%

    CNN Business called algae the “food of the future." Unlike almost everything else people eat, algae doesn't require fresh water to flourish, and is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. There are dozens of type of algae (i.e. spirulina) and it can be used in everything from protein bars to smoothies, and can be dried into chips or mixed into salads.

     

  • #81. Gourmet mac and cheese (e.g. truffle, lobster, black and blue) (tie)
    20/ Sam Howzit // Wikimedia Commons

    #81. Gourmet mac and cheese (e.g. truffle, lobster, black and blue) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 33%

    While most comfort foods are “yesterday's news," mac and cheese is the one exception. ACF members predicted that gourmet mac and cheeses—like those paired with lobster, seafood, truffles, or black and blue (mac and cheese with Guinness in the sauce, topped with blue cheese)—would be in demand with restaurant patrons around the country.

  • #81. Bitter melon (tie)
    21/ Balaram Mahalder // Wikimedia Commons

    #81. Bitter melon (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 33%

    Bitter melons look like spiky cucumbers. Long and green, the fruits have a sharp, pungent taste and are most commonly used for cooking in southeast Asia and China. With lots of medicinal benefits and properties, you're most likely to find bitter melon in a stir-fry, soup, or curry, where it's sharp taste is calmed by other flavors.

  • #80. Goat
    22/ Glen MacLarty // Flickr

    #80. Goat

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 34%

    Generally speaking, Americans don't eat a lot of goat meat, making the country an outlier. Sixty percent of red meat eaten around the world is goat. It can be found in everything from Jamaican curries to Moroccan goat stew to Lebanese roasts, a versatility that makes it appealing to chefs here.

  • #79. Mediterranean flavors
    23/ Einladung_zum_Essen // Pixabay

    #79. Mediterranean flavors

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 35%

    The first of many indicators that American diners are bored with the food they're currently being offered, Mediterranean flavors were predicted to be a major trend in 2018. Garlic, olive oil, artichokes, dill, mint, and oregano have been used to spice up stews, top pizzas, and add a different spin to sauces this year.

  • #75. Spiralized vegetables (tie)
    24/ MootikaLLC // Pixabay

    #75. Spiralized vegetables (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 36%

    Another common trend seen in the predictions for 2018's hottest food trends is replacing heavy carbs with lighter, more nutritious options. Zucchini, carrots, and squash can all be spiralized and used in place of pasta in many Italian dishes.

  • #75. Ramen (tie)
    25/ Guilhem Vellut // Flickr

    #75. Ramen (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 36%

    While many associate ramen with Japan, the dish actually originated in China. The history of how it became one of Japan's most eaten and recognizable foods (only behind sushi) is complicated, but most foodie historians agree Japan's first ramen shop opened in 1910. Today, there are over 100 ramen restaurants in Manhattan, and the noodle dish is spreading rapidly across the rest of the country.

  • #75. Overnight oats (tie)
    26/ LaShawn Wiltz // Flickr

    #75. Overnight oats (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 36%

    A favorite for those watching their waistline, overnight oats are a perfect make-ahead breakfast option. Unlike traditional oatmeal, overnight oats soak in the fridge for several hours and are eaten cold. They've been huge sellers at fast-casual chains like Pret A Manger and Jamba Juice.

  • #75. Fried chickpeas (tie)
    27/ Jessica Spengler // Flickr

    #75. Fried chickpeas (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 36%

    While chickpeas may be yesterday's news, frying them is still predicted as a trend for 2018. The crispy beans are perfect for an on-the-go snack or an appetizer, especially if seasoned with trendy Mediterranean flavors.

  • #72. Sliders/mini-burgers in kids' meals (tie)
    28/ jeffrey2 // Wikimedia Commons

    #72. Sliders/mini-burgers in kids' meals (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 37%

    Kids' meals have included child-portioned versions of adult meals for years. With sliders and mini-burgers forecasted as a trend for 2018, parents will be saved the extra labor of cutting their children's burgers into more manageable sizes.

  • #72. Game meats (e.g. venison, game birds, boar, rabbit) (tie)
    29/ mp1746 // Pixabay

    #72. Game meats (e.g. venison, game birds, boar, rabbit) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 37%

    If nothing else, this list of predicted hot food trends says that American diners are becoming more adventurous eaters. Gone are the days where chicken was new and exciting. Today's foodie wants boar, rabbit, and venison on the menu instead.

  • #72. Extra hot peppers (e.g. habanero, ghost pepper, Carolina reaper, Scotch bonnet) (tie)
    30/ laserjim84 // Pixabay

    #72. Extra hot peppers (e.g. habanero, ghost pepper, Carolina reaper, Scotch bonnet) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 37%

    Extra hot peppers, like habanero and ghost peppers, are predicted to be a trend in food for 2018. Already a staple in African and Asian dishes, classic American recipes are about to get kicked up a notch with the addition of these tongue-numbing peppers.

  • #69. Inexpensive/underused meats (e.g. chicken feet, pig ears, tongue, oxtail) (tie)
    31/ stu_spivak // Flickr

    #69. Inexpensive/underused meats (e.g. chicken feet, pig ears, tongue, oxtail) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 38%

    With concern about food waste rising (Americans throw out about 40% of their food), there's been a big push in the food industry to use everything that can be eaten. Thirty-eight percent of ACF members predicted there would be an increase of inexpensive and underused meats, like chicken feet and oxtail, on menus this year.

  • #69. Hand-made pasta (tie)
    32/ Sarah Boyle // Wikimedia Commons

    #69. Hand-made pasta (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 38%

    Handmade pasta, which originated in Italy in the 13th century, will have a moment in 2018. But don't expect traditional flavors—it's likely that this old favorite will be combined with new and original sauces, and veggies for a fresh twist.

  • #69. Black/forbidden rice (tie)
    33/ Luca Nebuloni // Flickr

    #69. Black/forbidden rice (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 38%

    In ancient China, black rice was so rare that it was reserved for the emperor and members of his household alone, earning it the nickname “forbidden rice." Today, it's still valued highly for its superior nutrition. ACF members expect to see a rise in black rice consumption this year, particularly among health-conscious eaters.

  • #64. Traditional ethnic breakfast items (e.g. huevos rancheros, shakshuka, ashta) (tie)
    34/ jeffreyw // Flickr

    #64. Traditional ethnic breakfast items (e.g. huevos rancheros, shakshuka, ashta) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 39%

    More Americans are expected to eat breakfast this year than ever before. This increase in morning eaters could be a driving factor in the heightened popularity of traditional ethnic breakfast items like shakshuka.

  • #64. Pho (tie)
    35/ goomba478 // Pixabay

    #64. Pho (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 39%

    Pho was invented in Vietnam in the 19th century during the peak of French colonialism. The French's affinity for beef left behind a wealth of bones, which locals used to add a deep flavor to their broth. While pho has changed and morphed over the years, it's still Vietnam's chief culinary export, and it's reach remains strong with almost 40% of ACF members predicting it will be popular in 2018.

  • #64. Non-traditional eggs (e.g. duck, quail, emu) (tie)
    36/ RitaE // Pixabay

    #64. Non-traditional eggs (e.g. duck, quail, emu) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 39%

    There is a growing concern among ethical eaters about the treatment of the chickens who lay the eggs the country eats for breakfast. Many are pushing for cage-free to be the new industry standard, allowing the animals more room to breathe and move, while others are simply choosing to eat non-traditional eggs. Duck, quail, and emu eggs are all predicted to become more available in 2018.

  • #64. Micro-vegetables/micro-greens (tie)
    37/ Kari Sullivan // Flickr

    #64. Micro-vegetables/micro-greens (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 39%

    Micro-vegetables and micro-greens may sound as if they've been grown in a lab, but they are actually just smaller versions of standard veggies and greens. Picked in the earliest stages of growth, these veggies are more tender and sweet than their fully grown counterparts. Micro-greens and micro-vegetables have been popular overseas for years (especially in Ireland), but 2018 might be the year they finally make a statement in America.

  • #64. Farro (tie)
    38/ Meal Makeover Moms // Flickr

    #64. Farro (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 39%

    Farro is a grain that can trace its roots back to ancient Rome. It can be cooked similarly to risotto, or used in soups, salads, and mixed with roasted vegetables for a filling side dish. With a whopping 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein per serving, this trendy food would be a great one to add to your regular rotation.

  • #60. Poke (tie)
    39/ openmalware.exe // Wikimedia Commons

    #60. Poke (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 40%

    A traditional Hawaiian dish, poke is diced raw fish combined with various other ingredients—from avocado and greens, to seaweed and pine nuts. It became a trendy lunch option in 2015, and reached its peak in 2016, when the number of poke restaurants around the country doubled. Eater reports that poke may be losing steam, while 40% of ACF members predicted it would stay mainstream this year.

  • #60. Dark greens (e.g. kale, mustard greens, collards) (tie)
    40/ Jessica Spengler // Flickr

    #60. Dark greens (e.g. kale, mustard greens, collards) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 40%

    Africans first brought dark leafy greens to America in the 1600s, and over time they became a staple in Southern diets. Full of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as a handful of minerals most diets don't provide enough of, these healthy plants are predicted to become more popular, replacing standard salad bases like iceberg lettuce.

  • #60. Bone broth (tie)
    41/ jules // Flickr

    #60. Bone broth (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 40%

    Created by boiling bone-in-meat for 12 to 48 hours, bone broth is touted for its health benefits like increased energy, better sleep, and improving digestive and skin conditions. While the jury is still out on whether or not these benefits are real, more consumers are giving it a try.

  • #60. Bibimbap (tie)
    42/ Sous Chef // Wikimedia Commons

    #60. Bibimbap (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 40%

    Bibimbap is a Korean dish that translates to “mixed rice." It's a combination of steamed rice, sauteed vegetables, and a fried egg, and it's been touted as the new comfort food. 

  • #56. Tapas/meze/dim sum (tie)
    43/ ProjectManhattan // Wikimedia Commons

    #56. Tapas/meze/dim sum (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 41%

    Tapas, meze, and dim sum all have different geographical origins and represent three types of cuisines, but they all have one thing in common: small portion size. It would not be surprising to see more restaurants offering a tapas menu and increased wait times at your favorite dim sum places this year as these small, appetizer-sized meals become more trendy.

  • #56. Latin American flavors (tie)
    44/ sstrieu // Flickr

    #56. Latin American flavors (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 41%

    Spanning a multitude of geographical and cultural regions, Latin American flavors are widely varied, but the most common tend to be garlic and onions, cilantro, cumin, saffron, and peppers. Look for big, bold, and rich flavors in your foods this year.

  • #56. Gourmet burgers (tie)
    45/ Jonathan Lin // Wikimedia Commons

    #56. Gourmet burgers (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 41%

    If ordinary burgers just aren't cutting it anymore, then you're sure to enjoy the wide variety of gourmet burgers forecasted to hit the market. Look for those made with alternative meats (venison or buffalo), stuffed with cheese, and topped with everything from potato chips to queso.

  • #56. Ethnic dips and spreads (e.g. hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki, dukkah) (tie)
    46/ Dave Winer // Flickr

    #56. Ethnic dips and spreads (e.g. hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki, dukkah) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 41%

    One of the biggest themes in 2018's food trends is flavors from other cultures and geographical regions. Ethnic dips and spreads, like hummus, tzatziki, and dukkah is yet another example of this.

  • #54. Bite-size/mini-desserts (tie)
    47/ Devasena R // Wikimedia Commons

    #54. Bite-size/mini-desserts (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 42%

    In a 2016 survey, only 13% of diners said that they ordered desserts regularly. One way restaurants seem to be trying to increase that percentage and sway more diners to finish their meals with something sweet? Offering bite-sized or mini desserts. Offering a smaller version of perennial favorites allows customers to feel indulged without ruining their diets.

  • #54. Amuse-bouche/bite-size appetizers (tie)
    48/ Sarah_Ackerman // Wikimedia Commons

    #54. Amuse-bouche/bite-size appetizers (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 42%

    This 2016 survey revealed that only 11% of people ordered appetizers with their meals. In a similar move, restaurants are predicted to start offering bite-sized appetizers or amuse-bouche in order to get their customers to eat more without feeling overstuffed.

  • #52. Jackfruit (tie)
    49/ Shahnoor Habib Munmun // Wikimedia Commons

    #52. Jackfruit (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 43%

    Jackfruit grows in tropical climates like southeast Asia, Brazil and Australia. It's flavorless on its own with a texture similar to chicken or pork, which makes it a perfect meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians.

  • #52. Grass-fed beef (tie)
    50/ Alpha // Flickr

    #52. Grass-fed beef (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 43%

    Nutrient-heavy food options are predicted to be in high demand in the near future. Grass-fed beef tends to have an entirely different nutritional content than traditional grain-fed beef, making it much more desirable.

  • #50. Kids' entree salads (tie)
    51/ congerdesign // Pixabay

    #50. Kids' entree salads (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 44%

    The majority of options usually found on kids' menus are loaded with carbs and fats (mac and cheese, pizza, and chicken tenders). Adding entree salads to kids' menus supplies parents with a wholesome option with more of the nutrients required for healthy development.

  • #50. Fruit/vegetable side items in kids' meals (tie)
    52/ Evan-Amos // Wikimedia Commons

    #50. Fruit/vegetable side items in kids' meals (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 44%

    Salads won't be the only healthier options you'll find on kids' menus this year. Look for fruit and vegetable sides replacing old classics like fries or potato chips.

  • #48. Underutilized/"trash" fish (e.g. mackerel, mullet, redfish, porgy) (tie)
    53/ Jocian // Wikimedia Commons

    #48. Underutilized/"trash" fish (e.g. mackerel, mullet, redfish, porgy) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 45%

    Another way foodies are making an effort to reduce food waste is by upping their consumption of what used to be considered “trash" fish. Options like mackerel and porgy are often far cheaper than salmon or bluefin tuna, and can absorb more flavors.

  • #48. Avocado toast (tie)
    54/ Jami430 // Wikimedia Commons

    #48. Avocado toast (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 45%

    A favorite with Millennials, avocado toast has been having a moment over the past couple of years. ACF members predict that you aren't done seeing perfectly structured pictures of avocado toast on your Instagram feeds just yet—45% predict that it will continue to rise in popularity throughout 2018.

  • #47. Southeast Asian flavors
    55/ warriorgrrl // Wikimedia Commons

    #47. Southeast Asian flavors

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 46%

    Southeast Asian flavors vary slightly from what some traditionally think of as Asian flavors. The tropical regions of Asia tend to rely more heavily on citrus fruits, coconut, papaya, and tons of seafood, making for lighter dishes than those often found in the northern part of the continent.

  • #44. Oven-baked items in kids' meals (e.g. baked chicken fingers, oven-baked fries) (tie)
    56/ Gail // Flickr

    #44. Oven-baked items in kids' meals (e.g. baked chicken fingers, oven-baked fries) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 47%

    Making chicken fingers and french fries usually involves huge amounts of oil and fats. Baking them, rather than frying them, increases the nutritional value without changing the flavor. 

  • #44. Hybrid desserts (e.g. croissant-donut, townie, ice cream cupcake) (tie)
    57/ cumi&ciki // Wikimedia Commons

    #44. Hybrid desserts (e.g. croissant-donut, townie, ice cream cupcake) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 47%

    In 2013, Dominique Ansel released what's generally regarded as the first hybrid dessert: the cronut. It's instant success sparked a huge trend, with restaurants and chefs around the country creating their own inventive dessert options—everything from apple pie cakes to townies (tartlets with a crisp outer shell and a gooey brownie on the inside).

     

  • #44. Free-range pork/poultry (tie)
    58/ Nanciekathini // Wikimedia Commons

    #44. Free-range pork/poultry (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 47%

    Ethical eating has been a major trend over the past several years and will continue to be of importance in 2018. Consumers want to know they're eating meat that was raised humanely—that their pork and poultry got to see the light of day and have room to roam outside of a cage before landing on their plates.

  • #43. Extreme milkshakes
    59/ FabianoAdvertising // Pixabay

    #43. Extreme milkshakes

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 48%

    In 2016, Business Insider released a story about a hot new Manhattan spot that was making outrageous milkshakes. Some of them were topped with slices of cake; others had cotton candy lined rims with s'mores on top. All of them were oversized. The demand for these extreme milkshakes was insane, and other restaurants around the country decided to try their hand at creating their own delicious concoctions.

  • #38. Organic produce (tie)
    60/ Daylen // Wikimedia Commons

    #38. Organic produce (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 49%

    Once upon a time, people looking for organic produce would have to make a special trek to the local health food store in order to make their selections from a handful of limited options. In 2018, organic produce can be purchased at many supermarkets, and according to the Mayo Clinic, that's a good thing for the country's health. Organic produce has a higher nutritional content than traditionally grown produce, and introduces far less toxins into diets.

  • #38. Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat) (tie)
    61/ Jun Sieta // Flickr

    #38. Non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 49%

    Gluten-free diets have exploded in popularity over the past several years. A 2017 study found that 65% of American adults thought that gluten-free foods were healthier than other options, which is a likely explainer for the increase in trendiness of non-wheat pastas.

  • #38. Imperfect/ugly produce (tie)
    62/ F.D. Richards // Flickr

    #38. Imperfect/ugly produce (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 49%

    The final example of a trend based off of food waste concerns, imperfect produce will probably be finding its way onto more plates in 2018. Those introduced in joining the effort can sign up for food subscription boxes such as Imperfect Produce, which delivers ugly produce right to your home. 

  • #38. Grilled items in kids' meals (tie)
    63/ Gavin Mahalo // Flickr

    #38. Grilled items in kids' meals (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 49%

    Healthy habits are taught early. Including more grilled items on kids' menus emphasizes the importance of cooking food in healthier ways. Cutting out oil and retaining more of the nutritional value in food is just as important as daily doses of fruits and veggies.

  • #38. Ethnic cheese (e.g. queso fresco, paneer, labne, halloumi) (tie)
    64/ Hmioannou // Wikimedia Commons

    #38. Ethnic cheese (e.g. queso fresco, paneer, labne, halloumi) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 49%

    If you're getting a little tired of choosing between cheddar, parmesan, and gruyere to accompany your bottle of wine, then you'll be delighted to know that 49% of ACF members predict that ethnic cheese will have a moment in 2018. Next time you're cruising the cheese aisle you might try halloumi or paneer to go with your favorite red or white.

  • #36. Whole grain items in kids' meals (tie)
    65/ Veganbaking.net // Flickr

    #36. Whole grain items in kids' meals (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 50%

    Whole grains provide more fiber, iron, and B vitamins than their bleached counterparts. Switching out white bread for wheat bread on children's sandwiches can go a long way in ensuring they have everything their bodies need to grow.

  • #36. Middle Eastern flavors (tie)
    66/ Michael Stern // Flickr

    #36. Middle Eastern flavors (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 50%

    Classic Middle Eastern cooking uses lots of rich spices like baharat, harissa, and za'atar in combination with sweeter flavors like orange blossom water and pomegranate molasses. Look for spiced lamb, saffron rice, and baklava on menus everywhere in 2018.

  • #33. Superfruit (e.g. acai, goji berry, mangosteen, purslane) (tie)
    67/ Marco Verch // Flickr

    #33. Superfruit (e.g. acai, goji berry, mangosteen, purslane) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 51%

    Superfruits like acai berries provide a lot of bang for their buck. The dark purple fruits are low in sugar and loaded with antioxidants—they're easy to grab and go without compromising health value.

  • #33. Savory jam/jelly (e.g. bacon jam, tomato jam, hot pepper jelly) (tie)
    68/ Elin // Flickr

    #33. Savory jam/jelly (e.g. bacon jam, tomato jam, hot pepper jelly) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 51%

    Savory jams and jellies are less popular in America than they are overseas, but that could be changing. Many restaurants are now offering breakfast items that are smeared with bacon jams and hot pepper jellies. They're a perfect alternative for those who love the texture of spreads, but aren't into the sweetness that jellies usually boast.

  • #33. Artisan cheese (tie)
    69/ Archenzo // Wikimedia Commons

    #33. Artisan cheese (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 51%

    Automation has led to many wonderful benefits, but one downside, especially when it comes to food, is that products that are mass produced tend to have flatter and less exciting flavors. Hence, the predicted popularity of artisan cheese. Created using traditional methods, artisan cheeses are usually more complex in flavor and provide a greater range of options.

  • #29. Smoked dessert ingredients (tie)
    70/ Anne Petersen // Flickr

    #29. Smoked dessert ingredients (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 52%

    Barbeque competitions around the country have had dessert categories for years. But 2018 will bring these unique recipes into the mainstream. Smoked chocolate bread pudding, cedar plank chocolate brownies, and grilled pound cake are all examples of what's to come.

  • #29. Seafood charcuterie (tie)
    71/ Lou Stejskal // Flickr

    #29. Seafood charcuterie (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 52%

    Charcuterie has long been a trend in fine dining circles, but chefs are poised to take the classic dish farther in 2018. Nicknamed “seacuterie," these charcuterie boards replace classic cuts of meat with items like scallop mortadella, swordfish ham, tuna ‘nduja, and octopus pastrami.

  • #29. Exotic fruit (e.g. rambutan, dragon fruit, paw paw, guava) (tie)
    72/ GoPlaces // Pixabay

    #29. Exotic fruit (e.g. rambutan, dragon fruit, paw paw, guava) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 52%

    Fruits that are exotic to the U.S. are common grocery store items in other parts of the world. Take for example the durian fruit that's eaten all over China and southeast Asia, cherimoya that's consumed throughout Peru, or ackee, which is part of Jamaica's national dish.

  • #29. Ethnic fusion cuisine (tie)
    73/ epicantus // Pixabay

    #29. Ethnic fusion cuisine (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 52%

    There are two ways you'll notice ethnic fusion cuisine being made this year. You'll either see traditional American dishes being given ethnic flavors (think a hamburger with an Asian twist) or traditional ethnic dishes getting American flavors (think a dumpling stuffed with buffalo chicken). 

     

  • #21. Savory desserts (tie)
    74/ Janet Hudson // Flickr

    #21. Savory desserts (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 60%

    For those who prefer a more savory end to their meals, options like avocado ice cream, sweet potato cheesecake, or basil ice cream might be more appealing. According to the ACF there should be a dramatic spike in the availability of these desserts in 2018.

  • #21. Protein-rich grains/seeds (e.g. hemp, chia, quinoa, flax) (tie)
    75/ ParentingPatch // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. Protein-rich grains/seeds (e.g. hemp, chia, quinoa, flax) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 60%

    According to a report put together by GlobalData, veganism saw a 600% rise among Americans in 2017. With more people adhering to a plant-based diet, it makes sense that the popularity of alternative proteins would increase as well. Sixty percent of ACF members predict that protein rich grains and seeds, like hemp and quinoa, will be trendy this year.

     

  • #21. Peruvian cuisine (tie)
    76/ Dtarazona // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. Peruvian cuisine (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 60%

    You may head out to meet your friends for Chinese food or Italian, but you probably don't regularly make plans to grab Peruvian food. That may all change this year with foods like arroz con pato, papa a la Huancaina, and lomo saltado.

     

  • #21. Hybrid fruit/vegetables (e.g. kale, brussels sprouts, pluot, broccoflower) (tie)
    77/ Jon Sullivan // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. Hybrid fruit/vegetables (e.g. kale, brussels sprouts, pluot, broccoflower) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 60%

    Hybrid fruits and vegetables may call to mind a mad scientist at work in a dark lab, but they're actually produced far more naturally than that. These hybrids are made without genetic modification; rather they're a product of cross-pollination, which often happens on its own in nature. As these forms of produce become more trendy this year, keep your eyes peeled for super tasty hybrids like pluots (a plum and an apricot) and tayberries (a blackberry and a raspberry).

  • #21. House-made/artisan pickles (tie)
    78/ congerdesign // Pixabay

    #21. House-made/artisan pickles (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 60%

    Today pickles are on almost 40% of all menus. Chefs aren't satisfied with buying a surplus-store sized jar of pickles either; instead, those who include the savory snack on their menus often make their own, usually with a trademark brine.

  • #21. Heritage-breed meats (tie)
    79/ Edsel Little // Flickr

    #21. Heritage-breed meats (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 60%

    Heritage is a loosely defined umbrella term, which essentially refers to pure breeds of livestock and poultry that have deep histories in America. These are all animals that you could have found on your great-great-grandparents' farm over 100 years ago. Heritage-breed animals are rare (many are actually endangered), which for some provides an ethical dilemma. But those who choose to eat the meat praise it's deep flavor and the fact that every bit of these animals is edible.

     

  • #21. Ethnic spices (e.g. harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout, shichimi) (tie)
    80/ Yulyasha // Pixabay

    #21. Ethnic spices (e.g. harissa, curry, peri peri, ras el hanout, shichimi) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 60%

    Ethnic influence is set to be one of the biggest culinary trends of 2018. Ethnic spices, which are used far more sparingly in American dishes, will be one of the biggest examples.

  • #21. Artisan/house-made ice cream (tie)
    81/ Tristan Kenney // Wikimedia Commons

    #21. Artisan/house-made ice cream (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 60%

    The texture difference alone between mass-produced and house-made ice creams is enough to convince most to never buy a gallon-sized tub of vanilla again. Artisan ice creams generally have a much creamier and smoother texture, melting in your mouth in a way that factory-produced ones simply cannot.

  • #13. Vegetable carb substitutes (e.g. cauliflower rice, zucchini spaghetti) (tie)
    82/ Larry Hoffman // Flickr

    #13. Vegetable carb substitutes (e.g. cauliflower rice, zucchini spaghetti) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 61%

    Americans are poised to be much more health conscious than they've ever been. One major place they're making healthy changes is by swapping out carb-heavy staples with lighter options, like cauliflower rice and zucchini noodles.

  • #13. Uncommon herbs (e.g. chervil, lovage, lemon balm, papalo) (tie)
    83/ Maky_Orel // Pixabay

    #13. Uncommon herbs (e.g. chervil, lovage, lemon balm, papalo) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 61%

    Every well-stocked spice cabinet in the country has black pepper, oregano, cumin, and garlic. Home chefs who like to stay ahead of the curve should make a point to add more uncommon herbs like chervil and papalo to their repertoire this year.  

  • #13. Plant-based burgers (tie)
    84/ BYMTDigital // Wikimedia Commons

    #13. Plant-based burgers (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 61%

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) should be very happy to know that 61% of ACF members predict that plant-based burgers will be a favorite in 2018. A win for the animal rights organization, as well as vegetarians and vegans everywhere, these burgers are made with non-GMO, high-protein veggies like peas.

  • #13. House-made charcuterie (tie)
    85/ T.Tseng // Flickr

    #13. House-made charcuterie (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 61%

    Chef Robbie Felice says he makes his own charcuterie “in order to be more authentic and more real … that makes [his] Italian restaurant real, super Italian." Expect to see many chefs following his lead and whipping up their own unique boards this season, which is already a tradition in Europe.

  • #13. Healthful kids' meals (tie)
    86/ Mike Mozart // Flickr

    #13. Healthful kids' meals (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 61%

    Healthy eating this year won't be limited to adults. Healthful kids' meals, with less trans fats, empty carbs, and fried foods will be a major thing.

  • #13. Filipino cuisine (tie)
    87/ pulow // Flickr

    #13. Filipino cuisine (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 61%

    Occasionally called the “original fusion cuisine," Filipino food draws inspiration from Spanish, Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese, and American cultures. Some of the most popular dishes include sweet and savory pancit noodles, salmon-miso Sinigang soup, and Champorado porridge.

  • #13. Authentic ethnic cuisine (tie)
    88/ Yonatan Soloman // Wikimedia Commons

    #13. Authentic ethnic cuisine (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 61%

    While fusion cuisine will be trendy this year, authentic ethnic cuisine should be even more popular. Look for smaller ethnic restaurants popping up around the country, and more authentic recipes being pinned on Pinterest and added to blogs.

  • #13. Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth, lupin) (tie)
    89/ kamutinternational // Wikimedia Commons

    #13. Ancient grains (e.g. kamut, spelt, amaranth, lupin) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 61%

    How long does it take until a grain is considered ancient? It depends who you ask. The Whole Grains Council says that a grain has to be largely unchanged over the last several hundred years in order to qualify. This means unrefined grains like spelt, teff, and amaranth are all considered ancient, but according to the ACF poll they're also far from outdated.

  • #9. Thai-rolled ice cream (tie)
    90/ Thomson200 // Wikimedia Commons

    #9. Thai-rolled ice cream (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 62%

    If you've spent any amount of time on the internet this year, then you've probably already seen several videos of Thai-rolled ice cream coming together. The exhibitionist ice cream isn't just new to us; it's also fairly new in Thailand, where it became popular in Thai street markets.

  • #9. Sustainable seafood (tie)
    91/ Wayang Putra // Wikicommons

    #9. Sustainable seafood (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 62%

    This year will bring a long-awaited change in mindset for most of us. Instead of just caring about what we eat, many consumers are becoming much more thoughtful about where that food comes from. As our awareness increases of how eating habits affect the environment, the demand for sustainably raised seafood will rise as well.

  • #9. Heirloom fruit and vegetables (tie)
    92/ John Morgan // Flickr

    #9. Heirloom fruit and vegetables (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 62%

    NPR reports that more consumers are seeking out heirloom fruits and vegetables—a product of the modernization and industrialization of farming—for a variety of reasons: “As it's made produce cheaper, more uniform and in some cases, less flavorful, ‘authentic' and ‘heritage' foods offer consumers an alternative.”

     

  • #9. Ethnic condiments (e.g. Sriracha, sambal, chimichurri, gochujang, zhug) (tie)
    93/ Mike Mozart // Flickr

    #9. Ethnic condiments (e.g. Sriracha, sambal, chimichurri, gochujang, zhug) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 62%

    ACF members are predicting that tasty sauces and spreads, like chimichurri and zhug, will begin to have a more widespread reach this year, with more households placing them next to the ketchup and mayonnaise.

     

  • #7. Gourmet items in kids' meals (tie)
    94/ carlorenato23 // Pixabay

    #7. Gourmet items in kids' meals (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 63%

    Adding gourmet items to kids' menus (instead of just tried and true options like pizza and chicken fingers) will expand children's palates, allowing them to grow into adventurous eaters.

  • #7. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes) (tie)
    95/ Alpha // Flickr

    #7. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g. chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 63%

    The fusion cuisine of breakfast—ethnic-inspired breakfast items—will add foreign twists to traditional favorites. Think chorizo in your eggs, congee made with chicken stock, or breakfast sandwiches on croissants instead of bagels.

  • #3. Street food-inspired dishes (e.g. tempura, kebabs, dumplings, pupusas) (tie)
    96/ Maksym Kozlenko // Wikimedia Commons

    #3. Street food-inspired dishes (e.g. tempura, kebabs, dumplings, pupusas) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 64%

    America's street food culture pales in comparison to Asian and Latin American countries, where a long history of open-air markets provide mouth-watering dishes for a nominal price. Restaurant menus around the country will be adding more of these street food-inspired dishes this year, including offerings like tempura, seasoned kebabs, and dumplings.

  • #3. House-made condiments (tie)
    97/ jeffreyw // Flickr

    #3. House-made condiments (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 64%

    Most pre-packaged condiments like ketchup and mustard have loads of extra sugar and additives in them. House-made condiments will be cleaner and more wholesome, and without nearly as many preservatives, all with an extra boost of flavor.

  • #3. Ethnic-inspired kids' dishes (e.g. tacos, teriyaki, sushi) (tie)
    98/ Stephanie // Wikimedia Commons

    #3. Ethnic-inspired kids' dishes (e.g. tacos, teriyaki, sushi) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 64%

    ACF theorizes that more places will begin offering ethnic-inspired kids' dishes this year, allowing younger palates to sample a taste of all flavors the world has to offer.

  • #3. Doughnuts with non-traditional filling (e.g. liqueur, earl grey cream) (tie)
    99/ Shelby L. Bell // Flickr

    #3. Doughnuts with non-traditional filling (e.g. liqueur, earl grey cream) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 64%

    Doughnuts, as we know them today, were invented sometime in the mid-19th century. They've remained popular for hundreds of years and, according to this ACF survey, aren't going anywhere anytime soon. This year may see a change in doughnut choices—instead of old school chocolate or cinnamon sugar, shops will begin offering options like earl grey cream or liqueur flavored pastries.

     

  • #1. New cuts of meat (e.g. shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas strip steak, merlot cut) (tie)
    100/ Southern Foodways Alliance // Flickr

    #1. New cuts of meat (e.g. shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas strip steak, merlot cut) (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 69%

    Tied for #1, new cuts of meat like oyster steaks and merlot cuts are expected to be hugely popular this year. Expect to see these in restaurants before you find them on grocery store shelves, as professional chefs are usually the originators of the cuts (for example, Tony Mata invented the Vegas strip steak in 2013).

     

  • #1. African flavors (tie)
    101/ Zeal Harris // Flickr

    #1. African flavors (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 69%

    Also receiving 69% of the vote for the #1 hottest food trend of 2018, African flavors will be big this year. These dishes won't be for the faint of heart—think spicy stews, tagines, curries, and lots and lots of peppers—but they are some of the most flavorful and diverse options out there.



     

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