What Consumers Are Craving in 2018
Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute (CCBI), a global network of highly-trained chefs, bakers and culinary professionals at Campbell Soup Company released its fifth annual Culinary TrendScape—a report tracking the top 10 influential food themes for 2018.
The report is part of Campbell’s culinary tracking system that identifies and categorizes the most impactful food trends and follows them on their journey as they evolve through six distinct stages:
- Discovery (emerges within a limited but influential group)
- Introduction (reaches a culinary-minded audience)
- Adoption (gains traction with larger audience)
- Mainstream (well-accepted in many restaurants and households)
- Established (reaches mass audience)
- Expanded (reaches global audience)
The top 10 trends in 2018 are:
- Culinary Heritage. (Discovery) The focus is no longer on specific ingredients, techniques or the discovery of “ethnic” dishes—it’s now about real food stories shared by the people behind them. This Stage 1 trend is emerging primarily within fine dining and food media circles, and it’s having a big influence that will only get bigger.
- Feel-Good Treats. (Introduction) A healthy and indulgent trend? What’s not to love? People are looking for more choices and for modern, “feel-good” treats that satisfy the evolving definition of a snack. Healthy snacks—and increasingly desserts—are bolstered by ingredients that consumers singularly perceive as healthy. The next wave of feel-good ingredients include: bananas, dark chocolate, cashews, honey, turmeric, bee pollen, dates, pea protein, hemp, spirulina, cacao, and vegetables like mushrooms. Bananas and cacao are particularly enjoying the spotlight this year, breaking out of their traditional applications.
- Chefs on a Mission. (Introduction) A number of influential chefs are putting social change on the menu, with ambitious, purpose-driven projects like food waste soup kitchens, untraditionally staffed kitchens and affordable, high-quality restaurants for low-income areas.
- Meat Matters. (Adoption) Sure, there’s plenty of buzz around plant-based trends and ”bleeding” veggie burgers, but we’re still seeing lots of meat-centric trends this year. The highlights are around meat that include fresh and natural appeal, premium, artisan quality, adventurous eating and social responsibility.
- Botanical Beats. (Adoption) Botanicals are showing up more and more up as bold notes (subtly applied) that pair well with other ingredients. Fragrant botanical elements like hibiscus and lavender are on the rise, especially in drinks and desserts. They offer a fresh spin on flavor and inspire signature taste combinations, while also offering clean label appeal—making them a popular flavor go-to for today’s developers.
- Alternatives Rule. (Adoption) Alternatives have gone mainstream and have become a real mega-trend. Health and ethical concerns over traditional ingredients have opened up opportunities for alternatives to enter the market. But this trend is not just about plant-based eating. It’s also about a widening interest in choice and counterculture eating that seeks out what’s new and different from our parents’ dietary status quo.
- Limited Edition Innovation. (Mainstream) Limited and/or early harvest ingredients, seasonal flavors, regional touches, or guest chef/brand collaborations are among some of the buzziest launches we’re seeing this year. While there’s more of a creative, playful spirit at play in place of true innovation, one thing is for certain: the use and impact of limited edition marketing is growing.