The hottest food and drink trends 2018 – eatnorth round-up

Japanese dude food
Japanese dude food

The salmon pokē bowl and deep-fried grass­hopper is sooo last year. This year, healthy and environmentally conscious food will continue to boom: think less meat, drinking less alcohol and worrying more about waste.

THE trends have been fuelled by the post-millennial generation who, with their ravenous appetite for saving the planet and reducing waste, are increasingly shaping how we eat. They buy food more mindfully. Generation Z consume 57% more tofu and 550% more non-dairy milk than millennials, according to recent research by Barclays and they will be opting for an ever more plant-based, locally produced diet.

They are also high-tech savvy ordering food deliveries via Alexa or Google Home, and demand to know more about where their food comes from.

You will find them supporting pop-ups and street food vendors over established restaurants, and snacking more than they sit down for meals.

This generation may also be eating four meals a day instead of three and booking tables in Instagram-optimised restaurants.

According to Waitrose’s annual food trend report….

Gutsy Japanese Food:

2018 is all about the indulgent side of Japan’s cuisine. Think gutsy sharing dishes favoured in the country’s izakaya bars, according to the report. Whether it’s yakitori skewered chicken or deep-fried tofu in broth, the trend will combine the hearty ‘dude food’ of the southern US states with the unctuous, rich, and surprising flavours of after-hours Tokyo.

Picture of Yakitori skewered chicken
Yakitori skewered chicken

Indian Street Food:

This trend is continuing into 2018. Say “Namaste” to tapas-style Indian street food. Forget heavy sauces and chicken tikka masala – this trend is about leaner food which is smoked, grilled or seared. Food trucks selling puris stuffed with zingy vegetables and drizzled in chutney could become a common sight. The cuisine lends itself to hybrids, such as spiced burgers or lamb keema tacos. Its Indian food like you’ve never seen it, says Waitrose.

Picture of Manjits Kitchen
Indian Street food such as Manjits Kitchen in Leeds

The Fourth Meal:

More people are now trying to squeeze a small fourth meal into their day, and this is set to continue in 2018. It’s fuelled by attempting to adapt our eating schedules to our busy lives. Waitrose states:   “If dinner’s particularly early one evening, why not have a mini cheese on toast before you go to bed?” or “If you’re going to the gym after work, why not have an energy-boosting salad mid-afternoon? Whether it’s a healthy snack or an indulgent treat, we expect to see more of this in the future.”

Plant Proteins:

More people are choosing a flexitarian diet. “Whether with pulses, shoots, grains, seeds, soy or even algae, everyone from tiny start-up companies to big brands is looking for clever new ways to add a protein punch.

“Lentils and other pulses are so on-trend and the go-to for fibre. It’s all about the nation wanting to keep their gut health at the “top of its game,” says Waitrose.

Picture of pulses and grainsThe Colour Purple:

Think figs, aubergines, purple cabbage, purple carrots and sweet potatoes, for this year’s colour trend. The colour is great for social media sharing according to Waitrose but also indicates tonnes of vitamins so a hit with the health conscious. “Blueberries have become Britain’s favourite berry, outselling strawberries.”

Picture of purple aubergines

According to some Northern chefs…

Simple, short menus:

Adam Reid at The French (Midland Hotel, Manchester) believes we’ll see a movement towards simple, short menus in 2018.

He told inews: “At The French, my focus is more and more on accommodating and offering an option for the ‘time-strapped’ diner who wants something great but only wants it as a part of their evening, rather than the old three hour tasting menu.”

Picture of Adam Reid, at The French
Picture courtesy of The French

Mark Greenaway, chef and owner of Restaurant Mark Greenaway in Edinburgh said he sees a shift into more casual fine dining gathering speed meaning less formality but an expectation of high standards of food, wine, and service.

“As far as food goes, I believe it will be more focused on local produce, even more so than before. So homemade butters, vinegars, and I am hearing more and more about homemade kombucha,” reports

“Kombucha is a sweetened fermented tea drink, and its origins are a little unknown. It is said to be between 200 to 2000 years old, and chefs are becoming more adventurous with it and making their own.

“The ranges of tastes and umami found within it are incredible when used correctly, and it can be used in marinades, dressings, bread, and even as a replacement for the sweet and sour element in cocktails.”

Picture of Kombucha in jars
Ancient Kombucha is full of health benefits

Read the full article on inews  here

Veganism is trendy:

It’s no secret that vegan and vegetarian food is becoming mainstream (read our report on the rise of Veganism here). Once frowned upon as the preserve of sandal-wearing hippies, diners are becoming more conscious of what they eat and how it impacts on the environment.

Vegan: Asparagus Couscous with Chickpeas and Almonds
Vegan: Asparagus Couscous with Chickpeas and Almonds

Rise of the alcohol free wine and mocktail:

Last year saw the launch of Club Soda, a mindful drinking movement that aimed to remove the stigma associated with not drinking in social situations.

The success of non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip, created to solve the dilemma of what to drink when you’re not drinking, and the rise of well, drinkable non-alcoholic wines (check out The Alcohol Free Shop in Manchester)  proved that people no longer mock tee-totalers. Bartenders are taking their non-alcoholic offerings increasingly seriously, rather than treating their virgin cocktail list as an afterthought.

Picture of mocktailsHi-tech Cocktail:

As it all happens first in London….some of the top mixologists have been seeking inspiration from science and technology. Last year Jamie Jones launched London’s first augmented reality cocktail menu – Mirage – at the Michelin-starred City social in the capital’s financial heart, according to trade magazine The Drinks Business. It took 18 months to create the list, which took inspiration from iconic artworks through the ages, from Van Gogh’s wheat fields to Tamara de Lempicka’s Art Deco portraits.

Guests were asked to aim their smart phone at the cocktail’s coaster, which would trigger the artwork to come to life on their device. In November 2017, scientists at the University of Singapore developed a virtual cocktail that digitally simulated multisensory flavour experiences. They added scent cartridges and micro air pumps to the base of the glass, allowing users to create their own virtual flavours, smells and colours to enhance the existing ones in the drink.

“And if that wasn’t impressive enough, LED lights on the glass can change the colour of the cocktail, and two silver electrodes on the rim of the glass give off salty, bitter and sweet tastes when the drinker touches them with their tongue,” says The Drinks Business.

Chef’ Table:

This isn’t a new concept but chefs are responding with development kitchens that are designed to feel like you’ve been given a backstage pass to all the exciting ‘behind the scenes action.’

This year will see more chefs taking up the concept. Among the most interesting will be Simon Rogan (Lake District’s L’Enclume), at his eight-seater no menu venue Aulis at Fera, Claridges in central London. Think of it as being invited to a Rogan dinner party for a drop in the ocean £250 a head. For that you will get his latest creations with wines designed to harmonise with the flavours in the dishes along with an explanation of the thought process behind the dishes.

Picture of Simon Rogan
Aulis Chef Simon Rogan

Edgy multi-faceted wine bars:

It’s competitive in London so venues are becoming all things to all people. Wine bars double as shops and restaurants serving exciting small plates from local seasonal ingredients. Hanging Ditch in Manchester is on top of this trend.

Food importer’s trend list…

Jason Bull, sales director of West Yorkshire-based food importer Eurostar Commodities and healthy snack producer Bite UK, told trade magazine Caterer that lupin or  lupini beans, traditionally eaten in the Mediterranean basin and Latin America, will be a superfood of choice for 2018

“Lupin ‘significantly’ lowers blood pressure and improves insulin sensitivity. It also helps with appetite control.”

Picture of Lupin Beans
Lupin Beans

Bull also predicts: “Pizza bases made from vegetable flours will grow and feature strongly, tying in with the gluten-free trend that will continue to grow using natural ingredients.

“These alternative flours are made from beetroot and spinach creating a stand-out purple or green pizza base which tastes delicious and will satisfy the most discerning healthy eater and hungry kids alike.”


Given the number of food scandals of the past few years (2013’s horse meat fiasco being one of the highest profile), you could be forgiven for assuming traceability and transparency would have been high on producers’, retailers’, restaurateurs’ and consumers’ list of priorities long before now.

But according to market research group Mintel, 2018 will be the year when we all, regardless of income and social background, become obsessed about where our food has come from.

Mintel has based its prediction, however, on the growth of natural, environmental and ethical food and drink launches. The group estimates that products claiming to be organic and free of additives, preservatives and GMOs (that’s genetically modified organisms) made up 29% of new products between September 2016 and August this year, a global increase of 17% compared to a decade ago.

Older Chickens:

For those still eating meat and chicken in particular, we will be eating larger, older, slower-growth birds. Check out the Ginger Pig butchery’s 100-day-old chickens (most commercial chickens are slaughtered at 60 days), or its gamy cockerels to see what all the fuss is about (

Filipino Food:

Restaurant consultancy company Baum+Whiteman predicts Filipino Food will be trendy in 2018.  Expect to find paksiw na isda (fish cooked in vinegar) and pork belly adobo, to mango, kalamansi and ube ice cream on the menu.