What will be the big 10 Irish Food Trends for 2018? Bullseye Marketing and TasteKerry give their opinion.

Cork based Bullseye Food Marketing, who work closely with food producers around the country, have compiled their annual food trend predictions for 2018. At the end of each year Bullseye reviews the different food trends in Ireland and around the world t0 identify trends that will have the greatest impact on what we eat for the coming year.

Bullseye’s researchers point out that as consumers become better educated about food benefits and ingredients they also have become much more discerning about how and where they purchase their food. While a greater recognition of the link between food and personal performance is encouraging consumers to seek new meal solutions.

This hasn’t meant the complete collapse of indulgent products. As consumers live busy, hectic lives an indulgent treat can often be the perfect escape that consumers need. Here TasteKerry have compiled a list of the 10 mostly likely food trends to shape 2018.

  1. Gut Health / Fermented foods
    Gut health is a hot topic in the world of nutrition and is fast becoming a new lifestyle a trend effecting food and drink brands. Consumers are getting wiser about vitamin drinks and iced teas, which are marketed as ‘healthy’ elixirs but are often packed full of sugar. Consumers are starting to see functional health drinks become more appealing, such as cider vinegar, Fermented Kefir, Kombucha & Kimchi. These wholesome foods are excellent energy boosters while improving the digestive gut system with cultivated probiotics. Fiber will also become a next big ‘gut heath’ nutrient.
  2. Loving Local / Transparency & Traceability
    Consumers are being attracted to products that are locally sourced and manufactured by craft artisan producers. The success of various support local producer campaigns in supermarkets such as the Supervalu ‘Food Academy’ indicates that consumers will support locally produced Irish food products when it is clearly communicated in store. Consumers want to understand everything about their food through better food labelling. Recipes need to contain clean ingredients – No Nasty Additives or Preservatives. Seafood or meat must be sustainably sourced or farmed responsibly. Full ‘Farm to Fork’ traceability and ethical rearing are key requirements. Consumers want to know the real story behind their food, and how it is made.Shoppers are seeking out details such as  responsible production, sustainability, & animal welfare standards.
  3.  Rise of The Weekend Hedonist
    Increasingly consumers are being careful about their diet during the working week with carefully planned meals that manage calorie intake and reduced ingredient demons such as sugar and salt. However when they get to the weekend there is a change of attitude!
    We will see more food products creating new meal and snack occasions. These includes “Beat the afternoon slump”, “Food on the go”, the “Late night snack” and “Indulgent me time”. In other European countries this is already an accepted tradition with “Appetisers” , “Hors d’oeuvres” and“Tapas” all providing alternative dining occasions.
    Consumers are throwing off the working week shackles by eating take-out and enjoying comfort foods and drinks.The rise of comfort foods and emotionally targeted indulgent food products will be an ongoing trend in 2018.
  4. Family Convenience
    Modern family life is hectic and demanding particularly with both parents working and children with busy after school schedules. Food companies that react to family needs by developing ‘meal kits’ that are quick to prepare (ready in less than 15 mins), good variety of recipes, nutritious and tasty for all the family will benefit the most. A number of prepared fruit products have been launched that eliminate the need for parents to prepare fruit for lunchboxes – No peeling, no cutting, and no deseeding. We see the trend of “Family Convenience” food products continuing to gain momentum in 2018.
  5. Ethnic Influence
    Indian and Asian foods have been popular for a number of years with Irish consumers. Recently Asian street food restaurants have sprung up in many locations and have become popular for informal dining. We are seeing other ethnic examples such as sushi with an Irish twist available in supermarkets. Consumers are interested in experiencing food from a broad range of cultures and we expect to see more food from Middle Eastern and South American cultures. Consumers are ready to explore Middle Eastern cuisine, with Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian and Lebanese foods rising to the fore.
  6. Vegetable Everything
    Vegetables are gaining in popularity for a number of reasons. Younger consumers ( called Flexitarians ) are slowly replacing their intake of meat and fish with vegetables without becoming full vegetarians. Recipes include Vegetable Stew, Vegetable Lasagne and modern alternatives such as Cauliflower Buffalo Wings. Vegetarian recipes have become seriously tasty through the innovative use of spices and other ingredients. Meat and fish are being replaced due to consumer concerns about carbon footprint and water footprint reduction, health preferences, and intensive farming concerns.
    Plant based milk alternatives are hot! New varieties of nut milks and yogurts made from ingredients like pili nuts, peas, bananas, macadamia nuts and pecans. Nut and oat milks are here to stay, whether you’re cutting back on lactose or giving veganism a shot. Dairy-free indulgences like vegan brownies, ice cream, and crème brûlée are getting so delicious, non-vegans won’t know the difference – or they might choose them anyway!
  7. BPA Free Packaging
    Plastic packaging that was once considered safe is now being questioned for its potential negative health impacts. Health concerns are emerging, since plastic packaging is synthetically produced from petroleum products using chemically- infused manufacturing processes. Consumers are worried about BPA, formaldehyde, or other
    toxic chemicals leaching into their food. One synthetic compound that researchers have raised increasing alarm about is Bisphenol A (BPA). Recent research has said that BPA which is used to make plastics for food packaging, exhibits hormone-like properties. Such research claims will drive consumers to become increasingly wary of the type of material that their food is packaged in. There will be a shift towards sustainable, “petroleum-free” packaging made from 100% natural materials such as bio-plastic and plant-fiber board. Which may also effect change in what to do with single-use plastic “disposables”.
  8. Edible Apps
    As consumers embrace technology, new innovative apps and sales platforms will encourage shoppers to increasingly purchase their food online. Technology will help consumers manage their diet, enjoy easy diverse recipes, complete online shopping, manage food stocks in the home and reduce food waste. Consumers are actively seeking out online food Apps that help them stay on track with their personal health goals.
  9. Personalised Food
    Time poor cash rich professional consumers are seeking personalised menu solutions that can provide fast, tasty, nutritional food from sources that they can trust. These meal solutions can provide individual meals for a weekly treat or a daily menu that delivers all their meals to home a couple of times per week. The advantages include a wide range of exciting recipes, fresh ingredients delivered, correct portion sizes, no time wasted shopping, limited food storage required, less food waste and most importantly diet specific needs can be easily managed.
  10. Flower Power
    Foragers and culinary stars have embraced edible petals for years, but floral inspiration is finally in full bloom. From adding whole flowers and petals into dishes to infusing botanical flavours into drinks and snacks, this top trend makes for a subtly sweet taste and fresh aromatics. Look for flowers used like herbs in things like lavender lattés and rose petal salads. Also look out for lavender, hibiscus, rose, and elderflower cocktails and bubbly drinks.

As the year goes by it will be interesting to see how we are all influenced in our eating habits by these trends, Happy New Year !!