As 2018 comes to a close, the food and beverage industry is wondering what comes next.

Last week, Whole Foods, the international supermarket chain owned by Amazon that specialises in organic and natural foods, released its list of the trends it expects to dominate in 2019. More than a dozen buyers and experts collaborated to predict what new trends will dictate what we eat, and what our customers will want in the coming year.

Here are the top food-trend predictions for 2019:

1.  Pacific Rim-inspired flavours

Flavours from Asia, Oceania, and the western coasts of South America are on the rise. They are talking ingredients like guava, dragon fruit, Filipino sausage longganisa, dried shrimp, cuttlefish, and shrimp paste as a few ingredients to consider in new menus.

2. Shelf-stable probiotics

Probiotics have been on the rise for a while, in the form of fermented kimchi & various pickled foods. This will continue to be important in 2019 and bars can also get in on the act with kombucha in bottles, on tap or even as a cocktail base.

3. Phat fats

We all know the importance of having a good selection of Vegetarian and Vegan options on our menus, but Whole Foods cites “keto, paleo, grain-free, and even ‘pegan’ (paleo + vegan) diets” as helping to get people to add more fat to their diets.

“New integrations of fat sources — like keto-friendly nutrition bars crafted with MCT oil powder, coconut butter-filled chocolates, snacks affectionately called ‘fat bombs’ and a new wave of ready-to-drink vegan coffee beverages inspired by butter coffees — are bursting on the market allowing consumers to get their fat fill with convenient treats,” the grocer says.  Maybe an option for in your coffee shops and fitness centres?

4. Frozen treats of a different kind

For a fresh take on a timeless treat, chefs are experimenting with innovative bases like avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water

Some are moving beyond ice cream altogether, with frozen cheese swirls, Taiwanese snow ice, and Mexican nieves de garrafa on the cusp of going mainstream.

5. Marine munchies beyond seaweed

Seaweed is pretty much mainstream but now, ingredients like seaweed butter and kelp noodles are being added to the menu.

6. Eco-friendly packaging

Mainstream supermarkets have done away with single-use plastic bags, bars and restaurants have banned plastic straws and more and more cafes are encouraging customers to bring their own (and selling their own versions) of reusable coffee cups to do away with single-use cups. “Some movements start as trends, then become necessities,” Whole Foods writes. “This is one of them.”

Clubs and other venues, particularly those with a coffee shop or take-out option, take note.  It can also be a great way to engage with your customers, with many cafes offering coffee discounts for people who “bring their own”.

7. Gourmet snacks

It’s all about snacks and share boards and they are going to really start to usurp the three-meal-a-day routine in the coming year. Move beyond fries and wings and look at providing more sophisticated bar snacks, cheese boards, prosciutto, and artisanal versions of childhood snacks in 2019.

Source: Business Insider