2018 Food Trends: Exotic Specialties, Humble Street Foods, and Plant-Based Everything

As we kick off the new year, food industry analysts are peering into their crystal balls to predict what trends we’ll be seeing and savoring this 2018. For better and for worse, the days of cupcakes and cronuts are behind us, and this year’s forecasts speak to a larger movement toward wellness, global mindedness, and environmentally conscious lifestyles.

So what’s on the menu? Some new trends we can’t wait to try, and some classics we can’t get enough of — plus plenty of EAT Club options that can be delivered straight to your office. Here’s a peek at what’s in store:

Exotic imports

Imported specialties are hardly a recent phenomenon — Italian and Chinese foods are almost as American as apple pie! But our palates are primed for new adventures, and Whole Foods trendspotters predict that consumers will continue to branch out to bold flavor territories in the coming months. Hawaiian poke bowls, Middle Eastern spice blends, and Peruvian cuisine in particular will be among the breakout stars of the year. Want to try out this worldly trend? Next week, EAT Club Satisfies Your Wanderlust with a featured line of picnic boxes starring authentic flavors inspired by global food destinations. Bring international flavors to your office!

Take a trip: Peruvian Chicken Bowl, Peruvian Tofu Bowl, Bo Ssam, Shrimp Pho

09_22_2017_EatClub-066-Edit.jpg_BoSsam.jpgEnjoy a Bo Ssam for lunch, inspired by Korean flavors.

Plant proteins

Boss Magazine trend trackers report that more Americans are reducing their meat consumption for health and environmental reasons, and consumers are hungry for new and interesting ways to get their protein. We’ll see plenty of wacky new innovations (like beet burgers that “bleed” and jackfruit as a meat substitute) as well as a resurgence of old-school staples like tofu, chickpeas, and lentils, each of which contains more than 15 grams of protein per one-cup serving.

Go green: Vegan “Unagi” Sweet Eggplant Nigiri, Indonesian Vegetable Salad, Green Tea Soba Tofu Salad, Warm Goat Cheese Garden Plate

indonesian salad
A bright and colorful Indonesian Vegetable Salad gives plant-based power.

Dairy-free substitutes

Taking plant-based eating a step further, many Americans are cutting back on dairy products and embracing their inner vegan. According to restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman, 58% of adults report drinking non-dairy milk alternatives, and consumers are getting more creative to cut down on dairy products and seeking out vegan substitutes. Think vegan “cheese” on pizzas and creamy sauces made with butternut squash or avocado.

Ditch the dairy: Vegetarian Rainbowl, Wild Rice Stuffed Sweet Potato, Turkey Polpette, Soy Shiitake Soba Bowl

06_17_2016_EatClub-072-Edit-FINAL.jpgTurkey Polpette makes for a satisfying, yet dairy-free, lunch

Street food specialties

Savvy travelers know that to find the most authentic cuisine, you must eat how the locals eat. Condé Nast Traveler predicts that humble street foods from across the globe will be having a well-deserved moment of glory. Expect to see newcomers like Salvadoran pupusas join the ranks of more established specialties like Asian dumplings, elote (Mexican street corn), and Greek kebabs.

Eat like a local: Southwest Stuffed Yam with Elote, Skewered Veggie Bowl, Cuban Pork and Black Bean Rice, Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi

Moros_y_Christrianos.jpgTake a trip to Cuba with braised pork, plantains, beans, and rice. 

Communal dining

According to the food forecasters at Culinary Tides, restaurants are returning to communal tables as a way to provide guests with another dimension of the dining experience. While smartphones and social media have contributed to some downright anti-social behavior, shared tables encourage diners to put down the devices, connect with their neighbors, and focus on the food.

Share a meal: Watch your teams gather together naturally when you bring food into the office equation. You don’t have to agree on what to order, but everyone can agree that coming together for a team meal is an excellent way to boost morale and foster collaboration in the workplace. Instead of trying to wrangle a dozen dietary preferences and a million taste buds, let EAT Club take the wheel. From vegan specialties to hearty barbecue, EAT Club can provide a range of meal options with zero hassle. Because when everyone orders, everyone eats, and everyone’s happy.

From all of us at EAT Club, here’s to a delicious new year!