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Photo credit: getty images

With the advent of social media, specifically Instagram, food trends spread across the globe quicker than wildfire. It is now only a matter of a week for a food trend going viral in the San Francisco Bay Area to make an appearance on menus across the world.

While 2016 belonged to ramen burgers and zucchini featuring in Chinese takeout (think zoodles) to replacing lasagne sheets, and even the base of brownies and cakes; 2017 was truly the year of unicorn everything – right from the namesake Starbucks Frappuccino to cakes, ice creams, sushi rolls, veggie bowls, cheese toasties and even unicorn-themed restaurants!

So what are some fads you are likely to be gramming and pinning in 2018?

1. Activated Charcoal

Black is the new green, and if you thought you already saw this ingredient feature in black burger buns back in 2015, well, then, brace up, for you’ve seen nothing yet — that was just a preview (and in most cases, simply squid ink).

Activated charcoal is going mainstream this year, not just in your top beauty products but also in croissants and breads, waffles and ice cream cones, or ice creams themselves.

Black smoothies are the new gold for every health blogger. Black lemonades (yes, really!) and blacker cocktails are a real thing… but is activated charcoal really all that healthy? That makes for a dedicated blog post for the world is divided between health mavens who swear by its detox abilities, and those who claim it is nothing but superficial cleanse that simply looks pretty on the ‘gram (it does, doesn’t it?).

Credit: Mikey Pozarik for “By Chloe” https://eatbychloe.com

I, for one, was always a closet Goth, and will surely be found indulging the occasional breakfast of my charcoal pancakes served with a black latte.

2. Middle Eastern Cuisine

Now, now! I know we all are in familiar territory with this one – then how is it a trend?! I mean, who doesn’t already love some crispy falafels dunked in super smooth, garlicky hummus or good ol’ chicken shawarma?

However, this year it seems like gourmet chefs want to go a notch ahead of all that pita and babaganoush, and truly help diners discover this cuisine along with bringing forth its regionality with dishes of Israeli, Persian, Azerbaijani and Syrian origin.

Expect the spicy shakshuka to show up on more and more brunch menus, the stuffed chicken lavangi or the meat and eggplant casserole moussaka to become popular entrées, the knafeh or halva your go-to dessert preferences, and for za’atr spiced everything to pop up on menus — this year, look Middle East for a change!

3. Edible Flowers

Edible flowers are the new microgreens of the fine dining world, and a much prettier version at that. While this trend made a global feature late last year, in 2018 we are expected to see many more of these beauties go “blooming”, with peppery nasturtiums in your lean green salad, delicate pansies in the yoghurt breakfast bowl, and daisies on your cupcake. Might we say we aren’t complaining a wee bit…

4. Root to Stem Eating  

Urban millennials are becoming increasingly ecologically conscious over time. This year, to align with their mindful diners, more chefs round the world will focus on minimising waste (a surely noble thought!), which, in the west, is beginning to be known as the “do not discard” movement. This has further branched into the “root-to-stem” cooking, a vegetarian version of the “nose-to-tail” cooking concept, or the valiant attempt by chefs to maximise yields of whole plant ingredients, while taking up the challenge of creating interesting dishes from parts of plants not normally cooked.

I say – as long as the end result is delicious, we are “rooting” for this trend!

5. Pretty in Purple

Yes, another colour based food trend, but when Pantone announced the colour of the year as Ultra Violet, the foodie world rejoiced in tandem – for nothing looks prettier than in purple (except in black). Ube, or Filipino origin purple yams, and the South Asian Butterfly Pea Flower are already gaining global recognition, and purple foods are beginning to conquer social media, whether in the form of uber macarons and sorbets, or butterfly pea flower blue teas and rice dishes, that turn purple on the squeeze of a lime (gimmicky, true, but quite fun!). Besides lending an exotic colour to dishes, both these ingredients lend a unique flavour to dishes, as opposed to the rather tasteless activated charcoal. May the better colour win…

Credit: http://papermoon.com.ph

Which of these do you reckon is likely to be the one the world is going to be OBSESSED with?

Do leave a comment with your vote (my money is on activated charcoal!), and if you have some photos featuring any of these trends, feel free to share with us!

ABOUT Aakanksha

Aakanksha realised her love for both food and writing at an early age, but it was not until many years later that she decided to blog and instagram about her food escapades and experiments in the kitchen. Having worked extensively with start-ups in the luxury retail, food tech and e-commerce space, Aakanksha is currently on a sabbatical, and wants to use this time to read, write, travel, cook and basically slow down to really live a little.