Year after year, consumers seem to be warming to the idea of trying new foods and flavors, and looking at food trends making their presence known for 2018, that doesn’t seem to be changing. Foods that are on the rise for the new year include minimally processed foods—mirroring consumers’ desire to eat “cleaner” better-for-you foods—as well as bowls, grown-up ice cream (think strawberry basil, spiced chocolate or even foie gras), mini-desserts (such as baby bundt cakes) and global flavors.
As for what flavors are trending for the new year, ones that add a layer of sophisticated and unique tastes to a variety of dishes are set to lead the pack.
Rose water, often used in Middle Eastern, Indiana and Greek cuisines, is also perfect for use in many desserts, as it pairs well with vanilla, cream, dark and white chocolates and even mild cheeses such as Brie or cream cheese. It can also be used with fruit flavors, such as raspberry, lychee and mango, to create depth and can be added to cookies and other baked treats such as baklava.
According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, rose water mentions have been especially trendy in adult beverages, increasing 40% year-over-year. One restaurant that’s offering rose water cocktails is Fig & Olive, a small fine dining chain with eight locations across California, Illinois and New York. Their La Vie En Rose cocktail features berry-infused Tanqueray gin, pamplemousse rose liqueur, rose water and lemon juice.
Lemon, though by no means a new flavor, will continue to grow in the coming year. This versatile flavor is bright and complementary to many dishes, from fish, pork and chicken dishes to herbal-tinged beverages to, of course, desserts. Lemon has also grown in the alcohol beverage category, but perhaps more intriguing is its 5% growth on kids menus.
Dishes such as the Lunch Jr. Chicken Francese served at Flushing, New York’s Caffe Biu Bella, are elevating standard kids menu favorites such as chicken tenders. This dish features a chicken breast sauteed in a lemon and white wine sauce.
Vanilla is also seeing a boost in popularity lately, yet again in the alcohol beverage category—rising 10% on menus year-over-year. Other categories its making an appearance in, however, are savory dishes.
For instance, this warm and inviting flavor is featured prominently at Kroll’s South Loop. Located in Chicago, this restaurant’s Beet Salad dish features beets, goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, hardboiled egg, roasted acorn squash and spring mix, with a vanilla vinaigrette.
Likewise, Palomino Restaurant & Bar, an Italian casual-dining chain with locations in seven states, serves its Brussels sprouts and pancetta appetizer with a unique vanilla butter.
This post is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas