With this in mind, Mareya Ibrahim, the “Fit Foodie” and CEO of Grow Green Industries which makes eatCleaner products, predicts consumers will demand “Swiss army knife” qualities from their produce, protein and energizing drinks in the coming year.
According to her 2018 food trends report, today’s on-the-go culture has made it so “you can’t hold anyone’s attention for very long without offering major benefits in return,” which means “even foods multi-task.”
For example, she says tart red cherries not only offer more antioxidants than blueberries, pomegranate juice and tea by almost triple, but they also offer a “mega boost of anthocyanins to battle free radicals and repair cell damage,” are a natural source of melatonin to help induce sleep and proffer to reduce pain and inflammation.
These characteristics, along with the fruit’s availability in multiple forms, including fresh, frozen, powdered and juiced for easy application across categories, will help it rise to the level of “superfood” status in 2018, she said.
Antioxidant-packed camu camu and baobab are two other fruits that Ibrahim expects will see an uptick in the coming year as nutrient boosting add-ons to other meals.
Other multifunctioning produce that will catch consumers’ attention in the new year include “living” produce – or hydroponically grown vegetables that are sold with their roots attached. Often these products are grown closer to where they are sold, which Ibrahim suggests could maintain nutrients and have a longer shelf life.
Shishito peppers, sales of which have increased 25% from October 2016 to September 2017, also will continue to gain traction in the coming year as a shareable appetizer that is “full of active capsaicin and antioxidants” and easy to prepare, according to Ibrahim.
Americans love of spicy peppers, such as the Carolina Reaper which his 500 times hotter than an average jalapeno, will continue and will open the door for added heat from other ingredients, such as a ginger, black pepper and clove, Ibrahim predicts.
Produce also will show up in a few unexpected place to add heath benefits, such as in coffee alternatives, Ibrahim says. She points to the rising popularity of brain-boosting powdered mushrooms in Four Sigmatic coffees and teas, and the addition of dandelion root in Teecino.
Roots and seeds gain popularity
Stepping back from just produce, Ibrahim believes that seeds such as sacha inchi, chia, flax and hemp will earn a wider following thanks to their antioxidants and omega-3 content, Ibrahim suggests.
Roots also will become more mainstream – especially once that offer prebiotic benefits, such as inulin, chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, suggests Ibrahim.
Collagen climbs the charts
While much of what Ibrahim promotes as the food of tomorrow is plant-based, including plant-based protein, she says that animal-based collagen – especially when paired with vegetables and spices – will take center stage in the new year with the paleo diet shining a spotlight on its benefits. These include “a full spectrum of amino acids to support hormone production, a healthy metabolism, cell regeneration and your ‘bow chicka wow wow’ drive,” according to Ibrahim.
She says collagen products will take many forms, including flavored bone broth powders, beverages such as Bru Broth, which is positioned as a coffee alternative, and in flour substitutes that can be added to waffles and smoothies alike.