Top food/menu trends for 2018

Food and menu trends for 2018 are a bit of a smorgasbord, ranging from plant-based and organic foods to comfort foods such as lard.

Sustainability is no longer simply about recyclable packaging. "Farm to fork" has given way to "farm to shaker," or cocktails with plant and veggie leftovers. Also new for 2018 are the "root to stem" and "nose to tail" concepts, taking recycling to a whole new level. The idea is that consumers should use all parts of a plant or animal, such as our artichokes with stems.

Transparency is another trend that's gaining ground, particularly in the food industry. Consumers are seeking products with fewer ingredients, natural ingredients and products whose packaging reflects environmental consciousness. For many, a label proclaiming "organic" is not enough; they want to know where the food originated and how it was handled along the supply chain. Ask for our clean products; we maintain close relationships with our vendors, so we know exactly where our products originate.

In keeping with the natural theme, botanicals are making it big. Plants and flowers, once considered merely ornamental, are now springing up in food and drinks. It's a nod to our early days, when plants and flowers were used for medicinal purposes.

With the increasing Hispanic population, Latin foods are bigger than ever. According to Whole Foods Markets culinary predictions for 2018, "There’s no slowing down the craze for all things Latin American."

While we proclaim to eat healthier foods, feel-good foods are back in vogue. You'll be hearing "pass the butter" more often this year. Some of this can be attributed to societal stress, but generally consumers are simply more concerned about the amount of sugar and sodium in their food than they are the amount of fat. And oils, especially heart-healthy olive oil, are making a comeback.

Colorful foods are all the rage. While colorful foods make for a great presentation on your plate, they also make for like-worthy photographs on Instagram.

Keep an eye out for hybrids (and we're not talking automobiles). Think cronuts or waffogato (ice-cream waffle soaked in espresso).

Overall, 2018 promises to be an exciting year for food lovers everywhere. Bon appetit!

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