If you’re a food lover, it helps to stay on top of the latest quirky eating trends.
And thankfully Waitrose, with its newly-released annual Food & Drink Report for 2017-18, has rounded up the hottest crazes you should look out for next year.
After successfully predicting we’d all be loving vegetable-flavoured yoghurt, botanical cocktails and watermelon water this year, they reckon next year will be filled with Japanese ‘dude food’ and plant proteins for a ‘flexitarian’ diet.
The research is pretty comprehensive with the opinions of 2,000 consumers, Waitrose sales stats and the predictions of in-house experts used to analyse shopping, eating, drinking, and cooking habits.
So here are the top five food trends to look out for next year, according to Waitrose:
1.Japanese 'dude food'
Say goodbye to miso and noodle soup, the latest Japanese craze will be much more filling dishes that you can share like yakitori skewered chicken or deep-fried tofu in broth.
The report says: “The trend will combine the hearty ‘dude food’ of the southern US states with the unctuous, rich and surprising flavours of after-hours Tokyo.”
2.Indian street food
No longer will be satisfied with the humble chicken tikka masala with naan bread and a few poppadoms, this new food trend will see the emergence of tapas-style Indian street food.
This trend is all about smoked, grilled or seared delicacies such as scallops in pickled ginger.
The report says: “Food trucks selling puris stuffed with zingy vegetables and drizzled in chutney could become a common sight. The cuisine lends itself to hybrids, such as spiced burgers or lamb keema tacos. It’s Indian food like you’ve never seen it.”
3.The fourth meal
And it’s not just what we’re eating that’s set to change, it’s how we eat as well. According to the report, we are starting to squeeze a small, fourth meal into our daily routine.
It says: “This is not about gluttony, rather it is about adapting our eating schedules to our busy lives.
“If dinner’s particularly early one evening, why not have a mini cheese on toast before you go to bed? If you’re going to the gym after work, why not have an energy-boosting salad mid-afternoon? Whether it’s a healthy snack or an indulgent treat, we expect to see more of this in the future.”
4.Experiential 'food hubs'
Think you’ll be able to pop down to your local supermarket to pick up some milk? Pah! You fool! The future of supermarkets is “experiential and immersive retail hubs” where shoppers won’t just be able to pick up food but also sample trendy new supper clubs and wine bars.
And it seems this is linked to a move towards smaller shopping trips and smaller trolleys.
The report says: “Just a few years ago, an average Waitrose would open with around 200 big trolleys and 150 shallow ‘daily shopper’ trolleys lined up outside. These days the tables have turned, with 250 shallow ‘daily shoppers’ and just 70 big trolleys needed.”
5.Plant proteins for a 'flexitarian' diet
As more and more people try to cut back on meat and move towards a ‘flexitarian’ diet, there is a growing demand for plant-based proteins.
The report says: “Whether with pulses, shoots, grains, seeds, soy or even algae, everyone from tiny start-up companies to big brands is looking for clever new ways to add a protein punch.”
(Images: iStock by Getty)