Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

On The Horizon – 2018 and Beyond Flavors, ingredients and movements at the edge of the trend cycle

As part of our research into the flavor trends for 2018 we asked our experts what’s right on the edge of the horizon. Here are their thoughts.

Togarashi holds multiple trending elements within its flavor profile: flavorful heat from chiles, seaweed, floral notes of orange peel and sesame seeds. The poke trend is also pushing togarashi forward. I could see it flavoring a multitude of menu items in the future.’

Black sesame, tahini, sesame: Global expressions of sesame seeds touch on Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, but also deliver a toasty, craveable richness that is being added to ice cream, cookies, crackers and shakes/smoothies.’

‘Some argue that celery or maybe radicchio is the ‘new veg,’ but I think it’s more of a mélange, like a ‘new salad,’ as in: pick a grain, pick a green, char a veggie in coals—like eggplant, beets, butternut squash. Then add a seed, add a dressing—something unique like a makrut-feta ranch or fermented kombucha vinaigrette—and now you won’t miss your kale.’

‘Kombucha is already becoming mainstream, and we’ll continue to see growth in switchels and shrubs as the savory and less-sweet trend continues in beverages. We’ll also see more vibrant colors in cocktails from natural ingredients like beet juice, hibiscus and carrot juice.’

‘I see Laotian cuisine on the horizon. Southeast Asian flavors have seen a huge surge over the past decade, and I think the cuisines of Laos will be up-and-coming.’

‘The culinary horizon is coming into focus as chefs step up foraging, fermentation and fire. Foraging is bringing sloe berries, yarrow, olive capers and gooseberries to the modern table. Much of the ongoing flavor explosion is rooted in fermentation, pickling, curing and brining. And the fascination with live-fire cooking will burn brightly, as fire delivers intensely flavored food.’

‘I believe that with cues from Persian cuisine, we’ll start to see more nut, olive and bean spreads. Dishes like ful medames—a creamy fava bean purée; zeytoon parvardeh—a dip of ground walnuts, pomegranate, green olives; and muhammara, with red pepper and ground nuts.’

‘New and on the horizon? Radishes! Roasted, pickled, braised and sautéed. One in particular that I think will get more traction is the Purple Ninja radish. Not only does it come with a great name, but when braised, eats better than any other root vegetable I have had.’

  From the Jan/Feb 2018 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.


About The Author


Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.