Edible flowers, the jujube fruit, and the reinvention of supper as a meal have been identified as three of the leading food trends of 2018.
Bold flowers are set to move from the garden to the dinner plate “in a big way” in 2018, according to Andy Baxter, md of Internet Gardener. “Pansies are probably the most well-known edible flowers. Often used in desserts, they can be crystallised easily for edible table-top displays,” Baxter said. “Lavender is definitely going to increase in popularity and use as well. With its recognisable smell and distinct flavour, it is and will continue to be used as an infusion for a variety of food and drink.” Baxter’s claim was backed up by Tasneem Backhouse, joint md at EHL Ingredients. ‘
A perfect decoration for food photos
“Edible flowers make a perfect decoration for food photos for the Instagram generation and bring powerful flavours to dishes,” said Backhouse. “Eye-catching, colourful flower petals and buds including lavender, rose, and violets, make a great addition to cakes, biscuits and bakery items as well as jams, jellies and vibrant salads.” The jujube fruit is set to become a bigger household name in the UK in 2018 as more retailers begin to stock it, claimed Helen Wang, director at Abakus Foods. Also known as the red date, the jujube is high in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and contains 18 out of the 24 amino acids that are essential for the formation of the 50,000 proteins in the human body, said Wang. “Retailers also have plans for it becoming a household fruit in the future and ingredient in various drinks and juices,” she explained. “Its unique properties and novel allure mean it could have a very strong introduction into mainstream markets in the coming year.”
Meanwhile, the Waitrose Food Drink Report 2017–18 predicted that the supper would be reinvented as more consumers added a smaller fourth meal. Due to busy lifestyles, people were fitting in extra food for post-gym snacks or smaller meals while at work, the report claimed. “Fourth meals could mean the introduction of packaged food with the specific marketing strategy deeming it ‘perfect for the fourth meal’”, said the report. The Waitrose report also found that Indian street food would be gaining further popularity, leading to the creation of a number of hybrid food combinations such as scallops in pickled ginger and lamb keema tacos.