If you thought 2017 was a turbulent year, 2018 is likely to take things up a notch higher (at least in the food industry). The year is likely to witness a surprising shift in consumer preferences. The millennial generation prefers more organic, flavourful yet nourishing ingredients rather than artificial, Instagram-ready meals. Food lovers from all across the world are more inclined towards exotic, regional dishes, super-powder infused drinks and plant-based main courses. Want to know about the latest trends in the food industry? We present to you the biggest dietary trends that are likely to dominate in the next couple of months.

1. Veganism

Veganism as a lifestyle choice has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. Everyone, from fitness gurus and animal lovers to celebrities, swear by this plant-based diet choice. People are finally beginning to realize that being vegan is not an extremist approach adopted by hippies to “save animals from cruelty”. In fact, going vegan can actually improve your health and make a drastic difference to the environment.

2. Probiotics

Now, probiotics sound more like a medical term than a dietary choice. Ironically, a probiotic diet is anything but fresh. Probiotics are basically the good bacteria that work wonders for boosting your overall immunity. For centuries, the idea of fermenting food and beverage items to enhance its flavor has been around in several cultures.

This year we see most eating houses and restaurants incorporating ingredients such as kombucha (fermented tea), kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage) and kefir (Middle Eastern milk-beverage) in their menu.

3. Science-based flavors

Technology has changed the way we live, communicate and even eat. You can actually produce food in science labs!

This year we predict the rise of Heme, a chemical that’s used to create clean synthetic meat using plants. Companies like Finless Foods have developed a cell-cultured Bluefin tuna that’s both environments friendly, healthy and tastes awesome. From cell-cultured meat to realistic plant-based meat alternatives, these futuristic innovations are very much a part of stores and cafes.

4. Sustainable, locally grown produce

This trend is more of an eco-friendly way of living rather than simply a dietary choice. 2018 is the year when people are finally acknowledging the damage done to the environment and taking the necessary measures to rectify it. There is a drastic shift in consumer attitudes towards sustainability — they now take responsibility for their lifestyle choices. For instance, shoppers today are opting for farm produce and not the commercially grown veggies and fruits, thereby eliminating wastage of resources.

5. Ethnic cuisines

Gone are the days when people would simply put avocados on everything and call it a healthy, scrumptious meal. Regions like Asia and the Middle East have struck a chord with the consumer who is seeking new cuisines beyond the generic flavors of sushi, hummus, and tahini.

Oriental spices are especially popular in the west. Many shoppers are exploring options beyond the basic hot sauces and pastes and trying out authentic, locally-produced spices to enhance their cooking.

So, which ones of these trends do you see yourself endorsing soon enough?