Skip to main content

Main Area


100 hottest food trends in 2018

  • 100 hottest food trends in 2018

    The average American spends over $7,000 on food each year. This bloated number—it's about 10% of the average household's pre-tax income—implies that people like to eat, and value dining experiences highly. But what exactly is everyone spending all that money on?

    The National Restaurant Association conducts an annual poll, surveying 700 professional chefs, all members of the American Culinary Federation, to uncover what the hottest food trends will be for the upcoming year. From appetizers to main courses to desserts, the list is gathered from answers received from October and November 2017, and is a good indicator of the types of food that will make up the majority of dining budgets.

    This culinary forecast includes 161 items, which are rated as either "hot trends," "yesterday's news," or "perennial favorites." We've included the top 100 items and ranked them by the percentage of chefs who said they'd be "hot trends."

    Read on to find out where barbeque stands, what chefs think of algae, and what fruits and veggies are must haves. Can you guess the two foods that tied as the #1 hottest food trends in 2018?

    ALSO: Super secret menu items from your favorite food places

  • #100. Egg-white omelettes and sandwiches

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 24%

    Traditionally, omelets and egg sandwiches are made with the whole egg. There's just something about a salty yolk that elevates an egg-based dish. But with people becoming more cautious about their cholesterol intake, yolks are sometimes cast aside for just the healthier egg whites. Only 24% of American Culinary Federation members thought that egg whites would stay popular in 2018, landing this dish in “yesterday's news.”

  • #99. Chickpeas

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 24%

    Most commonly found in Middle Eastern dishes like mnazaleh and falafel, chickpeas are a great source of protein. Those who follow a plant-based diet also use chickpeas in place of meat when following carnivorous recipes. But with only 24% of ACF members voting chickpeas as a “hot trend" in 2018, it seems that these legumes are on their way out.

  • #97. Flavored popcorn (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 25%

    Flavored popcorn was really popular in the mid-2000s, with places like Garrett's, a popular popcorn chain in Chicago, seeing lines form around the block for their cheesy and caramel-covered offerings. Today, it's rare to see popcorn on a menu anywhere other than the movie theater.

  • #97. Flatbread pizza (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 25%

    Another early 2000s favorite, flatbread pizza definitely had it's time in the spotlight. At one point, it was seemingly impossible to go to any restaurant and not find some variation of flatbread pizza on the menu. The meal still remains trendy in niche markets—California Pizza Kitchen has an entire section of their menu devoted to flatbreads—but generally speaking, this food trend is fading fast.

  • #95. Semifreddo (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 26%

    Semifreddo is a certain class of semi-frozen desserts, which have a fluffy, mousse-like texture, and are made with a mix of cream and custard. Semifreddos can be quite finicky to make and include raw eggs, which makes patrons less inclined to eat them, lest they get salmonella, and chefs less inclined to cook them.

  • #95. Ceviche (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 26%

    Ceviche is a seafood dish that has its origins in Central and South America. Instead of cooking the seafood with heat, bits of fish, lobster, and shrimp are doused in lime juice and eaten cold. It's an age-old recipe that saw a resurgence of popularity in the early 21st century, but seems to be on the decline again.

  • #93. Bone marrow (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 27%

    Humans have been eating bone marrow for at least 2.6 million years. Marrow can be prepared in a dozen different ways—whether it's used as an ingredient in beef tartar or eaten on its own right off the bone. In 2011, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that bone marrow was the "it" food of the season. Today it's on far fewer menus with adventurous eaters opting for new cuts of meat over the smooth, nutty insides of the bone.

  • #93. Barbecue (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 27%

    Less than one-third of ACF members predicted that barbecue would be a hot food trend for 2018. While barbecue seems like a perennial favorite, a rise in flexitarianism—a term coined in the early 2000s that refers to those who choose to reduce their meat intake without cutting it entirely—might forecast that fewer consumers will pick slow-cooked meats when they dine out.

  • #92. Brussels sprouts

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 28%

    The Netherlands exports 40.9% of the world's brussels sprouts. So in 2015 and 2016, when brussels sprouts experienced a surge in popularity, the small European country drew in a huge profit. These days, the vegetable shows up on far fewer menus, in part due to a gene that 50% of the world's population carries that makes the leafy green taste bitter and undesirable.

  • #87. Octopus (tie)

    Percentage of ACF members who labeled it a "hot trend": 29%

    Octopus is an incredibly popular dish in the Mediterranean region, where it's often boiled, grilled, or baked and served whole. Uncooked, octopus has an incredibly tough texture and precise measures must be taken in order to create a tender, juicy entree. The complicated, multi-step cooking process, along with the fact that octopus goes bad quickly and many Americans are squeamish when it comes to eating the sea creature, has many chefs pulling this one from their 2018 menus.

2018 All rights reserved.