Holiday Food Trends Coming Your Way in 2018

Healthy Food Trends Coming Your Way in 2018
The word “trend” has a lot of negative connotations, probably because it’s so often associated with weird and regrettable fads like mullets, jelly shoes and the Macarena. But in the hospitality world, and business in general, trends are a way we can forge better connections with existing customers and attract new ones.
Following and tweaking our menus to reflect food trends keeps Saint Germain catering relevant, but it’s what we do with those trends that keeps our customers coming back. For home cooks, follow our lead and put your own spin on new culinary ideas. For those of you who run businesses in other fields, take the trends you’re seeing and brainstorm how you can make them work for your business rather than the other way around.
In the meantime, check out these healthy eating trends (hey, it’s the New Year’s; it’s all about establishing good new habits, right?) I’m excited to explore in 2018.
Floral Factors
Rose tea, hibiscus coolers, elderflower cocktails. Flower extracts are everywhere, and there are three good reasons they’re gaining in popularity: They’re different, they taste delicious, and they look beautiful. You can bake and decorate with flowers or use extracts and essences to elevate something like a creme brulee to brand-new heights. The health factor? Many herbs and flowers have strong medicinal properties; hibiscus, for instance, is purported to be good for regulating blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as promoting a stronger immune system.
Hidden Fruits and Vegetables
Moms have been tricking toddlers with veggie purees tucked into pasta sauce for decades, but now the trend is gathering steam. There are cauliflower pizza crusts, sweet potato “toasts,” butternut squash macaroni and cheese, zucchini and squash zoodles, radish and cabbage taco shells, and fruit smoothies that contain undetectable handfuls of spinach and even broccoli.
Vegan Delicacies — Yes, Even From Catering Companies
Vegan lifestyles are on the rise, and even dedicated meat eaters are starting to embrace meatless and dairy-free meals. Caterers, too. Animal products can be a bit of a culinary crutch, and eliminating those ingredients forces chefs to be creative and find fun and interesting substitutes. It doesn’t have to be all about tofu and tempeh, either. There are venture capital firms raising millions of dollars to support research into plant-based proteins, and the so-called “Impossible Burger” has been all over the news this year.
Exotic Spices
You couldn’t walk a block in 2017 without encountering a newly opened poke shop. Our obsession with those Hawaiian raw fish bowls is not likely to dissipate anytime soon, but expect focus to shift slightly to spices — the more unusual (to American palates, that is) the better. Sumac, vadouvan curry, zaatar, fenugreek, annatto and ras el hanout are all turning simple vegetable roasts and proteins into flavor explosions and replacing the need for rich sauces and heavy oils in the process.
Good-for-You Sodas
No more aspartame and caramel coloring. Instead of Coke and Pepsi, I’m seeing purveyors promoting sparkling beverages sweetened with sugar cane or stevia and flavored with everything from vanilla to birch to lavender.

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