2018 food trends: what really happened


"Confused as we were? The ‘Cronut’ combination achieved global fame, but ‘Crossushi’ is another matter entirely. You’ve guessed it. Fish meets pastry."


When each new year begins, our screens and inboxes are filled with crystal ball predictions on the hottest new trends in food and drink.  

The cronut? (croissant/doughnut hybrid). That happened. Sugar loaded Freakshakes? We were bouncing off the walls. Mushroom lattes? We’re not so sure... 

They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so with this in mind we’ve dug out six foodie trends that were predicted to cook up a storm in 2018. Did they stick, or die out as fast as you can say “Dry January”? 

Culinary crowd pleasers…


Many 2018 predictions surrounded our increased awareness about the foods we’re eating, where they come from and ethical and environmental concerns.  

Research group Mintel predicted food traceability to be a hot topic and concern for consumers, regardless of their social background or income.  Whether this is due to a growing mindset of ethical responsibility, or recent scandals such as the horsemeat fiasco, knowing where our food (in particular, our meat) comes from has become increasingly front of mind. In a 2018 poll of 2,000 Brits conducted by The Grocer and Harris Interactive, 65% of meat shoppers say traceability is important to them.  

The power of plants  

In an Eater London survey with some of the UK’s most influential voices in food, plant-based dining was a hot topic for 2018. Suze Olbrich (freelance food writer and Eater London contributor) and Laurel Ives (former food editor of The Sunday Times’ The Dish) predicted a continued surge in plant based products and menus in 2018.  

According to Mordor Intelligence, the global plant protein market is currently worth £4.6bn, and expected to deliver annual growth of 7% between 2018 and 2023.  

This surge in plant-based products has definitely been the case for Waitrose. Take milk alternatives.  25% of the supermarket’s milk range is made up of non-dairy options. According to the Waitrose Food and Drink Report 2018/19, sales of almond milk were up by 26%, coconut milk by 60% and oat milk by a whopping 116%. Find out more about the boom of plant based dairy alternatives in this article.  

With the plant based food trend recently becoming mainstream, it’s even being advised as a savvy business concept for 2019. 

‘Dirty vegan food’ 

Vegan food was definitely not new in 2018, but it continued to transform and be celebrated in many different ways. In Eater London’s survey (above), food writer Victoria Stewart predicted a surge of ‘dirty vegan food’ in 2018. She wasn’t wrong.  

Talking of London’s obsession with vegan food, Laurel Ives wrote for Eater London “Meanwhile, the other major new strand of veganism is a thriving, so-called “dirty” food scene which is shattering an old-fashioned and once arcane image, as well as repudiating the assertion that vegan food, by necessity, has to be “healthy.” There are now fast food offerings like kebabs, fried “chicken,” and doughnuts, which appear designed to appeal to a wider — and younger — generation.” 

Last year, the Great British Bake Off even taught us that vegan doesn’t mean boring or necessarily healthy, with challenges featuring vegan pastry and pavlova.  

What’s more, the popular American comfort food chain, Dirty Bones, known for its ribs and burgers, thrived with a ‘Dirty Vegan’ menu. ‘Dirty Vegan’ pop ups in Shoreditch, London, proved incredibly popular, serving vegan mac and cheese, waffles and even ‘hot wings’, with sessions selling out within an hour in March 2018. 

foodie flops... 

Funghi fad

In late 2017, Whole Foods made a number of predictions on the food products lining our shelves. Among the strangest was a fascination with all things funghi. Don’t get me wrong, mushroom soup on a cold winter’s day? Champion. Mushroom SOAP? Not so much. The health focussed brand also hedged their bets on bottled drinks, coffees, chocolate and smoothies with mushroom inclusions. It looks like this one hasn’t hit mainstream in the UK, with (thankfully) no mushroom flavoured high street coffees or Dairy Milk in sight.   

Breakfast pizzas 

As much as we wished for it, predictions for the Italian masterpiece to feature on the breakfast menu flopped like a soggy slice of pepperoni. Eurostar predicted we’d be eating small, nutritious ‘grab and go’ pizza portions for breakfast, a concept popular in Italy’s Roma region for fuelling energy for the day ahead. We’re sad to report no sighting as yet. Maybe this year? 


Confused as we were? The ‘Cronut’ combination achieved global fame, but ‘Crossushi’ is another matter entirely. You’ve guessed it. Fish meets pastry.  

Perhaps it’s a Marmite thing, you’ll either love it or hate it? Either way, we’re in no real rush to find out. 

Despite being put up for debate by the likes of the Evening Standard and Mashable as 2018’s biggest food trend, the ‘Crossushi’ combo of the croissant and sushi doesn’t appear to have made its way to the UK yet. We can’t speak for everyone though - with restaurants in LA, San Francisco and Seoul, serving up the fish/pastry combo.

Rosie Carr