It's that time of year again: With New Year's resolutions underway, everyone's scoping out predictions for the biggest 2018 food trends so they can get healthy and stay relevant at the same time. Luckily for all of us, Whole Foods gathered their food experts and buyers to create a list of what they expect will be the most popular foods this year.
In case you're having trouble envisioning trendy foods being part of your wedding plans (edible insects made this list last year...ick), we'll give you an idea of how each item on this list can help keep your wedding menu on the cutting edge.
All brides expect to carry flowers with them as they walk down the aisle, but this year, Whole Foods experts might suggest you include some on your menu as well. And the applications are endless. Think about it: cocktails infused with floral liqueurs (hello, St-Germain!), edible flowers on desserts, and rose-flavored everything. You can even match your color palette or bouquets to the flowers on your plate—familiar florals like lavender, lilacs, orchids, and pansies can be sourced for use in food (no pesticides, please!).
Perhaps it's a bit far-fetched to think you'll have protein powder in anything at your wedding, but that's not where this trend ends. The coffee-loving couple—or a pair that's decided on a brunch wedding—might consider a signature coffee cart drink with matcha or turmeric. A latté with one of these super powders will give your guests the boost they need to party all reception long.
We don't exactly condone serving mushrooms in coffees, teas, or smoothies at your wedding (even though that's what's suggested in this trends list). That said, these newly popular mushrooms are also good for mushroom broths, which can be eaten alone or used a base for rich soups—first course, anyone?
Feast from the Middle East
The experts at your favorite organic grocer are calling for foodies to move beyond easy entry points like falafel, hummus, and pita bread to get a deeper understanding of the individual cultures of specific Middle Eastern countries. With Persian, Israeli, Moroccan, Syrian, and Lebanese cuisine cited as major influences this year, consider exploring spices like harissa, cardamom, and za’atar; and dishes like shakshuka, grilled halloumi, and lamb. For more liberal guidelines on how to get in on this trend, start with some of the most popular ingredients for cuisine from this region: pomegranate, eggplant, cucumber, parsley, mint, tahini, tomato jam, and dried fruits.
Along with an overall movement to eat better comes the desire to know where our food comes from. Have this conversation early and often with your caterer—talk about serving items that are in season and can be sourced locally. Not only does this ensure optimum freshness; it can also be a nod to the location where you chose to celebrate your marriage. Whole Foods expects more transparency with food labeling this year—something to consider for your welcome baskets and edible wedding favors.
High-Tech Goes Plant-Forward
This trend is not for the faint of heart (or stomach) but can be a very memorable aspect of your reception, should you choose to take it on. You may have heard of the veggie burger that bleeds (beet juice in the patty emerges during the cooking process to simulate the doneness scale of beef). These kinds of high-tech, plant-based approaches to ditching animal products will only expand in 2018. While you likely won't serve burgers (meaty or makeshift) as a main course at your wedding, you might consider vegan-friendly cake (with vegan frosting), ice cream (with soy- and nut-milk), and even specialty desserts like crème brûlée (the same torched top without the dairy).
Puffed & Popped
With new technology churning out puffed, popped, dried, and crisped snacks, almost anything can be turned into a chip or piece of popcorn. Puffed rice clusters, cassava chips, and even chips made of puffed bowtie pasta have emerged (we tried the pasta chips and highly recommend them). This is a great opportunity to put something unexpected in welcome baskets for your guests.
New Year, New Tacos
In the past year, we've seen tacos at every meal, from eggy breakfast variations to sweet dessert tacos (although Choco Taco paved the way decades ago). This year we'll see even more heightened obsession with this Latin American street food, with tacos getting entirely new applications and elevated fillings: poke tacos in a seaweed shell, paleo-friendly barbacoa tacos in a shaved jicama shell, and crab and bacon breakfast tacos, to name just a few possibilities. It certainly wouldn't be the first time tacos were served at a wedding—and we're not just talking nuptials at Taco Bell.
We realize it's a bit misleading to talk bubbles and weddings if we're not referring to the alcoholic kind you toast with, but there are other types of bubbly to consider! For guests not drinking the hard stuff, food experts predict we'll be growing beyond our collective La Croix obsession to other artisan sparkling drinks. Even Whole Foods is putting out a new line of sparkling mineral waters in a range of flavors. These could definitely come in handy for a bubbly bar—prosecco and champagne and sparkling rosé with all sorts of juices, sodas, and seltzers for a fun, self-serve moment at the reception.