The food trends you need to know about

11th December 2017

From foraging to fermenting and from eating offal to cooking ancient grains, 2018 sees a return to our heritage as traditional methods and forgotten foods are brought back into the mainstream. Here’s our forecast of food trends to come.

Wild Food

Rosie Birkett foraging on the Oare marshes in Kent with Miles Irving.

The nation’s love of wild edibles continues to gain momentum with forgotten foods gracing menus, from restaurants to cocktail bars. Head to Native in Covent Garden for a menu that offers anything from seaweed mayo to native oysters, sip on Douglas-fir-infused vodka martinis at the Midnight Apothecary in Rotherhithe, take a wild booze course with forager Andy Hamilton in Bristol or experiment at home with Farmdrop’s selection of hyper-seasonal, foraged ingredients from rock samphire to dulse seaweed to fill the seasonal hunger-gap this winter.


The Edible City: A Year of Wild Food, by John Rensten, for great insights into picking and cooking your own and The Forager Handbook, by Miles Irving for an in-depth guide on this lost art.


@foragerltd. Wild adventures and forgotten foods from our wonderful supplier foraged edibles, Forager.

Offcuts Are On

Wild food meets offcuts: Japanese knotweed with wild garlic at Cub. Photo: Xavier D. Buendia / XDB Photography

Whether it’s eating nose-to-tail or cooking root-to-fruit, using up offcuts is set to go mainstream in 2018. So far we’ve seen chefs – from Poco’s Tom Hunt in Bristol to SILO’s Douglas McMaster in Brighton (and Hoxton with Mr Lyan at Cub) to St. John’s Fergus Henderson and Dan Barber’s WastED pop-up in London – serve broccoli stalks and beet leaves, whole cod heads and offal in a bid to reduce waste and embrace vegetable, mammal and fish in their tasty entirety. And it looks like the trend is spreading. Unusual roots and tops are finding their way onto restaurant menus (celery root anyone?), consumer sales of offal – from pig’s trotters and cheeks to chicken livers – are on the up, and chefs from Anna Jones to Jamie Oliver are encouraging home-cooks to celebrate vegetables from root to stem to leaf.


Look out for bunched beetroot so you can eat its leaves when in season and love the unloved with Farmdrop’s selection of offal, including lamb’s hearts and chicken livers.


@silobrighton for zero-waste inspiration.

DIY Fermentation

how to make fermented chard at home and what to do with it

Ready to get your DIY fermentation on?

The craze for all things fermented (think: kombucha and kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and chard) shows no sign of abating. With a rise in startups selling their own gut-loving concoctions, from Wild Fizz Kombucha to Bio-tiful Dairy Kefir to Tickles’ Pickles kimchi, and ferment-focussed restaurants opening over town (check out the new Little Duck Picklery in Dalston), 2018 will now see more of us home-brewing and pickling our own thanks to a proliferation of DIY classes – thanks The Fermentarium – and cookbooks.


Homemade vinegars provide an easy intro into fermenting. Make your own with this easy guide.


@the_fermentarium for insights into fermenting, from sourdough to kombucha.

More mocktails?

Fermented drink

Binge drinking is out. Booze-free alternatives are in. So says Club Soda, the ‘mindful drinking movement’ responding to the health-conscious millennials seeking social drinking without the hangover. Studies say one in five adults in the UK are now teetotal – the highest in a decade – and start-ups and drinks companies are responding in kind. Dash Water are ‘perking up water naturally’ with otherwise wasted wonky fruit, Botonique is a botanical fizzy soft drink ‘for wine lovers’ and Luscombe Drinks’ wild elderflower bubbly is billed as a refreshing Champagne alternative.


The Ethicurean in Bristol offers a great selection of alcohol-free drinks and cocktails, all sourced from local or small-batch producers.


@morninggloryville. A rave with a difference.

Ancient grains and pulses

Did you know you can grow amaranth – just at nutritious as quinoa and containing more protein than oats – in your back garden? #2018goals

As demand for plant proteins soar, ancient grains and pulses – including quinoa and spelt, fava beans, amaranth and millet – are making a comeback. Thankfully British growers seeking diverse, soil-nutritious alternatives to main crops, like wheat and corn are also on the up. Winners of the 2017 BBC Food & Farming Awards, Hodmedods have a lot to answer for with their pioneering British-grown quinoa and lentils. As do Sharpham Park’s organic spelt in Somerset, showing that we needn’t look far for tasty, nutritious grain and pulse alternatives.


Celebrate grains with this wholesome autumnal spelt salad.


@sustainablefoodstory for grain-based explorations and experiments.

New flavours, from herb to flower

“Herbs can extend a simple meal into a feast” says herb-queen Jekka McVicar, and it seems the rest of us are finally catching up. From sweet cicely to winter tarragon to chocolate mint, chefs and foodies are exchanging basil and parsley for a whole range of forgotten flavoursome foliage (check out Bristol’s Michelin-starred Casamia). And it doesn’t stop there. Delicate edible flowers and micro leaves are catching on too, with bakers and chefs brightening up plates and cakes with new and unusual plant-based flavours.


Growing Underground’s flavour-packed microgreens – grown 33 metres below the streets of Clapham!


@jekkasherbfarm to learn more about all things herbs, direct from Jekka McVicar’s herb farm.

Doggy bags to go

food trends - doggy bags - bethany newman via Unsplash 61417

2017 saw a rise in waste-conscious diners who are kicking doggy bag-embarrassment to the curb. And good news too. Restaurants throw out a whopping 600,000 tonnes of food every year, and with awareness around food waste on the up, chefs and diners are taking their leftovers a little more seriously. Thankfully, the trend is part of a bigger movement that sees restaurants monitoring, recycling and cutting their food waste from farm to fork. Hooray!  


Sustainable street food, Gourmet Goat at Borough Market, make use of dairy industry by-product, kid goats, in their east-med-inspired dishes.


@foodmadegood for news from the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s inspiring campaigns. @olio_ex app for sharing leftover food with neighbours and @TooGoodToGo_UK app for surplus dishes from restaurants and cafes.

In need some gift inspiration ahead of the New Year? Try our Christmas guide guide for home cooks.

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