Campbell: These trends will shape 2018 cooking

Here’s hoping that New Jersey residents cooked at home this weekend amid severely frigid temperatures.

But just how many used coconut milk in their Instant Pot soups, or hibiscus flowers in their nightcaps?

According to the fifth annual Culinary Trendscape report, released last week by Campbell Soup Co., the nearly $8 billion global food manufacturer headquartered in Camden, if they didn’t, they will soon.

The Culinary Trendscape report compiles the top emerging food trends that Campbell’s global network of chefs, bakers and culinary professionals at its Culinary and Baking Institute have deemed highly influential and innovative within the food and beverage industry in North America.

“It’s an exciting time to be a food lover and a chef!” Thomas Griffiths, certified master chef and global vice president of Campbell Soup Co.’s Culinary and Baking Institute, said. “We’re seeing food trends emerge and shift at an ever-increasing rate.”

Griffiths, who has helped to innovate, evolve and expand the 149-year-old company’s portfolio and global presence since he was hired in 2010, said it is important to track trends in their various stages, from discovery through global expansion to inspire future products.

“Whether you’re an accomplished chef, bona fide foodie or have a passing interest in food, you should keep a look out for these trends and incorporate some into your cooking and eating habits,” Griffiths added.

That means New Jersey, with its $105 billion food industry and agriculture sector, nearly 1,900 food manufacturing companies and thousands of food distribution centers, retailers, restaurants and farms, should pay close attention to these particular food trends in 2018:

  • Culinary Heritage: Personal, authentic stories and traditions will continue to define the food that we love to eat.
  • Feel-good Treats: People want to eat healthier, nutrient-dense indulgences, such as fortified ice cream, vegetable desserts, protein-packed chips and mood-enhancing ingredients.
  • Meat: While Meatless Mondays and plant-based diets are on the rise, there is still a strong interest in utilizing unique butcher cuts and antibiotic-free meat options.
  • Alternative Options: The future of food includes options that meet a wide variety of dietary needs, including products such as non-dairy milk, cricket flour and lab-cultured burgers.
  • Botanical Flavors: Restaurants and bars are upping their game with sophisticated flavor-profiles using value-adding fragrant spices and herbs such as cardamom, elderflower and lavender.
  • Limited-edition Innovation: Manufacturers are providing exclusive flavor experiences for consumers such as playful twists on product favorites, retro and seasonal-themed food releases.