6 foods you will be eating in 2018

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Food and Beverage

6 foods you will be eating in 2018

A customer buys cherry tomatoes at a vegetables stall in the local municipal market during the visit by participants of Gastronomic FAM Tour on December 02, 2017 in Matosinhos, Portugal.
Horacio Villalobos | Corbis | Getty Images

2017 was the year of poke, cold-brew coffee and charcoal-colored, well, everything. So what does 2018 have in store for our palates?

While a number of trendy food items in the last year seem to have been catered toward Instagram-able pictures (looking at you, Unicorn Frappuccino), others have sought to provide health-conscious shoppers with homeopathic remedies.

Heading into the new year, companies and restaurants will still try to tantalize customers with over-the-top menu items and healthful fare, but in a more innovative fashion.

Here are six foods you'll likely be eating in 2018.

  • Vegetable protein

    Vegetable protein no longer means dry, tasteless "meat" patties and reconstituted tofu. These innovative products are made with plants but "bleed" just like real meat with the help of beet juice.

    In 2017, companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods expanded their presence in the market, partnering with restaurants and bringing their innovative plant protein to the grocery market.

    "In 2018, meat alternatives are really going to launch," Ken Harris, managing partner at Cadent Consulting Group, told CNBC.

    Beyond Meat's "bleeding" veggie burgers are available at more than 5,000 restaurants and grocery stores, and Impossible Foods' "impossible burger" can be found in more than 350 restaurants in the U.S.

    The reason for this sudden surge in burgers made from vegetables?

    "It tastes good," said Harris. "It hasn't in the past."

    Harris told CNBC that these burgers aren't just for vegans and vegetarians but also for people who eat meat but want to eat more vegetables.

    Epic Burger, which sells Beyond Burgers at its restaurants, has seen tremendous growth since adding the item to its menu.

    "In the first three months, we've sold more than 20,000 Beyond Burgers which equates to about 10 percent of burger/sandwich sales and is exceeding our sales expectations," David Friedman, CEO of Epic Burger, said in a statement in November.

    Source: Beyond Meat
  • Mocktails

    Mocktails are not a new concept, but these nonalcoholic beverages have come a long way from sticky-sweet Shirley Temples. As more people limit their alcohol consumption, companies such as Ocean Spray and Welch's have offered up juicy alternatives.

    In the spring, Ocean Spray debuted its line of cocktail juice blends. These bottled juices include flavors such as cranberry peach bellini and cranberry sangria.

    Clark Reinhard, Ocean Spray's vice president of global innovation, told CNBC that repeat purchases of the brands' mocktails are strong and he expects the line to become a $100 million business for the company.

    The key to the success of this trend is flavor. Consumers want to mimic the sophistication of having a specialty cocktail, but without the hangover or extra calories. So brands and restaurants that adopt this trend will need to make sure their concoctions look good and taste good.

    ivanmateev | Getty Images
  • Gut-healthy fare 

    Improving digestive health is a huge trend heading into 2018. In the last year, a number of companies promoted apple cider vinegar tonics as homeopathic remedies and a cure-all for everything from acne to hangovers.

    There are already a number of products on the market that are rich in probiotics and micro-organisms and aim to support digestive and immune health. Expect to see more of these gut-healthy food items next year.

    Tempeh, miso and kimchi are also likely to be added to menus across the restaurant industry as more consumers become aware of their healthful benefits.

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  • Keto 

    Low-carb is the new paleo diet. The keto diet, short for ketogenic, focuses on lowering the number of carbs you eat and increasing your good fat intake.

    By depriving your body of carbohydrates, it will naturally produce "ketones" that break down fat. This can help with weight loss and overall health.

    Meals that fit into this diet contain meat, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, berries and high-fat dairy products, such as butter and cheese. The diet strips out grains, sugar, fruit and starches, such as potatoes.

    The diet, which was first created in the early 1920s to treat epilepsy, has resurfaced in the last year thanks to social media. People who have followed this diet and have experienced dramatic weight loss have posted about it online, spurring others to give the diet a shot.

    Meal kits and restaurants have begun to offer plates that mimic this dietary trend, and that can be expected to continue in 2018.

    It should be noted that the keto diet isn't for everyone and not all people have received the same results from this high-fat meal plan.

    Azurita | Getty Images
  • Mushrooms

    Mushrooms in your coffee? Yes, it's a thing. And expect to see it cropping up in other, unexpected places in the next year.

    The fungi are a good source of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. And they are adaptable. Mushrooms are packed with protein and can be used in baking and cooking as a bulking agent. Harris told CNBC that mushrooms could soon be used in food coloring, as well.

    Customers can already purchase mushroom-infused products such as Four Sigmatic's coffee, cocoa and matcha blends. Time will tell if this trend will be picked up by the likes of Starbucks and Dunkin.

    RistoArnaudov | Getty Images
  • Edible flowers

    Edible flowers have long been a way to add a quirky and sophisticated garnish to a dish, but in 2018, these flavors will take center stage. While flavors such as elderflower have floated around in the international market, expect to see more flowery flavors in the new year.

    Hibiscus, lavender, rose and elderflower, among others, are expected to blossom at grocery stores and restaurants. Whole Foods Market listed floral flavors in its top ten trends for 2018, noting that lattes, teas and bubbly drinks will be the most likely candidates for this flavor infusion.

    Mscornelius | Getty Images