EHL Ingredients foretells top foods for 2018
EHL Ingredients predicts that vegan and gluten-free food ingredients are set to dominate menus and supermarket shelves in 2018 as consumers diversify their eating habits to suit modern lifestyles, diets and fitness, and healthy eating trends. In addition, the natural ingredients supplier says that pomegranate molasses, harissa, sumac, edible flowers and Hawaiian flavours are set to whet the appetite of UK consumers.
Tasneem Backhouse, joint managing director at EHL Ingredients, shares the following predictions on food ingredient trends for the year ahead.
Consumers of all ages are becoming increasingly experimental with their food choices, with a surge in those following a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian diet. Veganism is shedding its image as a new wave of fashionable, younger consumers adopts the animal-free diet and research by the Vegan Society reveals that there are now around 542,000 vegans in aged between 15 and 35.
According to EHL, its ingredient blends are ideal for adding flavour to plant-based dishes, with Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, North African, Creole and Mediterranean cuisines growing in popularity within street food and pop up markets, restaurants and at-home dining. Food manufacturers and processors can add these blends to roasted vegetables, pulse-based dishes, pies and pasta, tacos and wraps, soups and stews to offer tasty and appealing vegan options.
Backhouse says, “Vegans of all ages are embracing an animal-free diet so it’s important to provide tasty and nutritious foods to meet this demand.
“Adding spices and blends brings colour, flavour, texture and taste to dishes, accompaniments and on the go snacks, so it’s essential to offer quality, authentic foods for today’s well-travelled and culturally diverse consumers.”
There is also a rise in food allergy sufferers in the UK and around 1% of Britons suffer from coeliac disease (gluten allergy), with around 12% of adults choosing to follow a gluten-free diet. To feed this demand, food manufacturers and retailers are under pressure to bring high quality, differentiated, gluten-free products to market.
This year, EHL launched a 20-strong range of certified gluten-free herbs and spices in response to increasing consumer demand for free-from food products.
Ingredients in the new gluten-free range include: dried ground turmeric, cassia, star anise, oregano, ginger, chilli, coriander seed, paprika and nutmeg. Herbs such as dried parsley, sage, basil and pepper have also been added to the list – for food manufacturers, bakers, meat processors and caterers to add to formulations and recipes for soups, sauces, marinades and meal kits, and world foods such as curries, tagines and stews.
“Consumers are looking for authentic, quality foods, flavours and textures in the free-from aisles and our new gluten-free range offers food manufacturers and retailers quality, versatile, ingredients to create traditional favorites and innovative dishes for consumers to enjoy,” Backhouse says.
Consumers’ love of world foods and unusual flavours has led to lesser known cuisines and ingredients becoming kitchen essentials.
Pomegranate molasses has appeared in several celebrity cookbooks and it’s set to be a cookery essential in 2018. It’s a great replacement for balsamic vinegar or soy sauce, and makes a perfect meat marinade or glaze, as well as a syrupy addition to dips, sauces, soups and stews.
Spice blends and pastes such as harissa and sumac are the new condiments on the block. They can enhance hummus and dips, meat, fish and vegetable dishes, burgers and chicken wings, soups and stews.
Edible flowers make a perfect decoration for food photos for the Instagram generation and bring powerful flavours to dishes. Eye-catching, colourful flower petals and buds including lavender, rose, and violets, make a great addition to cakes, biscuits and bakery items as well as jams and jellies and vibrant salads.
Hawaiian food involves lots of fish and raw vegetables and poke (poh-kay) bowls are expected to be the next healthy fast food trend. It’s important for chefs to recreate authentic flavours with the right herb and spice blends, oils, sauces and seeds to give consumers a real flavour of Hawaii.
Backhouse concludes, “We’re always looking out for the next big food trend and our new product development team is constantly working on sourcing new ingredients and developing new herb and spice blends to suit the ever changing tastes and preferences of British consumers.
“Retailers, brands and food manufacturers can capitalise on these emergent trends to ensure they are meeting demand and making products more readily available, increasing convenience and choice for consumers in 2018 and beyond.”
EHL’s products are available in bulk to food manufacturers and meat processors, wholesalers and cash and carries, caterers and chefs, co-packers, multiple retailers, health food stores and large co-operatives.
EHL stocks around 50 blends and seasonings and over 200 conventional and organic ingredients, including: herbs and spices, beans, lentils and peas, herbs, nuts and dried fruits, seeds and flakes, grains and rice, oils, vinegars, salts, sugars and syrups, as well as other ingredients such as flour, honey and fruit concentrates.