Food and Beverage Trends to Spot in 2018

By Wilbert Jones

Photo credit: Brooklyn Crafted

As the food and beverage industry puts its new products on the shelves of grocery stores for 2018, most are making sure customers will have the choice of “not buying the same old soup, reheated again.” Flavors that are familiar to consumers are being added to products that have been around for decades.

Eliot’s Adult Nut Butters recently launched a line of nut butters made with global-flavored ingredients. Their product line includes a Garam Masala Peanut Butter, Expresso Nib Peanut Butter, Honey Chipotle Peanut Butter and a Chocolate Chili Almond Butter.

Manufacturer, Stonewall Kitchen has new line of specialty jams containing the ingredient bacon – Bourbon Bacon Jam, Maple Bacon Onion Jam, and Maple Bacon Aioli.

Many food experts believe the word specialty has replaced the word gourmet, which is now used to describe and sell products containing unique ingredients.

ALDI has a specialty product called Hot & Sweet Chili Jam used to enhance flavor on appetizers and hor d’oeuvres. Suggested usage includes spreading some over brie, camembert, or crème cheese or with a sliced baguette.

Keeping it Simple

For the past few years, the popular trend of city hotels and restaurant chefs keeping bee hives on top of their establishments has created a large range of honeys with unique, tasty flavors produced by urban bees.  Soaps and lotions are also made. These bees have a lower mortality rate and a higher honey yield than bees in rural areas.

Sweet Beginnings, a Chicago-based African-American owned company which is a producer of urban bees, uses raw natural honey to manufacture a line of lotions, lip balms, body creams, scrubs and shower gels. These products can be found in natural specialty retail stores such as Whole Foods Market. Sweet Beginnings employs men and women returning from incarcerations – an excellent way to help reduce high unemployment in underserved communities.

Less is More  

Food and beverage products made with simple ingredients continue to become more popular due to the increase of plant-based diets by consumers.

Zupa Norma Superfood Soups created a line of flavorful ready-to-sip superfood soups blended from seeds, skin of the plants – all organic. Flavors include Tomato Gazpacho, Cucumber Avocado and Carrot Coconut Lime – sold in 2-packs bottles, in retails stores across the country.

Brooklyn Crafted Ginger Beers & Ales has a line of beverages made with 100% real, unfiltered pieces of ginger with flavors of Extra Spicy Ginger Beer, Sugar Free Ginger Beer, Sugar Free Ginger Ale Mango.

Spotting Trends

Last September, Bon Appetit presented Chicago Gourmet and hosted its annual food and beverage tasting event which drew nearly every celebrity chef with some type of media platform. Trending ingredients such as bourbon whiskey was used to make signature cocktails, appetizers, entrees and desserts. Raising the bar – Chicago-based Stan’s Donut created a donut made with ingredients from the popular Chicago Mix popcorn (carmen and cheese flavors). Rosemary herbs were used to infused vodka and gin for creating artisan cocktails.

Have a trend to share?  Be sure to comment below as well as your thoughts on the trends shared.

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The Pretty Fork Launches Destination Dining America: A 66-Course Culinary Experience

The Pretty Fork, Seattle’s own ‘secret dining’ experience, today launched Destination Dining America.  This is a not-to-miss experience spanning 4 major American cities and 66-courses from 12 of the best restaurants in the nation.

Adventurers will visit 5 restaurants wielding Michelin-stars, 4 of which were recognized as the world’s 50 best in 2017, along with 7 local favorites. They all have one thing in common: it is rare you can get a reservation at any of them.

Destination Dining America will depart April 18th, 2018 from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and will return April 30th, 2018.

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Wall Wine Rack Series Debuting on Real Housewives of Atlanta

One of the most important factors Wine Cellar Innovations considers when developing new wine racking products is space-efficiency. It’s right up there with functionality and style. Not everyone will have the right kind of space for a formal wine cellar project. Providing wine racking units that can address all types of wine storage needs has always been one of WCI’s major goals. This is definitely the inspiration for the Wall Wine Racks collection. These small but highly functional units were created in a classic riddling rack standard. As they are wall-mounted, they can go into almost any available wall space in the home. There’s no need to stress about having a proper wine room because the Wall Wine Racks make bottle storage possible anywhere in one’s home.

The practical configurations of the units will allow one to just insert the wine bottles by the neck into the available slot. The bottle comes out perpendicular to the rack but is securely supported from the inside with special notches. As an added bonus, the racking style is such that the bottle labels are visible due to the body of the bottle sticking out. This makes it more convenient to organize one’s collection which is not possible with a neck forward design. The racks are made from Premium Redwood with a variety of stain and finish options available, including lacquer and WCI’s latest Whitewash and Opaque White stains. Space-efficiency is definitely taken to another level with the Wall Wine Rack Series.

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B.GOOD Announces Search for 2018 Customer of the Year

Farm-to-table restaurant rewarding one customer with free food for a year and other unique perks

B.GOOD, an international and mission-driven fast casual restaurant chain, today announced it will start the search for its Customer of the Year. In 2018, one customer will receive a free meal a day for a year, a restaurant named in their honor for a week, and a two-day trip to Boston to develop a new dish with Chef Tony Rosenfeld.

“Customer of the Year has been a long-standing tradition for B.GOOD and allows us to celebrate the people who make us who we are today,” said Anthony Ackil, Co-Founder and CEO of B.GOOD. “Every year, I look forward to seeing the unique ways our loyal customers showcase their love for B.GOOD.”

To enter, customers are asked to tell or show in their own way why they should be the 2018 Customer of the Year. Entries will be accepted online at now through February 5, 2018. Voting will be open to the public February 7, 2018 through February 8, 2018, at The winner will be announced on March 4, 2018.

Past entries include videos, poems, songs, and other creative activities about B.GOOD. 2017 winner, Bianca, created a music video professing her love for B.GOOD.

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USBG Launches Cocktail Classique Competition Sponsored by Lucid® Absinthe

The United States Bartenders’ Guild today announced a national cocktail contest, sponsored by Lucid Absinthe Supérieure, to find the next Cocktail Classique Champion.

Open to any working mixologist across the country, the contest seeks to find the talent behind the most creative cocktails using Lucid Absinthe.  The winning mixologist will be awarded a trip to the Combier Distillery in the Loire Valley, France, where Lucid Absinthe is made according to traditional French methods.

Once a core ingredient in most classic cocktails, absinthe was banned in the United States for 95 years. Following efforts by research scientist turned distiller T.A. Breaux, the ban was repealed in 2007, and Lucid Absinthe Supérieure became the first authentic absinthe to be legally sold in the US.

“It’s been more than 10 years since the repeal of the ban, yet many mixologists are still exploring the best ways to use absinthe beyond a rinse,” said Keri Meuret, Brand Manager, Lucid Absinthe.  “We’re thrilled to partner with the USBG to educate their members and the US mixology community as a whole about authentic absinthes and to encourage them to experiment and find innovative ways to accent the botanicals at the core of this wildly versatile spirit.”

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Revolutionary New Book Shows How to Lose Weight by Eating Out at Restaurants and Drinking Wine

Fred Bollaci, a trusts and estates attorney, was morbidly obese and told by his doctor that his life could be cut short if he didn’t turn things around. He lost 150 pounds over one year and has kept it all off for seven years using his proven four-phase plan that he describes in his highly-anticipated forthcoming book, The Restaurant Diet: How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight (January 15, 2018; Mango Publishing Group). Recently, Reader’s Digest called Bollaci’s story one of “The Most Inspirational Weight-Loss Transformations.”

Bollaci, with several hundred thousand dedicated fans on social media and on his blog, shares his experience eating healthy gourmet cuisine and fine wines while shedding unwanted pounds. Bollaci, a sommelier, constructed a diet that values quality, not quantity, in all aspects of life.

Gabriel Kreuther, Michelin Star Chef and Restauranteur, calls this book “game-changing.”

Bollaci Reveals:

  • Dozens of strategies for working with chefs, restaurateurs, and wait staff to ensure
    a healthy and fulfilling dining experience.
  • How to eat without veering from your diet when at a business lunch, traveling, or living
    a busy lifestyle.
  • How to avoid common dieting mistakes and become empowered by a non-restrictive diet.
  • As a foodie, how you can tackle the emotional issues and setbacks linked to overeating.
  • 125 recipes from 100 acclaimed restaurants nationwide, plus 25 from Fred’s own kitchen.

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Let’s Get Cooking! Start the New Year Right with a Free Healthy Soul Food Cookbook

Joint Project Between Transamerica Center for Health Studies and the Association of Black Women Physicians Promotes Healthier Eating

The Healthier Traditions Cookbook: Soul Food, a healthy twist on traditional Southern dishes, features 17 classic recipes and is available for complimentary download today. The cookbook, a collaboration of Transamerica Center for Health Studies® (TCHS) with the Association of Black Women Physicians (ABWP), helps promote making simple ingredient substitutions to classic Southern dishes that increase nutritional value while keeping the soulful heartiness of favorite southern dishes. Each recipe was adapted and tested by two nutritionists to ensure an increase in nutritional value and decrease in caloric value.

Recipes in the cookbook include Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, Pan-fried Catfish, Smothered Pork Chops, and, leaving room for dessert, classics like Peach Cobbler. Each recipe includes a breakdown of the calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, fiber and protein content of the dish. In addition, how-to videos that highlight the preparation of some of the dishes are available on TCHS’s website and YouTube channel.

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Chicken Salad Chick Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary with A 10-Day Birthday Celebration And Guest Appreciation Day

Fast Casual Restaurant Concept Honors Its Guests With 10 Days of Giveaways 

Chicken Salad Chick, the nation’s only southern inspired, fast casual chicken salad restaurant concept, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month by thanking guests for their loyal support over the last decade. The brand is holding its annual Guest Appreciation Day, but is amplifying the celebration this year with 10 days of giveaways to honor its milestone 10thbirthday. Taking place at Chicken Salad Chick’s more than 80 locations across 11 states, Guest Appreciation Day is a thank you to all guests who’ve impacted its tremendous growth and ongoing success since the brand’s debut.

Chicken Salad Chick will kick off its 10 days of giveaways on January 15, leading up to Guest Appreciation Day on January 25 where visitors will receive a free scoop of chicken salad. Daily giveaway specials are available at all locations for all guests and include:

  • Monday, Jan. 15 – Buy one large Quick Chick, get one small Quick Chick free.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 16 – Trio Tuesday: Free upgrade to a Chick Trio with a Chick purchase.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 17 – Kids eat free with the purchase of a Chick Special.*
  • Thursday, Jan. 18 – Double Points Day: Loyalty members earn 2 points per $1 spent.
  • Friday, Jan. 19 – Free Drink Friday: Limited edition stadium cup for the first 100 guests who purchase a Chick Special.

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