Here at CultureWaves, we like food. We also like thinking about food, and, so to that end ,we always partner with The Food Channel every year for annual food trend predictions! You can find the whole report here, but we wanted offer some perspective on a few of the stronger trends that we see making their way into the mainstream and influencing food in the coming year.

Cannabis: Many consumers, officials, chefs, and medical professionals have all slowly had a change of heart about the devil’s cabbage. Once a substance that was little understood outside of the counter-culture circles that embraced it, cannabis has come a long way to be moved onto plates and put in cups nationwide. Cannabis has seen adoption through several avenues—primarily wellness—but that has expanded recently to also include using cannabis for flavor—not just for its recreational or medicinal properties. That’s not to say the supposed medicinal properties of cannabis aren’t still a driving force; CBD has exploded to become one of the hottest ingredients across supplements, beverages, snacks and food—giving consumers the option of an all-natural alternative to traditional medical solutions, recognized as helpful for some ailments.

Blockchain Traceability: (We’ve previously written about the potential of blockchain here.) Blockchain was originally the security technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, enabling it to be both completely traceable and anonymous at the same time as a digital open ledger. While bitcoin and other cryptos have seen something of an unceremonious fall from grace, blockchain has shown itself to be adaptable for any number of categories, especially starting in food. From farm-to-table to logistics and shipping, blockchain is set to revolutionize how we track and monitor products by enabling a new level of transparency and accountability.

Food Philanthropy:Appealing to consumers’ more generous side or sense of charity is not a new concept, but the expectations that consumers hold for charitable giving have changed. Gone are the days where a majority of the burden of choice is on consumers—brands and organizations now make charity an inherent part of the brand. Giving is not just an add-on service or something you can throw into your virtual cart while online chopping. Charity and giving have become a part of brands’ identities, as giving back and community support have become differentiators for consumers looking to make decisions between brands—especially at a time when consumer loyalty is so fragile.

For more information on Food Channel’s 2019 Food Trends, you can go here.

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