Chef of World’s Best Restaurant unveils 2018 top food and drink trends

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Predictions: Joan Roca (centre) worked with insights experts to produce the trends for this year
Predictions: Joan Roca (centre) worked with insights experts to produce the trends for this year
Joan Roca, chef-patron of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, has announced the expected trends in food and drink for this year and beyond.

The chef, along with global trends specialist Brand Positive, unveiled the first Estrella Damm Food and Drinks Trends Report ​at Manchester’s first Gastronomy Congress held at the Victoria Warehouse, Stretford, earlier this week (Wednesday 21 March).

The congress was created by Estrella Damm in 2014, to help it achieve its goal of contributing to the global exchange of “gastronomic intelligence and to the thriving sphere of contemporary world cuisine through synergies and entertainment events”.

Previously, the congress has taken place in Miami, Lisbon, Melbourne, London and Edinburgh.

The report, which forecasts the emerging spring/summer food and drink trends for 2018, revealed a series of insights into the latest seasonal development and opportunities within the gastronomy sector.

Joan Roca, whose venue El Celler de Can Roca in Girona was twice ranked number one in the world by The Morning Advertiser​’s sister title, World’s 50 Best Restaurants,​ worked with Brand Positive to provide insight into the emergence of five key areas of the food and drink world to take note of this spring and summer.

The trends are:

Foraging and botanicals

The rise of wild foods and modern-day foraging has led to ‘forgotten food’ such as wood sorrel, ramsons and lichen appearing on menus across the UK.

Many ingredients are only available for a limited time throughout the year. They are ‘hyper-seasonal’, which leads to an intuitive style of cooking that is ‘hyperlocal’.

Local/global suppliers

Consumers are seeking authentic ingredients and dishes that speak of a region’s heritage and highlight local produce.

Diners and chefs are increasingly conducting their own ingredient discovery tours and have been more willing to travel the world to experience a true taste of a region on a plate.

Food waste and the circular economy

Food waste is high on the consumer agenda, leading operators to offer ‘root to stem’, ‘nose to tail’ and ‘pollen to petal’ menus, which use all parts of the plant or animal, such as celery root, beet leaves, 'glamorous' offal and whole cod heads.

Other waste is being utilised is fermenting, pickling and preserving for spring/summer recipes, while packaging is being recycled into crockery.

Plant-based food

Meat is becoming increasingly seen as a treat, rather than a staple, with a ‘quality up, quantity down’ mindset becoming more prevalent in response to the ethical and environmental impact of the meat industry.

Consumers are looking for healthier, sustainable diets and are turning to plant-based produce such as nut and plant ‘mylk’, plant proteins and unconventional sources of mushrooms, root vegetables and algae.


Transparency and integrity in food and drink production are the key ingredients in earning consumer trust.

Consumers want to be able to trace a product back through an ethical supply chain to where it was produced, setting a benchmark for advocacy and loyalty.

Roca said: “I’m proud to be sharing my knowledge and thoughts with the world through the first ever Estrella Damm Food and Drink Trends Report​.

“As chefs, we have a responsibility to raise awareness and encourage new ways of enjoying food and drink, and this year is undoubtedly the year of the planet.

“Our health as human beings is deeply related to the health of the planet, just as the health of the planet is deeply related to the health of human beings, and I am committed to promoting this through my work in the years ahead.”

Estrella Damm UK country manager James Healey said: “Gastronomy is a key focus for Estrella Damm and we celebrate beer’s place as the ideal beverage for pairing or cooking with across a multiplicity of foods and dishes.

“Working with the incredibly talented and creative chef Joan Roca and the Brand Positive team, this year has identified transparency and the wellness of our planet as key trends for 2018, which is very exciting for us, in line with our business ethos, and a key opportunity for food and drinks businesses in the UK.

“Estrella Damm has been brewed using local Mediterranean ingredients and the original recipe since 1876, so it is great to see that knowing where your food and drinks come from is becoming important to not only us and restaurateurs but also to consumers.”

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