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Trends come and trends go. And when they go? Sometimes we think of yesteryear’s trends with fond nostalgia, but other times… we just pretend they didn’t happen. *Shudder* So what were the best and worst trends of 2018? And better yet where does that leave us for 2019?

The Best

Brands Take a Stand: Last month, we wrote about how brands are navigating politics. It’s inspiring to see brands encouraging consumers to vote and to see them honing in on their niche.

Third Wave Coffee: Consciously Grown, meticulously roasted, and full bodied. Third wave coffee (find the story in our April Report) has been making our mornings better all year.

Rescue Brews: Read the September report to learn how brewers are applying their creativity to tackle waste. These brands are truly making a difference that, if successful, will reduce the amount of waste in our landfills.

The Worst

50 Shades of Water: In March, we sampled bottle after bottle of water at Expo West (caffeinated, exotic, you name it), and we’re still cracking jokes about it. Does the world really need another version of water enrobed in disposable plastic?

Frequent Fryers: Dubbed the new Instant Pot by Good Housekeeping, fryers brought the heat in 2018. We’re not against them, we’re just not convinced they’re everything they’re cracked up to be.

Peak Pickle: Some say peak pickle hit in April. Let’s hope it’s behind us because while we love pickles, we have no desire to drink a pickle flavored slushie.

A Peek at 2019

Wild Yeast: Beyond kraut, natural fermentation is trickling into all kinds of dishes — especially bread. We’re talking about sourdough, people, and we’re ready.

Back to Basics: Decision fatigue caused by the constant stream of media at our fingertips may lead consumers to seek simpler, no-brainer meal options rather than over-the-top-for-the-‘gram combos.

Functional Botanicals: So far we’ve seen ashwagandha, reishi, and hemp take the stage (just to name a few). But we think we’ve only seen the start of the functional botanical trend. Expect to see many more plants finding their way into food as consumers open their minds to new flavors.

What This Means for Brands

So, should you adjust your 2018 marketing plan and invest resources into creating a new product to catch these waves? Only time can tell which trends will take the world by storm and which will live fast and die young (AKA, fads, AKA, pickle slushies). But there are a few things you can do to figure our which trends to latch onto: Social listening can tell you whether your consumers are even vaguely interested in a topic. Talking to your consumers directly can help you understand if they’re adapting products on their own because something is missing in their life; And of course, social media is the ultimate place to test the waters.


References and Further Reading

Refinery 29 – We’ve Reached Peak Pickle

Wonder Press

Caitlin Sherwood

Caitlin Sherwood

Caitlin's expertise is in marketing and branding for natural food and wellness companies. She’s passionate about both the creative and analytical aspects of digital marketing. In addition to working with our food and organics industry clients, she also runs a blog and develops healthy recipes. When she’s not at work or in the kitchen, she’s rock climbing, biking or practicing yoga.