By: Pooja Sharma

The year 2017 saw a lot of changes in the food market. With people choosing more and more whole foods over processed ones, baked over fried, and organic over inorganic, there is definitely a lot to look out for in 2018. As food trends change, fast food markets do too. Here are top 10 fast food trends to watch out for in the year 2018.

  1. Fluid Pricing will knock the doors soon.

Fluid Pricing is a term that is specifically used for the travel industry. With various food companies tracking in the consumer data using their software and speed of light technology, they are changing the base fair prices of in-app menus, discount coupons, and the holiday offers that they put in for their consumers. The fast food restaurants are soon going to turn their normal pricing to this dynamic pricing pattern by tracking consumer’s personal data and preferences to provide on-the-moment deals for overstocked food, charge high prices at peak moment, and adjust the prices according to the location.

  1. Automating the experience

Technology will transform the food space in 2018 more than ever. Consumer demands for comfort, convenience, customization and a need for fast pace service has all driven automation in dining restaurants. Labor restrictions have also somehow contributed to the need of technology in the food industry. More and more fast food chains are resorting to chatbots and artificial intelligence along with kiosks and chat screens to take orders from social media to smart TV’s. Domino’s and Chipotle have already taken a step ahead and tested Drone Delivery. Next up that the consumers can expect is to be able to book their choice of seats during reservation too.

  1. Gut Friendly Checks In

With so many diets like Paleo, raw vegan, vegan, etc. already in place, there is one that is yet to create a rage – The Gut Friendly Diet. We can see many restaurants in US adding a gut friendly edition to their menus by adding fermented foods, such as: beets, sauerkraut, and kimchi as sides or adding them to the food to create a bright and bold flavor. We are not far away before we see a complete restaurant menu focusing on gut friendly food items.

  1. Social Media (as always) will rule!

Many foodgrammers are taking over Instagram to boost their blogs, YT channels, etc. And soon, restaurants will follow the pursuit, too. After all, nothing can beat the attractiveness and glamour of those little tiny squares. Fast food restaurants are also starting to increase their markets by reaching out to influencers, whose worthy fan following is increasing day by day.

  1. Morning Bite will go Backpacking

Ethnic variations in main meals has already taken over daily food. And this ethnic experimentation is soon going to move beyond Chinese, Mexican, and Italian. According to a research conducted this year, 34% of Americans were more interested in trying out new cuisines than they were a year ago. With such fascination building up, it is more than likely that we would soon have some new ethnic options for breakfast to excite our taste buds in 2018. We can already see some exotic morning dishes, like Chinese jianbing, Middle Eastern Shakshuka etc., showing up on menus.

  1. Beverages will turn on the show too

It is not just the breakfast and brunch that the Americans are looking for more flavor. They are extensively searching for variations in their beverages too. Many sellers and distributors have testified to consumers wanting more exotic flavors apart from the vast alternatives that they already sell. Drinks associated with cleansing (those with ginger, cayenne, and lime) are continuing to soar. Other beverages trending, include: charcoal lemonade, blood-orange based drinks, and anything associated with Matcha.

  1. Investing on Experience

Restaurants are investing on ideas and experience so that the consumers feel an urge to get in their car, drive to their restaurant, and come back again. By creating such an urge and thrill in their customers, it will be quite easy to maintain your safe space in the competitive environment. Those in business should focus on including more technology and social experiences at your restaurants such as allowing the diners to see their food while it is prepared or by having some other kinds of pure entertainment within the premises. Giving such social experiences will definitely be seen more of in 2018.

  1. Need for Speed

People are getting busier than ever, which means that the need for speed will soar in the next year too. And with the diners escalating in numbers, we can expect the numbers to rise off-premise (take-outs and delivery) too. We can most certainly see some new ways to accommodate pick up areas, drive thrus, takeaways and delivery. There are only limited ways to make them all speed up but with competition from grocery stores grab and go concept, we are not far away from witnessing some innovation in restaurants too.

  1. Old will become Gold again

With American digging into different parts of the world to savor some flavors from each place, we can expect some digging done from their own past too. Jewish Deli items, smoked items and cured meats have suddenly seen a rekindling. We can also expect some discovery (or rediscovery) of latkes, blintzes, etc. too.

  1. Food service distributors will face digital pressure

Traditional food service distributors are definitely going to face some pressure to delve into the fast paced technology that has already swept to end of the food chain. As most of the e-commerce chains threaten to steal significant share of the traditional food distributors, it is crucial that they amp up their food supply sources to embrace more of the online technologies. E-commerce giants, such as Amazon, are certainly going to push their price flexibility and convenience to perishable foods.

As the fast food restaurants continue on their roller coaster rides, there are obviously a lot more changes that we can expect to come out of 2018. Let’s hope all of these new trends take a step forward in food safety.