If the holiday season didn't make it perfectly obvious that it's the end of the year, my inbox full of emails about 2019 food and beverage trends is a clear reminder. Each year, experts try to predict what will be big the next year.
Sometimes they're spot-on, like with the mocktail trend of 2018. Many bars are now creating quality non-alcoholic cocktails that rival boozy cocktails in complexity.
Sometimes trends take longer than a year to emerge, such as the ugly vegetable trend predicted for 2015. It didn't seem to be so hot four years ago, but it's back on the prediction list for 2019.
Here's a look at several food and drink trends that you may (or may not) end up seeing everywhere next year.
1. Water that's more than water
The Innovation Group's top 10 Food & Drink predictions say that wine water will be big in 2019. What is it? It's fruit-flavored water that's been infused with things like red grape skins and red wine extracts — things that will give the water the phenolic compounds found in red wine that may reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, inflammation, heart disease and obesity. Wine water has no alcohol, so it fits right in with the current non-alcoholic beverage trend. Fast Company says maple and cactus water will also be trendy.
2. Nootropic foods
Foods that are healthy for your brain are gaining popularity, reports Food and Drink Resources. Nootropics are drugs or supplements that promise cognitive benefits, and brain-healthy foods have been termed nootropic foods. Many of these foods you may already eat, such as eggs, turmeric, salmon and dark chocolate.
3. Ugly produce
Fast Company predicts that the trend that never became as big as predicted in 2015 may finally show up in 2019. Ugly produce is just as nutritious and delicious as its perfect-looking counterparts. Now that consumers are more aware of the problems of food waste, they may seek out imperfect fruits and vegetables that may have gone to waste in the past.
4. CBD-infused food and drink
Food and Drink Resources predicts that there will be a rise in CBD-infused food and drink. While the scientific evidence isn't quite there yet to prove that cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, manages physical pain, stress, anxiety and depression, as well as fight some diseases, there's plenty of anecdotal evidence. CBD oil is showing up on menus, being added to smoothies, cocktails and sauces for burgers and vegetables.
5. Foil pack dinners
Based on the number of pins they've received, Pinterest says packet dinners — frequently limited to camping trips and backyard grills before now — will be one of 2019's big cooking trends. While Pinterest doesn't explain the reasoning behind this trend, it may be because cooking everything in a foil or parchment pack, and then eating right from the foil, makes clean up much easier. There are no pots, pans or dishes to wash. The foil can be rinsed and recycled — or, if you are short on time, it can also go into the trash.
6. Eating at home
Forbes predicts more people will be eating at home due to the stabilization of grocery prices along with the rise in prices of dining out, rents and even tariffs. While people still spend half of their food income on eating out, the other half is for food consumed in home. But don't confuse this with a love of cooking. Many of these meals eaten at home come from meal kits or prepared foods from the supermarket.
7. Better frozen foods
In her predictions, Mareya Ibrahim — also known as the Fit Foodie — says a new wave of "real" food meals are available in the frozen food aisle that are better in flavor and quality, while leaving out unwanted ingredients. Brands like Good Food Made Simple and Evol have easy-to-cook frozen meals that are more nutritious and more varied in cuisines than the TV dinners of yesteryear. These frozen meals have organic ingredients, flavors from around the world and contain a lot less salt.