Last summer Instagram was filled with mouth-watering pictures of edible cookie dough, rolled ice cream and frozen rose. While these treats will likely still be on the menu this summer, they'll be joined by some newer dishes.
This summer, diners are craving sweeter treats, more robust flavors and diverse culinary adventures.
Social media remains one of the biggest drivers of these new trends, as shareable photos of quirky colored ice cream and carefully arranged acai bowls have dared diners to test these dishes out themselves and share their experiences with their followers and friends.
However, others are looking to explore new flavor profiles, Nancy Kelly Weimer, a food consultant for the natural food industry, told CNBC.
Here's a look at 9 delectable food trends to test out this summer:
Matcha is no longer just for your latte. Matcha powder, crushed green tea leaves, are making their way into more menu items.
From ice cream and macarons to matcha-covered strawberries and pancakes, expect to see more green this summer.
This Hawaiian specialty has cruised to the mainland and is quickly spreading across the U.S. Traditional poke, pronounced "po-kay," is cubed, fresh seafood (often raw ahi tuna or cooked octopus) mixed with soy sauce, green onions and sesame oil and served over rice.
Poke is cropping up everywhere, Weimer said. New iterations outside of the traditional poke bowl include wraps, salads and large pieces of sushi.
Improving digestive health is a huge trend in 2018, Weimer said. In the last year, a number of companies promoted apple cider vinegar tonics as homeopathic remedies and a cure-all for everything from acne to hangovers.
There are already a number of products on the market that are rich in probiotics and micro-organisms and aim to support digestive and immune health. Expect to see more of these gut-healthy food items throughout the year.
Tempeh, miso and kimchi are also likely to be added to menus across the restaurant industry as more consumers seek out their healthful benefits.
On the cob
Street festivals are a great place to try new and unique foods that you might not traditionally see on a restaurant menu. A trendy item hitting local fairs is elote, or Mexican corn, Kara Nielsen, the vice president of trends and marketing at CCD Innovation, told CNBC.
These ears of corn are roasted and covered in mayonnaise, sour cream, crema and spices and eaten by hand. So, grab some napkins before you chow down.
Indulge in these donuts
Sometimes the most "Instagram-able" foods are the most indulgent. While last summer was all about lofty milkshakes filled to the brim with ice cream and topped with cookies, brownies, sprinkles and whipped cream, this summer is all about donuts.
Expect to see unique flavor combinations and eye-catching decoration on this breakfast treat during the warmer months.
The buzz on bee pollen
The next time you order an acai bowl or avocado toast, don't be surprised if it is sprinkled with bee pollen. These crunchy little bits are packed by worker honeybees into pellets and are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Bee pollen is being used as a garnish for oatmeal bowls, ice cream and even donuts. Just be careful if you've never eaten bee pollen before, folks with pollen allergies could have severe reactions.
Goodbye, quinoa. Hello, farro!
Now that quinoa has gone mainstream, a number of grains are following in its path and becoming trendy. That includes farro.
Farro is an ancient whole grain with a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It is a versatile grain that can be used as rice, tossed in salad or made into soup.
Also be on the lookout for barley and colored rice, Nielsen said. These grains are also grabbing the spotlight.
As consumers look for healthier ways to snack, recipes for granola and oatmeal balls have become more prevalent, Anna Klainbaum, a food trend expert and writer, told CNBC. These bite-sized snacks are traditionally made with peanut butter, oats or granola, ground flax seed, chia seeds and honey.
They are often also packed with dried nuts, chocolate chips or shredded coconut. Packed with protein and fiber, these energy bites are a quick and convenient way to get a little boost while on the go.
Charcoal, well, everything.
Often called "goth" or "anti-unicorn," black-colored foods have been a hit on Instagram over the past year. From cupcakes and ice cream to pasta and bread, the internet cannot get enough of this dark trend.
While many chain restaurants abroad have resorted to squid ink to create a rich, dark black color for burger buns and pasta, others have gravitated toward activated charcoal. The ingredient, which gives food an ashy color, is touted as a "detoxer" and has lead to some incredibly decadent Instagram photos.
But, folks should be sure to eat and drink charcoal in moderation. While the ingredient is often used to remove toxins, aid in digestion and, in extreme cases, treat drug overdoses in a hospital, too much charcoal can cause vomiting and constipation. Not to mention, it can also make some medications ineffective.
Source CNBC, June 2018