It has been an active year in the food world. The pace of change has picked up and interest in food and diet has never been higher.
So what will we see in 2018? What will we add to our shopping trolleys? Here are my picks.
Interest in meat alternatives continues — supermarkets report huge growth in these foods during the past year and if we follow what's happening overseas, this is likely to keep going.
I haven't tried the much-discussed Sunfed chicken-free chicken, but this idea — meat alternatives for meat eaters — seems to be appealing to more of us.
It's driven by our interest in cutting down, rather than cutting out, meat, as well as another group who are giving up eating animals altogether and going vegetarian or vegan.
New reports from the World Health Organisation's cancer agency and the World Cancer Research Fund on diet and cancer due early in 2018 may affect this. And so may the ongoing bigger-picture discussion questioning of New Zealand's future as a sustainable producer of animal products.
Shorter ingredient lists
We're more interested than ever in what's in our food and where it came from.
This will show up in more emphasis on shorter, simpler ingredient lists on all types of foods.
We're already seeing it now, with marketers trumpeting their three-and-four ingredient products.
It's a good thing. Expect to see more of it.
Rejection of waste
I can see 2018 being the year we really turn a corner on two issues of sustainability: food waste and excess packaging.
Each household throws out hundreds of dollars' worth of edible food each year. This bugs most of us, and we're tackling it by buying less and by finding new ways of using up what we buy.
Consumers are starting to reject excessive packaging, too. We can recycle our soft plastic food packaging and there's a growth in bulk-bin, fill-your-own-container stores. In 2018, we'll see the end of plastic bags in supermarkets. We'll be wanting even less plastic by year's end.
Healthier fast food
Expect to see more fresh, healthy fast food this year.
I'm loving the spread of food trucks serving up everything from healthy hangi kai to vegan ice cream.
Poke places keep popping up serving the healthy Hawaiian tuna and salad dish. And mainstream fast food outlets are introducing plant-based and healthier options.
New ways to shop
The food kit delivery business has really had an impact on how many of us buy food — think My Food Bag, Woop and others. Supermarkets have noticed, of course so they're offering their own food kits. Expect to be offered more convenient ways to get dinner on the table.
We can talk directly to food companies now, as never before, through social media. Food companies not on board with connecting — and responding in timely fashion — to their customers are unlikely to survive.
We can expect it to become the norm to have direct (and often public) conversations with the people who make our food.
Novel and new
Words you're likely to see more of on labels in 2018: fermented and paleo-friendly. Fermented foods are great for our gut health, potentially, and will see more growth this year. Paleo-friendly is trickier to define, but for better or worse, it's a popular food trend.