At the beginning of the year, iTi Tropical’s Innovation Team wrote a blog that predicted food trends, and how tropical fruits would be at the top of the list of 2018’s greatest ingredients. Let’s revisit these predicted trends and see how they came to fruition!

Every year, major food publications, data researchers, and even grocery stores publish their best forecasts of upcoming food trends. After digging into these anticipated trends, and identifying some of the major themes, iTi felt strongly that tropical fruit ingredients could emerge as one of the most unique and versatile ways to set food and beverage products apart to truly shine in 2018!

#Trending: Plant-Based Products

Plant-based products have been popping up everywhere! The negative effects of the production and consumption of meat on both the environment and consumers’ health has become a common reason why many people have been reconsidering meat altogether. In 2018, many consumers reduced the amount of meat they consume, or even eliminated it from their diets completely.

Because of this consistent and growing trend, the plant-based diet increased in popularity as 2018 unfolded. To appeal to your vegan, vegetarian, and health-conscious customers, consider coconut cream as a creamy ingredient for your products. Coconut cream is non-dairy and can be easily substituted in many foods that use traditional dairy. Try it in sauces, ice creams, soups, creamers, whipped cream, and even condiments like mayonnaise.

#Trending: Clean Eating

While scrolling through your Instagram feed, or perusing popular health and wellness blogs, it’s likely that you’ve come across the hashtag #CleanEating. This popular term coincides with the plant-based trend, as well as the rise in consumers becoming increasingly aware of added or artificial ingredients in food products. Consumers continue to actively seek out products with fewer ingredients that they can easily pronounce. Clean eating continues to grow as a trend moving out of 2018, and into 2019.

iTi Tropicals offers 100% fruit products that are as clean as they come! Try acerola in place of ascorbic acid for a natural source of vitamin C. And don’t stop there! Use dragon fruit to give your products a brilliant pink color in place of artificial dyes!

#Trending: Food with Function

When it comes to health, functional ingredients are becoming more commonplace in food products. Citing specific benefits that your products will provide—such as offering naturally lower sugar, reducing inflammation, and increasing hydration or energy—will help those products stand out against the competition. In 2018, we continued to see functional food trends in the popularity of green tea, adaptogens, pre- and probiotics, protein, omega-3, herbs, and botanicals in products.

Tropical fruits are all-star ingredients, for both the functional benefits they provide and their unique, powerful and sometimes pleasantly unfamiliar flavors. For example, iTi Tropicals’ açaí is loaded with antioxidants, our guava delivers Vitamins A and C, and iTi coconut water has an abundance of electrolytes.

#Trending: Mocktails

Dry January, or “Dryuary” is a term you may see popping up in food and drink blogs and on menus as we approach the new year. Aligned with the other health-focused trends of 2018, this theme of consuming less or no alcohol grew this year, and will likely continue to grow in 2019. In place of traditional cocktails, consumers are now seeking flavorful beverage substitutes when out at bars and restaurants.

Tropical fruits have an exotic taste and pair well with sparkling water to give a hint of sweetness and acidity. Bartenders can mimic cocktail-like flavors with tropical fruit juices, like passionfruit, coconut water and mango, in combination with fresh herbs and botanicals, to create sophisticated, delicious mocktails.

Learn more about iTi Tropicals’ on-trend ingredients and formulation solutions at