You like new products. We do too! Actually, I’ve expressed that sentiment before on this page—and I’m excited to say it again on the eve of a new year. In this case, our new product is this December issue, which is entirely dedicated to 2018 forecasts and predictions. 

It’s here I’m reminded that “it’s not what you know—but who you know.” Personally, I embrace this saying because I live it every day. You see, I’m not particularly skilled in anything from mathematics to masonry and I’ve learned to make friends who have those skills. Of course, I tell my new friends that I can write clever poems or songs for them. When a friend moves, I’m also helpful at carrying light to moderately heavy boxes.

More true confessions. Despite my 30 years of covering new food and beverage products and trends, I’m not skilled at dramatic, “big picture” predictions. So when it came to assembling this extensive issue, I knew we needed bigger, better brains. That instinctively led me to other skills that I do possess: emailing and telephone dialing.

The result of our efforts is Prepared Foods’ first annual “Predictions” issue. You’ll see we’ve literally filled it with insights and forecasts from cover to cover. Arranged alphabetically, these articles span everything from beverages and botanical ingredients to predictions for next year’s next-gen starches and sweeteners.

More specifically, you’ll find three different perspectives.

Big Picture: What are next year’s most popular food and beverage tastes and technologies? What are consumers thinking—and why?  This issue offers a blend of retail and foodservice perspectives from thought-leading national consultants and experts.

Close-Up:  I will momentarily brag on Prepared Foods’ own David Feder. Our executive technical editor is insightful and knowledgeable enough to author several ingredient articles. In this case, he has either written and/or procured expert articles on tomorrow’s trending colors; fats and oils; starches, flours and fibers; sweeteners; emerging functional ingredients; flavors; proteins; and botanicals.

Panoramic, Side-to-Side View: New product development is a cross-functional team sport—involving critical insights and input from many more experts. For that reason, we bring you additional predictions on interrelated topics of packaging, next year’s regulatory outlook, nutrition and diet.

We hope this first annual forecast issue helps inform and guide new product development discussions in the coming months ahead!