The Glownut, courtesy of Black Star Pastry in Australia.
In Sterling-Rice Group’s new list of culinary trend predictions, Instagram-ready dishes will be one of the trends driving product development in 2018. According to Liz Moskow, culinary director at Sterling-Rice Group, the annual report is the culmination of in-depth research, international travel, and input from more than 175 chefs, restauranteurs, and food experts.

“We look at what’s happening in society, what’s happening in technology, in the environment, in the economy, and in politics that’s influencing consumer behavior,” Moskow tells Food Business News.

The objectification of food will have a tremendous influence on the industry in the coming year. The rise of social media has set the stage for such Instagram-worthy innovations as Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, a colorful blended beverage that created plenty of online buzz during its limited run. For many millennials, it has become second nature to snap a photo of a meal or beverage before the first bite or sip, Ms. Moskow says.

“The picture is more than a picture of the food; it’s documenting where they’ve been and what they’ve seen and what they’ve eaten,” she says. “Now we’re starting to see these experiences and/or dishes start coming out with the sole purpose of engaging with a camera lens.”

For example, at Black Star Pastry in Australia, consumers may order a Glownut, a donut with icing made with riboflavin, which glows under ultraviolet light. The radiant pastries were introduced earlier this summer at Sydney’s Vivid Festival and quickly became a sensation, not just in Australia but around the world.