Hobby Farms Editors
February 18, 2009

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There are trends all around us—in our clothing, popular recreational activities, and, yes, even our food.

Being directly connected to food production, as farmers, we need to keep an eye on what’s happening among foodies around the world.

You never know where there’s an opportunity to expand our operations or meet the needs of a new food trend.

The American Farm Bureau’s “Foodie News” blogger Cyndie Sirekis recently recapped five food trends from 2008 and what she predicts are five food trends on the horizon for 2009.

2008 Recap

  1. Local foods.
    While interest in using locally grown products grew, the New Oxford American Dictionary even named “locavore” (person who seeks out and consumes locally grown food) its word of the year.
  2. Celebrity chefs.
    You can hardly change a television station or open a magazine without seeing a show or article featuring a celebrity chef.
  3. Higher food prices.
    Because of widely varying energy costs, food prices rose and fell throughout the year.
  4. Food safety and traceability.
    The safety and traceability of our foods were issues brought to the forefront this year amidst recalls and warnings.
  5. Food companies listen to consumers.
    “In an effort to stay ahead of competitors and capture shrinking consumer grocery dollars, Butterball, Wegmans, Starbucks, Whole Foods Market and other companies change product offerings in response to consumer feedback,” Sirekis writes.

Ahead for 2009

  1. Farm-to-table cuisine.
    It’s the local-foods movement at its finest, driven by consumers wanting to know where their food comes from, how it is prepared and who prepares it.
  2. Cutting back and bargains rule.
    Look for more people making budget-conscious decisions regarding their food and dining choices.
  3. Restaurants go high-tech.
    “High-tech entertainment offerings to entice diners will grow at restaurants. At UWink in Los Angeles and Mountain View, Calif., customers place food orders at touch screens that do double-duty as video game consoles,” Sirekis writes.
  4. Buckwheat, the next hot grain.
    Can you grow some? The use of buckwheat is expected to grow in popularity among chefs.
  5. American Pinot Blanc takes off.
    “Known as the ‘poor man’s Chardonnay,’ critics gush over the bright acidity of Pinot Blanc, which pairs well with flavorful pasta dishes. Wineries in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and California’s Napa Valley offer several bottlings for less than $25,” Sirekis writes.

How have 2008 trends impacted your operation—positively or negatively? What can you do to capitalize on what’s expected to be hot in 2009?

Read Sirekis’s whole blog entry at www.fb.org/blog2/blog1.php/2008/12/19/food-trends-a-look-back-at-2008-a-look-a-2009.

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