Food Trends: looking forward at 2009

I don’t have a crystal ball or even the ability to read tea leaves to help me make food trend predictions. Instead, I have to do a lot of reading and listening to figure out what will be on our lips both literally and conversationally in the future.

Although my full length Topline Trends quarterly newsletter will be out mid-month, today I offer a preview of what I see on the horizon for our menus in 2009. This year, like all the ones before it, promises interesting developments in food trends:

  1. Stevia:  this sweetener, although not yet granted GRAS status, is already being used to formulate new products like soft drinks.
  2. Pepper: While artisan and specialty salts will remain popular in 2009, unusual and exotic peppercorns will become just as important to gourmets.
  3. Craft beer:  Expect interest in craft beer to continue to grow and for more restaurants to offer a selection of such brews to their patrons.
  4. Relaxation Drinks:  Forget energy drinks, the new wave of soft drinks will calm you down and help to release stress.
  5. Molecular gastronomy at home: Although it won’t become mainstream, more home cooks will start to dabble in mad kitchen science with the aid of new cookbooks by the masters of molecular gastronomy.
  6. Jelly: From head cheese and aspic to jellied cocktails and candies, the molecular gastronomy craze has revitalized a retro favourite.
  7. Brain Food:  More products that claim to help focus, revitalize or nourish our brains will be launched this year. 
  8. Sprouted Grains: From whole wheat to whole grains to sprouted grains, our interest in complex carbohydrates will continue.
  9. Premeasured seasonings: Ideal for occasional cooks and novices, more spices and seasonings will be sold in premeasured amounts so that people can cook faster and with more confidence than in the past. 
  10. Humane Treatment for Farm Animals: With new legislation in California governing the the treatment of farm animals, the rest of North America will evaluate and discuss how the creatures that are raised for food are treated. 
  11. Spelt:  Launches of products that contain spelt are growing fast. Look for this ancient grain on your table in 2009.

Hungry for more details?  Come back often since over the next few weeks I’ll be expanding on many of these topics here in my blog.  Likewise, if you have any predictions of your own, feel free to jot them below.


11 Responses to Food Trends: looking forward at 2009

  1. Cheryl says:

    I find #4 especially interesting, and promising. I avoid caffeine and energy drinks like the plague, but the concept of a “relaxation drink” has me intrigued. Just don’t sell me camomile tea at triple the price and convince me it’s a brand new product. What would a relaxation drink would have in it? herbs?

  2. Cheryl’s chamomile comment made me laugh. I find herbal tea relaxing as it. Any more calm-factors infused into the mix and I’d fall asleep while drinking it.

    Number 10, the ethical treatment of animals, excites me the most. Kudos to California for leading the way — yet again.

    Looking forward to reading about these trends. Although I’m not big on jellied anything, I’m open to more of your pepper recommendations!

  3. Natashya says:

    These sound like excellent picks. I am especially excited about the gourmet peppercorns.
    ..and I so want a sous vide system for my kitchen…

  4. Diva says:

    Really interesting list and I enjoyed your review of the 2008 trends as well, Dana. Color me excited about the peppercorns too … and wary of the jelly and molecular trends … brrr!

  5. Diva says:

    P.S. – I think you’re spot-on with the sprouted grains pick as well. While flipping through the latest issues of Bon Appetite and Prevention, both had recipes calling for sprouted grain breads. Yum!

  6. Jude says:

    #4 sounds alright to me. Need something to negate the coffee and stress

    And it’s about time for #3 methinks.

  7. Very intertesting post. I am excited for the jelly craze. Something so retro, but still so new about it.

  8. Shari says:

    Love the trends! I saw a premeasuring sugar dispenser, and it’s on my wish list!

  9. leevin says:

    wow!!! genius!!!

  10. Brandon says:

    We are seeing a huge increase of interest in our beverage called Zenmaster. It is a natural sparkling beverage enhanced with the amino acid naturally found in green tea called L-Theanine. Studies show it supports relaxation without drowsiness, increases mental focus and concentration and supports a positive mood. One would have to consume up to 20 cups of green tea to get the same levels of L-Theanine as found in Zenmaster. It is a wonderful alternative to alcohol to help take off the edge!

  11. Brandon says:


    The relaxation component in Zenmaster is a unique amino acid called L-Theanine. L-Theanine is found in only two places in nature, green tea and xerocosus badius a rare mushroom.The drink contains a highly concentrated amount of Theanine , equal to 20 cups of tea. The L-Theanine elicits a relaxation response by increasing the production of alpha waves in the brain.If you would like to learn more about it, go to Thanks for your interest!

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