If 2007 was the year of the locavore and the probiotic diet, 2008 may be the year of the yumberry (or maybe the laboratory meat).
As the Philadelphia Inquirer outlines today, 2007 saw eco-friendly food, grown by local farmers and raised ethically, go mainstream.
What's on tap for 2008 (not bottled water, for sure)? According to the Inquirer there are nine trends to watch:
Yumberries, a cranberry-like Chinese fruit.
Caffeine, which is likely to show up in even more products as Americans try to stay alert in a hyper-connected world.
Gastro-thrills that come from normally discarded animal parts. Pig tail anyone?
Labels, labels, labels. Expect more claims, and more of those claims to be backed up by responsible and clear criteria (though, the flip side will remain true: the unstated and fine-print details will remain the key to understanding what you're really eating).
Nutritional ratings, such as the star-scheme already in place at Hannaford supermarkets, will become more common, giving consumers another label to decipher, but potentially more rapid-fire information in the grocery aisle.
Enhanced food safety monitoring will continue to be a hot political topic, in the wake of the myriad food-safety scandals of 2007.
The bar chef will serve you now. Expect more than cocktails, and much more than alcohol from the bar in 2008, as chefs serve up healthy choices from behind the bar.
Food travel, for those who want to explore ethnic cuisines in their native habitats.
Cloned foods or other "laboratory meats" developed by science and embraced (or perhaps not) by foodies.
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