Food News and Trends to Expect in 2009

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—More people than ever going hungry as the global food crisis continues. And on a related note, an international rush to buy farmland.

—Fewer free things, like bread at restaurants. Then again, maybe that's only fair, since many patrons are tipping less during the recession.

Pricier avocados, due to a bad growing season in California.

—Restaurant industry soothsayers see a new year of smaller, healthier dishes. Look for more tapas and bite-sized desserts, sustainable seafood, and local foods. Also, kids' menus will likely include more fruits and vegetables.

Thinner food sections in print as newspapers continue to tighten their belts. (According to this map, there were more than 15,500 layoffs at U.S. newspapers in 2008.) Meanwhile, consumers will still hunger for at least one section of the paper: Coupons.

—An organic garden on the White House lawn? Hey, you never know.

—Slower sales growth for fair-trade and organic foods as penny-pinched consumers try to balance their conscience and their bank accounts at the same time. But don't worry, organic food and beverage sales are still rising overall.

—Less consumer thirst for expensive coffee drinks with faux-foreign names. But despite the recession, many people still see coffee as a necessity, so outlets selling it cheaply could thrive. And with the recent discovery that used grounds can become biodiesel, coffee could literally be going places this year!

—Will this be the year we figure out how to make meat in a test-tube? PETA hopes so.

—You may find yourself craving garlic bread while driving on icy roads in Iowa this winter…okay, so this was probably just a one-time thing!

Image courtesy of Monika Betley/Wikimedia Commons

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