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I never know how much stock I can count on when surveys on food trends come my way. I mean, if they're done, say, by the dairy industry, the trends will be slanted a little on the milk/cheese side. Same can be said about, for example, the chocolate industry. But this prediction of culinary trends for 2009 comes from The Food Channel.

"For more than 20 years, the chefs and editors at The Food Channel have tracked emerging and mainstreaming food trends for our work developing food products, ideas and recipes for some of the world's largest food companies," Food Channel editor Kay Logsdon, wrote in a news release. "In our new role as consumers' one-stop-shop for all things food, we have decided to share this insider information for the first time."

* More people will be cooking at home due to the downturn in the economy.

* More homeowners will update their kitchens with environmentally correct appliances and other accouterments.

* More restaurants will feature locally grown products.

* Will calorie counts listed on menus lead to healthier choices?

* There will be a rise in bioengineered and genetically modified foods.

* More attention will be paid to world hunger.

* There will be a call for tighter food controls, after the tomato and jalapeño scares of 2008.

* Because of the recession, the divide between exotic and day-to-day food needs will widen.

* The next food trends will be all about globalization and variety, The Food Channel predicts.

"Not surprisingly, the majority of the 2009 trends have a 'value' message, reflecting the downturn in the economy and how the lifestyle around food is affected," Ms Logsdon wrote. "We live this daily; food is a constant even in a bad economy. Identifying these trends will help us all do a better job of adjusting and even thriving."

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