650 Professional Chefs Predict the Top Food Trend of 2019

Cannabis-infused food will be 2019's hottest restaurant trend, according to a recent survey conducted with 650 professional chefs.

To find out what trend will dominate the culinary scene in 2019, the National Restaurant Association and the American Culinary Federation teamed up to ask 650 professional chefs to predict the top food trends of 2019. The top two spots went to cannabis-infused drinks and food respectively.

Restaurateurs seem particularly bullish on the non-intoxicating cannabis compound CBD — a chemical found in cannabis that is quickly becoming one of the trendiest wellness products in America. Its popularity spiked recently when Congress passed the Farm Bill, which legalized hemp and hemp-derived CBD on the federal level. 

But while CBD is no longer federally prohibited, putting it in food and drinks isn't exactly legal yet. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not cleared CBD as a safe food additive, so restaurants that offer CBD on the menu could face repercussions. In fact, some of the nation's biggest food hubs, like New York City, have actively started cracking down on businesses selling CBD'd food and drink.

Nevertheless, demand remains strong for CBD-infused foods. And many establishments are keeping it on their menus to avoid missing out on the latest trend, explained Donna Hood Crecca—a principal at the food industry consulting firm, Technomic.

"There's people out there that are willing to risk not being in compliance with local and other regulations in order to not risk being left behind," Hood Crecca told CNBC.

Large restaurant chains have not hopped aboard the CBD hype train as of yet, but there are indications that some big franchises are keeping a close eye on the market in case the FDA approves CBD infusions soon. Last week, the FDA scheduled a hearing on the subject for the end of May, so CBD-infused foods could become widely available later this year.

And who knows, maybe this will finally make Gordon Ramsay change his mind on cooking with cannabis too.

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The majority of cannabis consumers in America aren't particularly outspoken about their affection for marijuana. But just because they're in the cannabis closet doesn't mean they're opposed to being heard when it comes to other issues. In fact, it looks like cannabis consumers are shaping up to be a silent swing vote in the 2020 election, according to Civilized's 2019 Cannabis Culture Poll.

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