In the new decade, we’ll know much more about what we eat

The 10 years just past could have been dubbed the “foodie decade” – when “artisan” was attached to everything from bread to chocolates, when cupcakes went gourmet and food blogs gained big fan bases. It also was a decade of peanut butter recalls, contaminated spinach and “Super Size Me.”

If anything, we head into 2010 much more aware of the origins and handling of the food we consume. Here are some trends to watch as the decade unfolds:

More information, please

As consumers hunger to know more about their food, manufacturers and retailers will provide it.

“It’s everything from looking for mercury-safe seafood to wanting to know that humane treatment was given to farm animals,” states the Food Channel, a Web site that tracks food trends.

Also, there’s the California law that requires chain restaurants with at least 20 locations to provide nutritional information. It’s part of a trend dubbed “maximum disclosure” by New York advertising agency JWT. During 2010, such restaurants will gear up for the next phase of the law: They must print calories on menus or indoor menu boards as of Jan. 1, 2011.

More local food

The top two restaurant menu trends are locally grown produce and locally sourced meats and seafood, according to a national Restaurant Association survey of more than 1,800 chefs. Also, as restaurants add local food to their menus, it makes sense for them to add local drinks, including wine.

Tiny desserts, retro sweets

Here’s good news for your waistline: bite-size desserts.

As for types of desserts that will be popular, epicurious.com’s blog has high praise for the sandwich cookies known as whoopie pies.

Frugal arts

Sure, in a tough economy old-school canning and preserving have taken on new cachet. But there’s no need to stop at spaghetti sauce made from your garden tomatoes. Need help? Pick up any number of how-to books for tips on making artisan cheese, digging a root cellar – even butchering chickens you’ve raised in your backyard.

Food-centric apps

So you’re at a restaurant, you’ve ordered a thick, juicy steak and you’re not sure what wine goes with it. Try the Nat Decants Drink Matcher, a $2.99 application that you can download to your iPhone or BlackBerry.

Apps also are out there to help count calories, find recipes, make restaurant reservations or figure tips.