With their celebrity status granted through cable TV, high-powered chefs remain very familiar to millions and are influencing culinary behavior on unprecedented levels, says Packaged Facts. The firm says that from 2004 to 2008, the total U.S. market for chef- and foodservice branded foods grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 percent. Even so, the nation’s recession has put a damper on things. Although an overall 5 percent increase in average selling price per unit boosted the market from $3.5 billion in 2007 to $3.7 billion in 2008, total unit sales were flat.

“During the economic boom between 2004 and 2007, consumers spent more on dining out than ever before, many exploring new tastes and cuisines,” said Tatjana Meerman, Packaged Facts publisher. “However, many consumers have curtailed spending on restaurants during the recession and will look for ways to replace their favorite restaurant foods.

“Food processors who partner with restaurants and celebrity chefs to create spicier, more flavorful dishes reminiscent of those dining experiences might gain more loyal and affluent shoppers,” she added.