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    Almost 20 Percent of Americans Classified as Gourmet Consumers: Report

    NEW YORK -- A report released yesterday by market research publisher Packaged Facts has found that just under one-fifth of U.S. adults can be classified as gourmet food consumers, and their purchases are driving a $41.2 billion industry.

    NEW YORK -- A report released yesterday by market research publisher Packaged Facts has found that just under one-fifth of U.S. adults can be classified as gourmet food consumers, and their purchases are driving a $41.2 billion industry.

    The report, "The U.S. Market for Gourmet Foods and Beverages," which is based on data from Simmons Market Research, predicts that the market for gourmet foods and beverages will exceed $62 billion by 2009.

    According to the report, an estimated 18.3 percent of adults try to eat gourmet food whenever they can -- a practice that’s now easier than ever. There are several reasons for the increased availability, appeal, and affordability of gourmet foods, among them more involvement in gourmet on the part of conventional food marketers, growing retail distribution of gourmet products, and increasing cooperation between the natural and gourmet foods industries.

    "More gourmet products are using natural and organic ingredients (and appealing to consumers' social consciences by offering products that are good for the environment and for the workers who produce them), and more natural foods retailers are carrying upscale gourmet food and beverage items that meet their quality standards," noted Packaged Facts publisher Don Montuori in a statement.

    Convenience also continues to be a key driver of everyday food and beverage purchases, even gourmet/premium products, as shown by some of the fastest-growing products in this market, including bottled water, RTD beverages, bagged salads, and refrigerated "supermarket sushi."

    Further, the report's executive summary cites FMI's statement that 79 percent of supermarkets regularly carry specialty foods, and names such retailers as Rice Epicurean Markets, Wegmans, Larry's Markets, and Lunds and Byerly's as prime examples of this strategy.

    The report encompasses eight product areas (Beverages, Baked Goods, Pasta and Grains, Fresh Produce, Ready-to-Eat Meals, Condiments and Sauces, Cheese, Candy, and Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts), charts historical sales and projections, analyzes marketing and new-product trends, and provides a detailed profile of the gourmet consumer.

    Priced at $5,000, the two-volume report can be purchased directly from Packaged Facts at http://www.packagedfacts.com/pub/1087756.html, and is also available at MarketResearch.com.

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