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    Specialty Food Consumers Young and Adventurous: NASFTMintelFI Webcast

    This shopper still buys most specialty products at the supermarket, according to research presented by the three organizations.

    The most likely group to purchase specialty foods are 18- to 34-year-olds, representing a generation of shoppers raised on such products, according to "Today's Specialty Food Consumer," a report presented in a Webcast yesterday by NASFT, Mintel, and the Food Institute.

    That age demographic makes up a whopping 69 percent of specialty food consumers, who in turn account for 56 percent of all consumers, NASFT and Mintel found in research

    Hosted by Marcia Mogelonsky of Mintel and Ron Tanner of NASFT, the Webcast presented research that showed that 25- to 34-year olds spend the highest percentage of food dollars on specialty foods. Among the categories they are most likely to buy are cold beverages, hot tea, and prepared meals.

    By contrast, consumers age 65 and over are least likely to purchase specialty foods, as their food tastes are already well established, and many are on fixed incomes that prevent them from paying higher prices for specialty items.

    Of the specialty food consumers polled, 61 percent said that they travel to domestic locations at least two times or more, and 25 percent said they travel internationally at least twice a year. The specialty food consumer is also more likely to go on exotic vacations to out-of-the-way places, where they will sample the food and attempt to replicate it at home.

    Beyond vacations, almost nine in 10 of specialty food consumers said they like to experiment with new recipes, and are interested in such activities as museum visits, concerts, theatrical performances, and sports/exercise, reflecting a higher level of engagement with the world. Such consumers are also a natural market for cookware, kitchen gadgets, small appliances, and utensils.

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