Oct 01, 2012
More Consumers Buying Specialty Foods
More U.S. shoppers are buying specialty foods this year as they look to better-quality foods like chocolate, cheese and yogurt to liven up their everyday meals.
According to new research from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade Inc. (NASFT), nearly two-thirds of consumers said they purchased specialty foods within the past six months, an 11 percent increase over 2011, and a big jump from the 46 percent who reported buying these products in 2009.
“Specialty foods are continuing to make gains as more consumers across all age groups and regions are cooking, eating and talking about new foods and updated classics like never before,” said Ron Tanner, NASFT’s VP of communications and education. “This is a good sign for the $75 billion specialty food industry.”
Chocolate is the top specialty food purchase reported for the second year, but cheese and yogurt show big gains. Men are buying more specialty food than ever before, and social media is abuzz about specialty food, with Facebook the predominant platform.
The report, “Today’s Specialty Food Consumer 2012,” is based on an online survey conducted in August by Mintel International of 1,500 adults aged 18 and older and published in the October issue of NASFT’s Specialty Food Magazine. Specialty foods are defined as foods of premium quality, that are often made by small or local manufacturers or have ethnic or exotic flavors—foods that are distinctive.
The prototypical specialty food consumer is young, affluent, and lives in the West or Northeast, according to the research. More than seven in 10 consumers purchase specialty foods in the West and Northeast, with Midwesterners the least likely to make such purchases.
After chocolate, the top specialty foods purchased this year are olive oil and other specialty oils, cheese and yogurt/kefir. Younger consumers are more likely than average to buy convenient and easy-to-prepare foods, including beverages, salty snacks, cookies, salad dressing and cooking sauces. Those older than 65 are often the least likely to buy within these categories.
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