Specialty Food Magazine

OCT 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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specialty food today's BY RON TANNER S pecialty food continues its upswing as more U.S. shoppers are purchasing better-quality foods. Two-thirds of consum- ers have bought specialty foods within the past six months, a huge jump from the 46 percent who reported buying these products in 2009. Young and old, from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, people are cooking, eating and talking specialty food. In August, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc., and Mintel International asked a representative sample of U.S. consumers about their usage of and attitudes towards specialty food. Here are some of the highlights: t Sixty-six percent of U.S. consumers purchase specialty foods, up from 59 percent in 2011. t Consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 are most likely to purchase specialty foods, at 73 percent. t At 74 percent, consumers in the West are most likely to buy, followed by the Northeast (71 percent); the Midwest lags at 56 percent. t While chocolate remains the most purchased category, cheese and yogurt/kefir recorded strong increases in the percentage of consumers purchasing. t Italian and Mexican remain the top international food purchases. t Mean weekly spending on food has increased to $94 per specialty food household, with 22 percent of that spent on specialty food. t New England and Mid-Atlantic consumers are more likely than average to buy at supermarkets, those in the Pacific region patronize natural food stores much more than those in other regions. t Coffee and chocolate are the specialty foods most likely to be purchased online. t Seventy-nine percent of specialty food consumers experiment with new recipes; an equal percentage report that family food traditions are important to them. t Three-quarters of specialty food consumers have shopped at a farmers market within the past year. C2 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com t Specialty food consumers are more likely to engage in cultural and physical activities than the average consumer. t More than half of specialty food consumers purchase foods that support charities. t Almost half of specialty food consumers use social media to talk and learn about food, with Facebook being the predominant platform. The following pages provide a wealth of information on who is purchasing specialty foods, how they enjoy the foods and what activities are important to them. ABOUT THE RESEARCH This research is based on an online questionnaire conducted by Mintel to explore consumption of and attitudes and behaviors toward specialty foods. Mintel and NASFT were responsible for the survey design, data analysis and reporting. Fieldwork was conducted in August 2012 among a sample of 1,500 adults aged 18+ with access to the internet. Mintel selects survey respondents to be proportionally balanced to the U.S. adult population based on the key demographics of gender, age, household income, and region. Specialty foods were 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. consumer 2012

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