For food aficionados, food offers much more than nourishment. It offers a framework through which they can build relationships, make new friends, explore the world and even examine which behaviors are ethical. They use food to define who they are in greater society. The term foodie, which first appeared in the early 1980s, has entered the English language to describe this new type of food lover and a surrounding new culture of food. Foodies are distinct from gourmets in that their interests tend to be more wide ranging. Foodies enjoy high-end gourmet food, to be sure, but they also seek out hole-in-the-wall BBQ shacks, taco trucks and Chinatown markets. Foodies enjoy the thrill of the hunt and being the first to catch on to new food trends, and food outlets considered “authentic” carry the most prestige in the foodie world. As authenticity frequently equates to a degree of separation from big food conglomerates and corporate marketing campaigns, foodies can be an elusive target for marketers. At the same time, foodies are a desirable demographic, as they are avid, tech-savvy consumers who embrace all sorts of trends, not just those that are food-related, and who introduce these trends to their communities and peers.
Through an analysis of selected lifestyle statements in Simmons Market Research Bureau’s national consumer survey, Packaged Facts has determined that 14% of U.S. adults—or 31 million—are foodies. Drawing on cross-tabulated Simmons data, this report examines foodies’ demographic characteristics in depth while also discussing foodies’ values and consumer habits. Following a thorough trend overview chapter, the report profiles the foodie cohort known as foodie cooks, pinpointing their unique characteristics across areas including demographics and attitudes, media responsiveness, shopping habits and restaurant behavior.
Read an excerpt from this report below.
The information in Foodies is based on primary and secondary research. Primary research entails in-depth interviews with consultants and industry insiders to obtain information on food trends and the people that drive them. Secondary research entailed data gathering from relevant sources, including consumer and industry publications, newspapers, government reports and company literature. Dozens of charts and tables from diverse sources are included. Consumer demographics are derived from Simmons Market Research Bureau data.
What You’ll Get in This Report
This report helps companies understand what motivates foodies and how to appeal to them, even in difficult economic times. It makes important predictions and recommendations regarding the future of this market. Plus, you’ll benefit from extensive data, presented in easy-to-read and practical charts, tables and graphs.
How You’ll Benefit from This Report
If your company is involved in the grocery or restaurant industry or launches new food products regularly, you will find this report invaluable. Because foodies also like to lead the way in other consumer areas—from shopping to fashion, nutrition matters to “green” pursuits—marketers of non-food products will also benefit from learning how to reach this trend-setting demographic.
This report will help:
Marketing managers identify market opportunities and develop targeted promotion plans for food products
Research and development professionals stay on top of competitor initiatives and explore demand for their businesses
Advertising agencies working with clients in the foodservice industries to help their products find an eager audience
Business development executives understand the dynamics of the market and identify possible partnerships.
Information and research center librarians provide market researchers, brand and product managers and other colleagues with the vital information they need to do their jobs more effectively.
Market Insights: A Selection From The Report
By age, foodie cooks are distributed relatively evenly throughout the U.S. adult population.
One notable exception is that foodie cooks are 28% more likely than U.S. adults on average
to be age 25-34 (index of 128), a group that thus represents a key demographic for marketers.
In fact, close to one-tenth (8.4%) of all American adults in this age group are foodie cooks,
while slightly over half of foodie cooks (52%) are age 44 or under. On the other hand, adults
age 65 and older are 13% less likely to be foodie cooks (index of 87). [Figure 3-2, Table 3-1]
Foodie Cooks Embrace Healthy Food Trends, But Are Also Price-Conscious
Food marketers should also be glad to know that foodie cooks are an eager audience for a
variety of new food products and trends, especially those related to health and dieting. They
are 381% more likely than U.S. adults on average to agree a lot that they are usually quick to
try new nutritional products (index of 481), 359% more likely to like to try new drinks (index
of 459), 282% more likely to usually be the first to try new health foods (index of 382) and
180% more likely to try any new diet (index of 280).
Foodie cooks are, in fact, more concerned with health and dieting matters than U.S. adults on
average and foodies overall. Bearing this out, foodie cooks disproportionately report that they
usually only snack on healthy foods (index of 375), normally count the calories in the foods
they eat (index of 282), like to know about ingredients before buying food (index of 268),
think of the calories in what they eat (index of 251), actively seek info about nutrition and
diet (index of 244), are trying lose weight by dieting most of the time (index of 229), feel
guilty when eating fattening food (index of 228) and consider their diets to be very healthy
(index of 226). [Figure 3-8, Table 3-3]
In the News
Foodies Pilot Consumerism Beyond Obvious Culinary Curiosities
New York, December 16, 2008 - Foodies are passionate and curious and a truly American phenomenon. In the all-new report, Foodies in the U.S.: Five Cohorts: Foreign/Spicy, Restaurant, Cooks, Gourmet and Organic/Natural, market research publisher Packaged Facts reveals that the 31 million U.S. adults (14% of the population) who qualify as foodies strive to lead the way in other consumer areas such as shopping, fashion, nutrition, and automobiles.
“Some foodies don’t think of themselves as trendy, but overall they are open-minded, curious, and eager to experiment with the new. Research shows that they are significantly more likely than average adults to be the first among their friends to shop at new stores or try new styles,” says Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts.
Outside interests exist, but for Foodies it always comes back to pleasing the palate. For them food is more than body fuel. It is what defines who they are in a greater society. Their food passion provides a framework through which they can build relationships, forge new friendships, discover the world, and even examine which behaviors are ethical. It is for these reasons that Packaged Facts forecasts that even as most consumers seek ways to tighten spending, Foodies will continue to dine out almost daily, purchase gourmet and organic foods exclusively, or indulge themselves in exotic ingredients.
Packaged Facts uses data from Simmons Market Research Bureau to segment the overall foodie demographic into the five foodie cohorts reflected in the report title. Foreign/spicy foodies and restaurant foodies are the two largest foodie cohorts. Approximately 71% of foodies representing 10% of all U.S. adults, or about 22 million, fall into the foreign/spicy cohort. This cohort is helping to introduce the next wave of international cuisine to the American palate. Meanwhile, 65% of foodies fall into the restaurant cohort, representing 9% of all U.S. adults, or approximately 20 million. Unlike most Americans who eat at fast food chains for the sake of convenience, foodies avoid fast food and consider dining out to be a hobby or leisure activity.
Foodies in the U.S.: Five Cohorts: Foreign/Spicy, Restaurant, Cooks, Gourmet and Organic/Natural examines foodies’ demographic characteristics in depth while also discussing foodies’ values, attitudes, culinary interests and consumer habits. The report includes separate chapters on the five titular foodie cohorts. Foodie trends and opportunities, including trends among children and teens, are also explored.
About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of Market Research Group, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer industries, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.