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Foodies in the U.S.: Foreign/Spicy Foodies

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 foreign/spicy foodies, pinpointing their unique characteristics across areas including demographics and attitudes, media responsiveness, shopping habits and restaurant behavior.

Read an excerpt from this report below.

Report Methodology

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


Food Shopping Patterns

Foreign/spicy foodies are even more likely than foodies overall to spend $150 or more weekly on grocery shopping expenditures, indexing at 124 (24% above the U.S. norm), compared with the overall foodie index of 116. Foreign/spicy foodies also are more prone to shop at fresh format stores such as Ralph’s (index of 175) and Von’s (index of 149), the latter of whose slogan is “Ingredients for Life.” In contrast, foreign/spicy foodies are less likely than average to shop at Food Lion (index of 84), whose slogan is “Good neighbors. Great prices.” Discount stores such as Walmart Supercenter and Sav-a-Lot (at indexes of 90) also have a relatively weaker draw among this cohort, indicating that lower prices are not a primary appeal for this group. Regardless of which grocery chain they shop,
foreign/spicy foodies tend to be very receptive to in-store marketing, being significantly more likely than average to notice grocery-related Internet promotions (index of 150), video monitor displays (index of 127), radio/PA announcements (index of 123), and in-store demonstrations (index of 120) or samples (index of 118). [Tables 3-2 and 3-6]

A Taste for Alcohol, Preferably Imported

Across food and beverage product categories, alcoholic beverages are where foreign/spicy foodies stand out the most as prime consumers. From the wine rack, they are particularly fond of French White (index of 236), Spanish Red (index of 221) and French Red (index of 216). Foreign/spicy foodies also post high indexes for micro-brewed or imported beers, cognac, rum, tequila, champagne and specialty liqueurs such as Grand Marnier (index of 215), Amaretto Di Saronno (index of 193) and Frangelico (index of 182). Foreign/spicy foodies, in addition, are drawn to tangy fruit juices and citrus flavors such as lemon/lime (index of 158), white grapefruit (index of 152) and pink grapefruit (index of 135), along with turbo-charged drinks such as Starbucks Doubleshot ready-to-drink coffee (index of 212), Café Bustelo espresso coffee (index of 167) and energy drinks (index of 152). Soy milk (index of 147) is another favorite with this crowd.

Ethnic Foods in Grocery Stores

Foreign/spicy foodies, who by definition enjoy venturing into ethnic eateries and markets throughout America, have helped introduce foreign flavors into the country’s mainstream grocery stores. According to the “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2008” report from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), 7% of grocery shoppers shop at specialty ethnic stores fairly often or most of the time, and 54% say that having a good selection of ethnic or cultural foods is a “very” or “somewhat” important factor in choosing where to buy their groceries. The report also shows that 21% of shoppers prepare or eat ethnic meals at least one or more times a week, up from 17% in 2007. Two emerging flavor trends, according to the report, are curry (which can be found in a number of cuisines) and Moroccan foods’ “warm” spices like cinnamon and cardamom.

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.

Chapter 1: Executive Summary
Scope and Methodology
Scope of Report
Five Foodie Cohorts
Report Methodology
Market Overview
The New Culture of Food
Defining Foodie
An American Phenomenon
Foodie Character and Values
Foodie-ism Often a Key Part of Self-Identity
Foodies May Resist Foodie Classification
31.2 Million U.S. Adults Are Foodies
Figure 1-1: Foodies and Foodie Cohorts as a Percentage of U.S. Adults, 2008 (percent)
Foodiehood Peaks in Pre-Middle Age Brackets
Skew to Pacific and Northeast Regions, Downtown Areas
Educated But Not Necessarily Rich
Consumers with an Attitude
Influencers and Influenced
High Media and Advertising Awareness
Traveling to Taste
Foodies Highly Receptive to Food Marketing
Foodies as Informed Health Consumers
Foodie Eco-Consciousness
Foodie Opportunities in All Dayparts
Figure 1-2: Relative Importance of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Among Foodies, 2008 (index)
Eating In: No Time to Scrimp
Food Shopping Skews to Fresh Formats
The Cheaper Side of Whole Foods
Food and Beverage Purchasing Patterns
The Resurgence of Farmers’ Markets
Organic v. Local
Foodies Push Fast Food in Healthier Directions
Foodies Embrace Social Aspects of Food
Foodies and the Economic Downturn


Chapter 2: Market Overview
Introduction
The New Culture of Food
Defining Foodie
An American Phenomenon
Foodie Character and Values
Foodie-ism Often a Key Part of Self-Identity
Foodies May Resist Foodie Classification
31.2 Million U.S. Adults Are Foodies
Five Foodie Cohorts
10% of Adults Are Foreign/Spicy Foodies
9% Are Restaurant Foodies
7% Are Foodie Cooks
Figure 2-1: Foodies and Foodie Cohorts as a Percentage of U.S. Adults, 2008 (percent)
5% Are Gourmet Foodies
Figure 2-2: Foodies and Foodie Cohorts by Number of U.S. Adults, 2008 (in thousands)
4% Are Organic/Natural Foodies
Figure 2-3: Foodie Cohorts as a Percentage of All Foodies, 2008
Overlap Between Foodie Cohorts
Table 2-1: Overlap Between Foodie Cohorts, 2008 (percent)
Foodies and the Mapping of Food Trends
Foodie Demographics
Foodiehood Peaks in Pre-Middle Age Brackets
Figure 2-4: Age Distribution Among Foodies, 2008 (index)
A Female Skew
Figure 2-5: Foodie Gender Breakout, 2008 (percent)
Hispanics Index at 128 as Foodies
Figure 2-6: Foodie Ethnic/Racial Demographics, 2008 (index)
U.S. Racial/Ethnic Trends
Skew to Pacific and Northeast Regions, Downtown Areas
Figure 2-7: Foodie Patterns by Region of Residence, 2008 (index)
Figure 2-8: Foodie Patterns by Type of Residence, 2008 (index)
Educated But Not Necessarily Rich
Foodies and the Economic Downturn
Figure 2-9: U.S. Grocery Industry Sales Growth, 2001-2007 (percent)
Will Foodies Cut Back?
Table 2-2: Foodie Demographics, 2008 (percentages, number and index for U.S. adults)
Foodie Psychographics and Consumer Traits
Consumers with an Attitude
Enthralled with the New
Figure 2-10: Foodie Attitudes About Experimentation, 2008 (index)
An Adventuresome Self-Image
Figure 2-11: Foodie Self-Image About Adventure, 2008 (index)
Foodies Wear Prada
Figure 2-12: Foodie Attitudes About Fashion, 2008 (index)
Influencers and Influenced
Figure 2-13: Foodie Attitudes About Trendsetting, 2008 (index)
Figure 2-14: Foodies Attitudes About Outside Opinions and Validation, 2008 (index)
High Media and Advertising Awareness
Foodies Gravitate to the Web, Blogs
Figure 2-15: Popular Foodie Blogs
Figure 2-16: Foodie Computer Attitudes and Usage Levels, 2008 (index)
Bricks-and-Mortar Patterns Reflect High-Style, High-Tech Tastes
Foodies Are Active as Direct Shoppers
Foodies Highly Receptive to Food Marketing
Impulse Spending Over Coupon Cutting
Figure 2-17: Foodie Attitudes About Spending, 2008 (index)
Foodies as Informed Health Consumers
Foodie Eco-Consciousness
Figure 2-18: Environmental Attitudes of Foodies, 2008 (index)
Vegetarians, the Food Chain, and the Environment
Traveling to Taste
Table 2-3: Selected Psychographics: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Table 2-4: Personal Computer Use Patterns: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Table 2-5: Retail Shopping Patterns: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Table 2-6: Internet, Mail, or Phone Order Shopping Patterns: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Table 2-7: Food Retail Shopping & Spending Patterns: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Foodies and the Food Industry
Foodie Opportunities in All Dayparts
Figure 2-19: Relative Importance of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Among Foodies, 2008 (index)
Eating In: No Time to Scrimp
Food Shopping Skews to Fresh Formats
The Cheaper Side of Whole Foods
Food and Beverage Purchasing Patterns
Malls Make a Play for Gourmets
The Resurgence of Farmers’ Markets
Figure 2-20: Number of Operating Farmers Markets, 1994-2008
Rise of Local Food Movement
An Organic Plateau?
Figure 2-21: U.S. Organic Food Sales, 2005-2008 (in millions of dollars)
Foodies and Foodservice Chains
Foodies Push Fast Food in Healthier Directions
Foodies Embrace Social Aspects of Food
Communal Dining
Supper Clubs
Table 2-8: Household Use of Packaged Foods by Type of Product: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Table 2-9: Household Use of Beverage Products by Type: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Table 2-10: Household Purchasing Patterns for Packaged Foods for Selected Brands: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Table 2-11: Household Use of Non-Alcoholic Beverage Products for Selected Brands: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Table 2-12: Use of Selected Alcoholic Beverage Brands: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Table 2-13: Use of Family Restaurant and Fast Food Chains: Adults Overall vs. Foodies, 2008 (percent of U.S. adults overall and percent and index for foodie adults)
Foodie Kids
Household Expenditures on Kids’ Food
Table 2-14: Aggregate Annual Family Expenditures on Food for 3- to 11-Year-Olds by Age Group, 2007 (number and dollars)
A New Foodie Generation
Organic Baby Food on a Healthy Track
Nurturing Foodie Kids and Teens
Trends for Kids
Trends for Teens


Chapter 3: Foreign/Spicy Foodies
Foreign/Spicy Foodie Demographics
Market Definition
Figure 3-1: Overlap Between Foreign/Spicy Foodies and Other Foodie Cohorts, 2008 (percent)
Younger Age Skew
Figure 3-2: Indexes by Age Bracket: Foreign/Spicy Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Narrower Gender Divide
Asian-Americans Post Index of 144 as Foreign/Spicy Foodies
Pacific Is Prime Region
Better Educated, Better Jobs
Figure 3-3: Indexes by Highest Level of Educational Attainment: Foreign/Spicy Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Figure 3-4: Indexes by Household Income Bracket: Foreign/Spicy Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Table 3-1: Foreign/Spicy Foodie Demographics, 2008 (percentages, number and index for U.S. adults)
Foreign/Spicy Foodie Psychographics and Consumer Traits
Image- and Brand-Conscious
Affinity for Foreign Culture
High Rates of Computer and Video Game Usage
Figure 3-5: Indexes for Computer Use and Attitudes: Foreign/Spicy Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
A Nesting Streak
Charging It Online
Table 3-2: Selected Psychographics: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
Table 3-3: Personal Computer Use Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
Table 3-4: Retail Shopping Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
Table 3-5: Internet, Mail, or Phone Order Shopping Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
Foreign/Spicy Foodies and the Food Industry
Food Shopping Patterns
A Taste for Alcohol, Preferably Imported
Fast Food: Fresh and Friends
Table 3-6: Food Retail Shopping & Spending Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
Table 3-7: Household Use of Packaged Foods by Type of Product: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
Table 3-8: Household Use of Beverage Products by Type: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
Table 3-9: Household Purchasing Patterns for Packaged Foods for Selected Brands: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
Table 3-10: Household Use of Non-Alcoholic Beverage Products for Selected Brands: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
Table 3-11: Use of Selected Alcoholic Beverage Brands: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
Table 3-12: Use of Family Restaurant and Fast Food Chains: Foodies Overall vs. Foreign/Spicy Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. foreign/spicy foodies)
The Foreign/Spicy Food Landscape
Ethnic Foods in Grocery Stores
Ethnic Sections Lay the Groundwork
New Generation of Hispanic Foods
Table 3-13: Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Hispanic Foods and Beverages, 2007-2011 (in millions of dollars)
Table 3-14: Number of U.S. Food and Beverage Product Introductions by Selected Foreign Cuisine/Spice Key Terms, 1998 vs. 2003 vs. 2008
Goya as Pioneer
Table 3-15: Indexes for Use of Goya Products: Foreign/Spicy Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
America goes Pan-Asian
Queens Neighborhood Excels in Authentic Chinese
Mediterranean as a Cradle of Healthy Cuisine

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