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 gourmet 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:
Market Insights: A Selection From The Report
Female, Ethnic and Geographic Skews
As with foodies overall, gourmet foodies skew more female than male, but this cohort narrows the gender gap somewhat, at 55% female and 45% male, compared with 57% and 43%, respectively, for foodies overall.
Racially, gourmet foodies are more likely than U.S. adults on average to be Hispanic (index of 118, compared with 128 for foodies overall) or Black (index of 115, compared with 107 for foodies overall). Correspondingly, they are 13% less likely to be White (index of 87, compared with 91 for foodies overall), although Whites still comprise a sizable majority of gourmet foodies—62%, or approximately 6.2 million of the 10 million gourmet foodies overall. Gourmet foodies are more likely than U.S. adults on average to live in the Pacific (index of 124) or Northeast (index of 112) regions. On the other hand, they are less likely to live in the Central (index of 79) or Southwest regions (index of 88). In addition, gourmet foodies tend to cluster in the country’s larger cities. According to Simmons, 35% live in a top 25 metro market, such that they are 9% more likely than average to do so (index of 109).
Housing data further reflect gourmet foodies’ youth and urbanity. They are 10% less likely than U.S. adults on average to own a house (index of 90), as footing these costs would be difficult for a young person in an urban area. Instead, they are more likely to rent a house (index of 136), rent an apartment (index of 122) or own a condo or co-op (index of 132). [Table 6-1]
Higher Education and Income Tilts
To step out of mainstream American cuisine and learn about gourmet foods requires a selfdriven
curiosity. Also, someone who “likes food presented as an art form” is most likely
interested in other forms of the arts and culture and well. Not surprisingly, therefore,
Simmons data show that gourmet foodies tend to be better educated than U.S. adults on
average. In fact, nearly three-fifths (58%) of gourmet foodies have some degree of college
education, and 12% have graduate degrees, putting them 41% above the U.S. average (index
of 141). [Figure 6-3; Table 6-1]
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.