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Foodies in the U.S.: Organic/Natural Foodies


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

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 organic/natural 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


Local Foods Moving Into Organics’ Environmental/Political Role

Local foods are not necessarily produced without pesticides or according to other organic standards, and therefore do not offer the same perceived health benefits of organics. But as organic foods lose their environmental, political and cultural luster among the food cognoscenti, local foods are moving into the gap. And more so than any other foodie cohort, organic/natural natural foodies are inclined to care about local foods’ environmental advantages, with environment-related Simmons lifestyle statements indexing higher for this cohort than for any other. Organic/natural foodies are, for example, much more likely than U.S. adults on average to agree a lot that they buy products that use recycled paper (index of 303), buy recycled paper products (index of 286) and “would pay more for nvironmentally
friendly products” (index of 361). In fact, over two-fifths (42%) of organic/natural foodies agree a lot with this last statement.

Members of this cohort also care passionately about local issues, as 37% strongly agree that they “prefer shopping at local stores to shopping at national chains” (for an index of 279, compared with 175 among foodies overall and 87 among non-foodies). Environmental and political reasons for buying local foods include:

  • Buying local lessens the environmental impact of food production. Local foods help protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the fuel used to transport food long distances.

  • Buying local helps the local economy by keeping the money working in the community. It helps support family farmers and preserves local farmland. Says Jane Aiudi, Director of Marketing and Production Development at the food and rural resources division of Maine’s Department of Agriculture, “The surest means of farmland preservation is to have profitable farms” (Maine Today, March 16,
    2007).

  • Buying local has become a backlash to “industrial” food production and consumer disenchantment at organic foods going corporate.

  • Local foods are believed to use less packaging than industrial foods.

  • Local farmers are more likely to practice sustainable agriculture and to treat their animals humanely. They are also more likely to pay their workers a fair wage than farms in some distant foreign country.

  • Recent scares over E. coli-contaminated spinach and ground beef, and over tainted food ingredients from China, have caused concern about the food production chain. Local foods are believed to pose less of a disease risk, and in case of an outbreak, the chain can be easily traced.

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: Organic/Natural Foodies
Organic/Natural Foodie Demographics
Market Definition
Figure 3-1: Overlap Between Organic/Natural Foodies and Other Foodie Cohorts, 2008 (percent)
Younger and Female
Figure 3-2: Indexes by Age Bracket: Organic/Natural Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Hispanic, Blacks Prominent Among Organic/Natural Foodies
Organic/Natural Foodies Clustered in Metropolitan Markets
Education and Income Demographics
Figure 3-3: Indexes by Highest Level of Educational Attainment: Organic/Natural Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Employment Picture Mixed
Families with Children
Table 3-1: Organic/Natural Foodie Demographics, 2008 (percentages, number and index for U.S. adults)
Organic/Natural Foodie Psychographics and Consumer Traits
Willing to Pay for Quality
Figure 3-4: Indexes for Spending Psychographics: Organic/Natural Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Fans of Self-Care, Medical Alternatives
Figure 3-5: Indexes for Health Psychographics: Organic/Natural Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
In Tune with Internet and Print Media
Followers of Fashion
Figure 3-6: Indexes for Shopping and Peer Influence Psychographics: Organic/Natural Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Figure 3-7: Indexes for Clothing and Fashion Psychographics: Organic/Natural Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Eating for Health
Figure 3-8: Indexes for Diet and Nutrition Psychographics: Organic/Natural Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Retail Shopping Patterns
Figure 3-9: Indexes for Average Weekly Grocery Shopping Expenditures: Organic/Natural Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Favored Food and Beverage Products
Restaurant Usage Patterns
Table 3-2: Selected General Psychographics: Foodies Overall vs. Organic/Natural Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. organic/natural foodies)
Table 3-3: Selected Food- and Nutrition-Related Psychographics: Foodies Overall vs. Organic/Natural Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. organic/natural foodies)
Table 3-4: Personal Computer Use Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Organic/Natural Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. organic/natural foodies)
Table 3-5: Retail Shopping Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Organic/Natural Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. organic/natural foodies)
Table 3-6: Internet, Mail, or Phone Order Shopping Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Organic/Natural Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. organic/natural foodies)
Table 3-7: Food Retail Shopping & Spending Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Organic/Natural Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. organic/natural foodies)
Table 3-8: Household Use of Packaged Foods by Type of Product: Foodies Overall vs. Organic/Natural Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. organic/natural foodies)
Table 3-9: Household Use of Beverage Products by Type: Foodies Overall vs. Organic/Natural Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. organic/natural foodies)
Table 3-10: Household Purchasing Patterns for Selected Food and Beverage Brands: Foodies Overall vs. Organic/Natural Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. organic/natural foodies)
Table 3-11: Use of Family Restaurant & Fast Food Chains: Foodies Overall vs. Organic/Natural Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. organic/natural foodies)
The Natural/Organic Food Landscape
Organic Food Sales Post Double-Digit Growth
Table 3-12: U.S. Organic Food Sales, 2005-2008 (in millions of dollars)
Organics Grow to 15% of New Product Introductions
Table 3-13: Number and Percent of U.S. Food and Beverage Product Introductions Tagged as Organic or Natural,1998-2008
Table 3-14: Number of U.S. Food and Beverage Product Introductions Tagged as Organic: By Product Classification, 1998 vs. 2008
30% of Consumers Buy Organic Produce
Figure 3-10: Percent of Adults Who Shop for Organic Products: By Product Category, 2008
82% of Grocers Sell Natural/Organic Food
Background of Organic and Natural Foods in Retail Stores
Figure 3-11: Organic Products Purchased by Store Chain, 2008 (percent)
The Backlash Against Mainstreamed Organic
Local Foods Moving Into Organics’ Environmental/Political Role
“Green” Benefits of Locavorism Called into Question
The Perils of Packaged Food “Nutritionism”
The Fair Trade Seal
Community Supported Agriculture Programs
Lazy Locavores
Future Prospects for Organic Market Growth

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