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Foodies in the U.S.: Restaurant Foodies

Foodies in the U.S.: Restaurant Foodies

For most self-dubbed 'foodies', food offers more than mere nourishment. It offers foodies the chance to make new friends, to explore the world, and even to ask ethical questions. Foodies 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 culture of food. Restaurant 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 restaurants 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 restaurant 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 in the U.S.: Restaurant 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


Smaller Households, Less Encumbered Lifestyles

Restaurant foodies seem to enjoy pairing off, as they are 14% more likely than U.S. adults on average to have two adults in their households (index of 114), and 16% more likely to live in households comprising two employed adults (index of 116). These traits are in line with the relative youthfulness of restaurant foodies, who are concentrated in the 25-44 age range. While they may enjoy grooving as co-habitating couples, friends or roommates, restaurant foodies also seem to be part of the demographic phenomenon of young adults delaying marriage and parenthood. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the median age for a woman to marry for the first time is age 25, while in the mid 1970s the median was age 20. Women also have their first child later, at age 25 on average, up from age 22 in the 1970s (pbs.org, June 19, 2006). Demographers have seen a shift where young adults instead prefer to focus on their careers, to seek out new experiences and to partake in cultural
activities, which include exploring the restaurant scene on a local, national and international basis.

This delayed childbearing trend seems particularly apparent in restaurant foodies, as they are 14% more likely than U.S. adults on average to never have been married (index of 114) and 12% less likely to be divorced (index of 88). They are also significantly less likely to have children age 6-11 (index of 88) or 12-17 (index of 86). [Table 3-1]

Gourmet and Organic at Fast-Casual and Quick-Service Restaurants

Restaurant foodies are clearly seeking out gourmet experiences in their daily lives, with 24% agreeing a lot that they try to eat gourmet food whenever they can, making this group over four times above average in this regard (index of 419), and another 22% agreeing a little with the statement. Accordingly, celebrity chefs are opening casual outlets with gourmet flair, which make it possible for customers to “go gourmet” without breaking the bank or committing to a formal restaurant experience.

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. For more information contact Jenn Tekin at (240) 747-3015 or jtekin@marketresearch.com.

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: Restaurant Foodies
Restaurant Foodie Demographics
Market Definition
Figure 3-1: Overlap Between Restaurant Foodies and Other Foodie Cohorts, 2008 (percent)
Figure 3-2: Number of Visits to Family Restaurant/Steakhouse Chains in Last 30 Days: Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for restaurant foodies)
Younger, Female Skew
Figure 3-3: Gender Breakouts: Restaurant Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008 (percent)
Asian Americans Index at 156
Figure 3-4: Indexes by Race/Ethnicity: Restaurant Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Education, Employment Stats Reflect Ambitious Spirit
Figure 3-5: Indexes by Highest Level of Educational Attainment: Restaurant Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Smaller Households, Less Encumbered Lifestyles
Table 3-1: Restaurant Foodie Demographics, 2008 (percentages, number and index for U.S. adults)
Restaurant Foodie Psychographics and Consumer Traits
In Tune with Trends
Figure 3-6: Indexes for Fashion and Style Psychographics: Restaurant Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Figure 3-7: Indexes for Health and Medicine Psychographics: Restaurant Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Heavy Internet Reliance
Restaurant Connoisseur Websites
Avid Shoppers Across Outlet Types
Figure 3-8: Indexes for Retail Classifications Shopped in Last 4 Weeks: Restaurant Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Recreating the Restaurant Experience at Home
Alcoholic Beverages Go Hand in Hand with Dining Experience
Family and Fast Food Restaurant Patterns
Figure 3-9: Indexes for Number of Visits to Family Restaurant/Steakhouse Chains in Last 30 Days: Restaurant Foodies vs. Foodies Overall, 2008
Table 3-2: Selected General Psychographics: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)
Table 3-3: Selected Food- and Nutrition-Related Psychographics: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)
Table 3-4: Personal Computer Use Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)
Table 3-5: Retail Shopping Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)
Table 3-6: Internet, Mail, or Phone Order Shopping Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)
Table 3-7: Food Retail Shopping & Spending Patterns: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)
Table 3-8: Household Use of Packaged Foods by Type of Product: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)
Table 3-9: Household Use of Beverage Products by Type: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)
Table 3-10: Use of Selected Alcoholic Beverage Brands: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)
Restaurant and Foodservice Trends
Health and Environment on the Menu
Local Foods at the Table
Gourmet and Organic at Fast-Casual and Quick-Service Restaurants
Food Retailers Morph Toward Foodservice
Table 3-11: Use of Family Restaurant/Steakhouse Chains: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)
Table 3-12: Use of Fast Food/Drive-In Chains: Foodies Overall vs. Restaurant Foodies, 2008 (percent and index for foodies overall vs. restaurant foodies)

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