Foodies pilot consumerism

Foodies are passionate and curious and a truly American phenomenon, according to a new report, published by New York-based Packaged Facts. The term foodie, which first appeared in the early 1980s, describes this food lover as one whose tastes tend to be more wide-ranging than a gourmet.

Based on data from Simmons Market Research Bureau, the report reveals that the 31 million U.S. adults (14 percent of the population) who qualify as foodies strive to lead the way in other consumer areas -- shopping, fashion, nutrition, and automobiles – as well. Foreign/spicy foodies and restaurant foodies are the two largest of the five foodie cohorts. Approximately 71 percent of foodies representing 10 percent of all U.S. adults, or about 22 million, fall into the foreign/spicy cohort, which is helping to introduce the next wave of international cuisine to American palates. Some 65 percent of foodies (9 percent of all U.S. adults, or approximately 20 million) fall into the restaurant cohort. 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.

“Some foodies don’t think of themselves as trendy, but overall they are open-minded, curious, and eager to experiment with the new,” says Tatjana Meerman, publisher. “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.”

For foodies it always comes back to pleasing the palate: 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. For these reasons, 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.

Isn’t it grand to be a trendsetter?

The full report -- Foodies in the U.S.: Five Cohorts: Foreign/Spicy, Restaurant, Cooks, Gourmet and Organic/Natural -- is available for purchase at: