Spice it up on Valentine's Day

Feb. 12, 2010

According to The National Retail Federation's 2010 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, couples will spend an average of $63.34 on gifts for their significant other or spouse, compared to $67.22 last year. The average person will shell out $103.00 on traditional Valentine's Day merchandise this year, similar to last year's $102.50. Total holiday spending is expected to reach $14.1 billion.

According to The National Retail Federation's 2010 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, couples will spend an average of $63.34 on gifts for their significant other or spouse, compared to $67.22 last year. The average person will shell out $103.00 on traditional Valentine's Day merchandise this year, similar to last year's $102.50. Total holiday spending is expected to reach $14.1 billion.

Although spending on family members will remain the same ($20.94 vs. $20.95 last year), family pets will also feel the love this year with the average person spending $3.27 on their furry friends, up from $2.17 last year.

As in previous years, men will spend nearly twice the amount women spend on the holiday. The average man plans to shell out $135.35 to impress the people in his life while women only expect to spend $72.28.

Valentine's Day is the perfect holiday to show your sweetie your romantic side with aphrodisiac foods- almonds, asparagus, artichokes, avocados, bananas, berries, caviar, Champagne, chili peppers, chocolates, figs, foie gras, garlic, honey, oysters, truffles and wine-purported to spice things up. And they are also healthy.  And don't forget saffron, mint and vanilla for flavor.

This year, it may be more of a milk chocolate year than a time for dark chocolate, despite the antioxidant health benefits in the dark product (which has more cocoa content), reports the Lempert Report. The reason: cocoa prices are at a 30-year peak of $3,510 per ton, according to Reuters. Three other possible shifts to cope with the price rise, say experts: smaller packages, aerated chocolate, and more fruit fillings, which cost less to produce.

If you want to prepare a special treat for your honey (and show your affection for your children), check out the recipes at www.McCormick.com

Make Valentine's Day a Red Letter Day. They will, no doubt, appreciate your special efforts.

And, if you haven't purchased a card for your love bug, it's not too late. Free e-cards are available at www.ValentinesCardsCentral.com