“Foodies” lead the way as innovators, early adopters

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 17th December 2008

Foodies are passionate and curious and, according to new research, lead the way in trialling new products.

In the 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,” Tatjana Meerman, publisher of Packaged Facts, advised.

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 behaviours 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 used data from Simmons Market Research Bureau to segment the overall foodie demographic into the five segments 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 segment 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.