The “Foodie” Movement Gains Momentum

February 13, 2013

CHICAGO—The line between specialty and mainstream foods continues to blur due to the escalating foodie movement. In the February issue of Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Contributing Editor A. Elizabeth Sloan highlights the latest statistics on the foodie phenomenon in the United States. The following stats are from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NAFST), Package Facts and the 2012 Culinary Visions Panel Survey.

  • Three-quarters (76 percent) of U.S. adults enjoy talking about new or interesting foods. 53 percent of U.S. adults regularly watch cooking shows.
  • Two-thirds (68 percent) of adults purchase specialty foods for everyday home meals.
  • Total sales of specialty foods reached $75.1 billion in 2011. Chocolate, specialty oils, cheese, and yogurt/kefir are purchased by more than half of specialty food shoppers, and yogurt/kefir is the fastest growing sector.
  • More than half (57 percent) of specialty food shoppers bought Italian specialty items in 2012 and 56 percent bought Mexican products.
  • 42 percent of foodies count calories, more than twice the percentage of the general population.
  • 54 percent of casual diners are considered foodies because of their desire to always or usually try new menu items when going to a restaurant.


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For more than 70 years, IFT has existed to advance the science of food. Our nonprofit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit

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