NEW YORK — Specialty coffees, cheeses, chocolates and olive oils are the items most commonly sought by consumers of specialty foods, who account for 46% of the U.S. population, according to research by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade here.
Also gaining momentum are specialty cold beverages, meats, bread, and prepared foods, said Ron Tanner, NASFT vice president of communication and education, Wednesday during a conference call focused on the findings.
“Consumers ages 18 to 24 are most likely to purchase specialty foods since they’ve grown up with these foods and have made them a part of their lifestyle,” he said.
“They might just be purchasing a nice coffee or a nice cheese, or some chocolates, rather than purchasing across a lot of categories.”
The study also found that consumers inhabiting the Western U.S. are 13% more likely than shoppers in the Northeast, South or Midwest to purchase specialty foods, while shoppers with household incomes exceeding $100,000, are 35% more likely to purchase specialty foods than other consumers.
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