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    Specialty Foods Gaining Among Millennials

    Core consumers are aged 18-44 and affluent.

    NEW YORK — Younger shoppers are moving toward specialty foods for snacks and on-the-go meals, according to a newly released survey conducted by the Specialty Food Association (SFA).

    "Millennials are looking for convenient products they can eat on the go, and are interested in trying new flavors and cuisines," said Louise Kramer, a spokesperson for the New York-based association.

    The survey, fielded online, defined "specialty foods" as those of premium quality such as high-end chocolate, coffee or cooking oil; those made by small or local manufacturers; those having exotic ethnic flavors; those having the very best ingredients available; or foods that are unique.

    Among the highlights of the SFA online survey:

    • 18- to 24-year-olds were the most likely consumers of chocolate, salty snacks, frozen desserts and ready-to-eat food and beverages.
    • 59 percent of U.S. adults purchased specialty food products in the last six months.
    • 42 percent of adults surveyed said they try new foods in order to eat healthier.
    • 71 percent of specialty food consumers support companies that practice sustainability.
    • Core specialty food consumers are aged 18-44 and affluent, earning more than $75,000 annually.
    • Women are more likely than men to purchase specialty food products.

    Consumers who purchase specialty foods regularly said they're spending one in four of their food dollars on such foods — up from one in five in 2013 — with chocolate, olive oil and cheese purchased most often.

    "Overall, specialty food consumers have these foods and beverages on hand for regular usage, whether as an everyday snack or meal, or as a treat," said Denise Purcell, senior director, content development for the SFA. "This daily engagement bodes well for the market as a whole."

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