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The Facts About Food and Other Life Lessons

So, I’m writing on location at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Though it sounds glamorous and exciting, it is a rat race and just plain full of people. Plus, I’ve never seen so many varieties of cheeses, olive oils, crackers, salad dressings, and salsas.

One interesting seminar I attended features the NASFT 2009 Specialty Food Consumer Information. Without giving the farm away, there were some staggering realizations in this handy dandy little book that raise some very good questions. When I think of advertising in the specialty food category, I immediately envision those ads targeting older women and their family, making great choices for the home with a little extra expendable income. However, the latest data seems to show some staggering shifts in consumer trends.

The report shows that 57% of the 18—24 demographic purchase specialty foods, as opposed to the 38% of those 45—54. Of this large population of youngsters, 64% of them are buying specialty cold beverages (whoo, hoo to Red Bull!), and the majority admit that they buy these items outside of their income bracket mainly to show off to friends—Why, hello, Bill. Would you like a little bit of this brie? Contrary to common sense, the landscape has changed from simply the well-educated foodie, but now it encompasses your average college kid with mom and dad’s expendable income!

This is just yet another example of why it is so important to look at your marketing landscape with more than just assumptions and gumption. There must be more than just a “spaghetti” tactic—an idea we just throw at the wall of consumers and hope sticks to something. Though it is a rudimentary idea, I see so many tv spots, tag lines, etc. that either clients or agencies assume who the audience is, what they want, and how they want it all because that’s how they’ve always done it! Well, let the specialty food industry be an example of how far off target an assumption can be—and how many marketing dollars will be completely wasted.

*Photo: http://sfcitizen.com/blog/tag/restaurants/

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