Liz Sanders

A Fresh Look at Foodies

We all have a foodie in our lives. You know… that friend who shares photos of their artisanal meals on social media, or knows all about the latest advancements in molecular gastronomy. Maybe you even consider yourself a foodie.

You probably have assumptions about who foodies are and how they think about food, but do they match up with reality? The IFIC Foundation’s 2017 Food and Health Survey provides new insights into foodies and their unique approach to food and nutrition.

The annual IFIC Foundation Food and Health Survey tracks consumer perceptions, beliefs and behaviors on a wide range of food and nutrition topics. In 2017, a new analysis of the survey went beyond traditional demographics (age, gender, race, income, etc…) to compile profile groups based on consumers’ perceptions and behaviors. These profiles, which include “foodies,” give an in-depth look into how consumer groups differ in their nutrition knowledge, purchasing behaviors and food values.

So, what makes someone a “foodie” (aside from, of course, a love for all “artisanal” foods)? In a special analysis of the 2017 Food and Health Survey, foodies are defined as those who sacrifice cost and convenience in search of healthy products that taste great and are made in a way that aligns with their values. Basically, a foodie has time and money to spend in the pursuit of their perfect meal. One in seven respondents in the 2017 survey qualifies as a “foodie.”

Liz Sanders
Liz Sanders
Liz Sanders,
International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC)

The average foodie may be part of a different group than you imagine. Many of us tend to associate foodies with millennials, recent college graduates, or maybe moms. But data from the 2017 Food and Health Survey shows that a foodie may be more likely to be a boomer or an older adult. In the survey, foodies had a median age of 58 years. They were also more likely to be female and earn over $75,000 USD per year. Foodies are also less likely to have kids under 18 at home. These demographic differences make good sense: older individuals with higher incomes are less likely to prioritize cost and convenience than those with limited resources and kids to feed.

Additionally, the 2017 Food and Health Survey shows that foodies have their own unique requirements to consider food “healthy.” For the general population, the most important attribute of a healthy food is “high in healthy components or nutrients.” But foodies are more likely to choose “no artificial ingredients or preservatives” as their top attribute of a healthy food. Also, unlike other consumers, foodies also included “minimally processed” in their top three attributes of a healthy food. This implies that foodies may see “natural” and “healthy” as more or less the same.

If you are interested in specific healthy benefits in diet, a foodie may be able to point you in the right direction. Foodies, more than other consumers, were able to name a food or nutrient associated with a desired health benefit. For example, less than half (44%) of the general population could name a food or nutrient associated with their most desired health benefit (e.g., weight management, cardiovascular health, increased energy, etc…), compared with nearly two-thirds (60%) of foodies.

A foodie’s identity goes far beyond their social media presence. From nutrition knowledge to their understanding of what is “healthy,” foodies think about food differently from other consumers. To dive deeper into the 2017 Food and Health Survey, and learn more about foodies’ unique approach to food and nutrition, visit foodinsight.org.

If you are interested in other food production and food science highlights you might want to check: http://foodinsight.org/rotten-documentary-food-safety-production.

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