Market Focus - Foodies: Money Rumblings
Sure, we all like food. We all enjoy a Sunday pancake breakfast or a glass of red wine with a bit of chocolate. But foodies are a whole class unto themselves. They can tell you what grade of syrup is on those pancakes (preferably grade B), and they know what region the wine came from.
"The foodie is someone who is desperate about the food and wine industry without actually being in it," says Nycci Nellis, publisher and CEO of The List, which operates TheListAreYouOnIt.com, an e-zine that covers every food and wine event in the Washington, D.C. metro area. "If they have money, they will spend it on food and wine, and if they don't have it, they'll save it to spend on food and wine."
It would be a mistake to group all foodies in one basket. According to Karen Page, co-author of "What to Drink with What You Eat," the 2007 International Association of Culinary Professionals "Cookbook of the Year," there are three types: Cooks, including recipe junkies and gadget lovers who buy all the latest cooking equipment; restaurant goers, including hipsters who are interested in only the trendiest spots and chowhounds who prize value for their dollars; and wine lovers, including adventurers who seek out grape varietals they've never heard of before and food-and-wine synergists who value the best food-and-wine pairings above all. "While there is often some overlap between and among categories, members of each category largely hang out on different Web sites and chat rooms and read different magazines," says Page. "It's important to understand and market to each individual niche."
There are some commonalities among foodies of different types, however. According to Ann Bullock, account manager at the list management and brokerage firm Millard Group-which manages food and cooking titles and catalogs like Bon Appetit, Dean & DeLuca and Food & Wine-they tend to be an older and more affluent group, who live in all regions of the U.S. and are split between male and female. Not all foodies are affluent, though they are willing to spend their money on great food and products. "They are intellectual, curious but not necessarily wealthy people, like university professors or artists or academics who are really interested in food," says Field Reichardt, president of The Organic Olive Oil Co.