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USA Today reports that Americans are becoming increasingly selective eaters, wanting the foods they eat "their way."

"Food giants no longer determine America's eating habits; consumers do," the paper reports. "This reality is causing foodmakers, restaurants and grocers to rethink the way they develop, market and display food. In a country that spends $900 billion annually on food, there's fat incentive to get it right."

Examples: Starbucks has more than 19,000 ways it can serve a cup of coffee, and five kinds of milk to stir into it: whole, non-fat, half & half, organic and soy. Ten years ago, Tropicana had two kinds of orange juice; today it has two dozen.

"It's a rejection of mass society," Ron Shaich, CEO of Panera Bread, tells USA Today.

"The American consumer went from being 'buyer beware' to 'buyer aware,' " Technomic's Dennis Lombardi tells the paper.
KC's View:
This is an interesting piece, worth reading, though we're a little skeptical about this "rejection of mass society" stuff. Some of the people interviewed by USA Today seem to think that so-called "foodies" are becoming mainstream, as people become more picky and selective in their tastes.

Actually, we think that there's a difference between being picky and selective. Our kids are picky (and sometimes, quite frankly, pains in the neck at suppertime). And we're not sure that people getting more selective about what they buy at McDonald's means that their taste in food is improving.

Let's not forget that Americans tend to be lemmings of the first order, easily captivated by fads and trends.