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"Consumers are choosing specialty foods over conventional foods at record levels," according to new research from the Specialty Food Association, which says that "close to 75 percent of U.S. consumers report making specialty food purchases this year, a major increase since the economic downturn of 2009 when only 46 percent reported that they bought these high-quality products. Consumers surveyed say they spend about one quarter of their at-home food dollars on specialty options like artisanal chocolates, cheeses and oils."

The study also says that "some 43 percent of specialty food consumers use their mobile phones to buy food, and nearly half buy foods with locally-grown ingredients," that "genetically modified organisms are emerging as a hot topic for specialty food consumers, who are four times more likely to seek out non GMO foods than are non-specialty food consumers," and that "specialty food consumers tend to be young, affluent, and live in the West or Northeast. Men are almost as likely to make purchases as women, with 74 percent of men and 75 percent of women reporting buying specialty foods." And: "For the second year, the top five categories consumers say they buy are chocolate, olive oil and other specialty oils, cheese, yogurt and kefir, and coffee. Salty snacks have jumped from ninth to sixth place among most purchased specialty foods."
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