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Specialty foods are no longer limited to a small segment of the US market, but have become and continue the trend in becoming mainstream, as more products are available in major outlets and a higher age of consumers begin to purchase specialty food items. In 2010, 63% of consumers purchased specialty foods; a 37% increase over 2009, according to "Today's Specialty Food Consumer 2010," the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade's (NASFT) annual report on consumer purchasing habits and trends1. The increase to 63% of consumers purchasing specialty foods in 2010 from 46% in 2009, according to Ron Tanner, the NASFT's Vice President, means that "51 million consumers have come back to specialty foods after cutting their spending during 2008 and 2009". It is still important to note however that more consumers 70% are buying specialty foods as "treats," not as everyday staples, Tanner indicated. This figure is also an increase - up from 61% in 2009.
Some industry highlights according to NASFT's annual State of the Specialty Food Industry 2011 are listed below: