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    Gen-X Specialty Food Consumers: What They Want

    Denise Purcell | 7 Dec 2021

    Gen-X, adults ages 42-56, are driven to purchase specialty foods on impulse or to use as ingredients, according to the SFA’s Today’s Specialty Food Consumer report, 2021-2022 Edition. The annual report surveys consumers to understand the demographics, behaviors, usage occasions, and shopping habits by different generations.

    Here are highlights of some Gen-X drivers, preferences, and attitudes that are helpful to makers, buyers, and marketers when trying to reach these consumers.


    Biggest purchase drivers: impulse purchases; tasted an in-store sample

    Top specialty food uses: dinner, snacking, as ingredients to add to something special or to follow recipe

    Popular retail channels: supermarkets, mass outlets

    What they value in a store:
    •    Will pay more for better quality ingredients/food
    •    Look for specialty food and beverages that are on sale/featured

    What they value at foodservice:
    •    Prominently feature local/regional ingredients

    Interested in: Organic, locally sourced, plant based, trying foods that are only available in certain seasons, high-protein snacks, veggie-based snacks, grain alternatives, raw food, ugly produce, nose to tail.

    Tech habits: Big online food shoppers, especially of local supermarket’s website. Gen-Xs were the most likely of any generation to say they ordered more during the height of Covid (69 percent), and they, along with Gen-Zs, are most often saying they ordered more than pre-Covid in the last month (45 percent). They most often use their phones to find coupons discounts, manufacturer coupons, and purchase groceries.