CHICAGO – US consumers are sourcing their food from an ever-expanding range of retail and foodservice outlets, according to a new report by Technomic titled The 2010 Restaurants & Retail Report: Segmenting the Food & Beverage Consumer.

Retailers continue to move into the restaurant segment while restaurant companies extend their brands with retail product offerings, the study reveals. Many retailers are using the restaurant sector as a blueprint for innovation as they seek to keep value-conscious consumers coming through the doors.

"Restaurants consistently provide consumers with foods that respond to their changing preferences and ideas of value," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president. "Locally sourced ingredients, organic and additive-free foods and humanely sourced menu offerings have been growth areas," "In a down economy, retailers gained a larger share of the foodservice market, but in order to keep that as the economic picture improves, they need to respond to consumers as effectively as restaurants have."

Study highlights include:

  • By a wide margin, 18- to 34-year-olds are most likely to be heavy users of premium fast food. This could have significant implications for future competition between retailers and limited-service restaurants, particularly in the fast-casual segment.
  • Heavy users of warehouse clubs, specialty/natural food stores and upscale supermarkets tend to source food from many types of retailers and restaurants.
  • Men are more likely than women to be heavy food shoppers at convenience stores and warehouse clubs.

The new study utilizes an exclusive Technomic survey of 2,000 US consumers who were asked to report their usage and attitudes regarding restaurants and food retailers. It also uncovers and analyzes current trends identified by Technomic's Retailer Meal Solutions Monitor service and Digital Resource Library.