Editor's Letter

A Specialty Passion

Food is a suitable and fairly clear lens through which we view and understand history, trends and, even more so, people. By understanding consumption habits—who eats what and why—we can digest the culture of the ever-changing and exciting specialty food industry in which we're residing.

Food tells the story of our heritage just as much as literature, art or music. And, today, that story is culminating in a vibrant gourmet world—a direct result of passion on both the supply and buy sides.

This issue, we take a more insightful look at the core specialty food consumer (page 6) and the continual evolution of spending habits, behaviors and needs. Whether a manufacturer or retailer, it's important to understand that the specialty food choices made by our core buyers are fundamentally changing the landscape of food culture.

The driving force behind many specialty food purchases is simply the desire to try new things, and consumers' constant exposure to new, sensory-inducing products is intensifying the interest. In this issue, we focus on the specialty food categories with the most likelihood of purchase by consumers looking to try something new, something convenient or something healthy—gourmet gifting introductions at market (10), springtime sweets (18), half-way homemade mixes (20), sauces (23), dressings (24) and more are all at the turn of the page.

Happy reading,
Megan O'Neill
Associate Editor