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Move Over Foodies…Make Room for the Food Connected

New Study Sponsored by Fogelson & Co. Clearly Establishes That Nearly Two-Thirds of Americans Are Food Connected Consumers, Accounting for an Estimated $835 billion in US Food Expenditures

Gen Z Emerging as Highly Influential Segment

New York – October 24, 2018 – A new national research study released today by strategy and branding firm Fogelson & Co. defines for the first time a new and increasingly influential category of Americans:  the Food Connected Consumer (FCC).   Whereas a decade ago “foodies” were a specialized minority, today that deeper interest in food has gone mainstream.  This segment of more food-aware, food-involved consumers now represents 62% of Americans across all demographics and geographies, and accounts for an estimated $835 billion* in US food expenditures.

“Our research underscores an emerging, passionate majority of mainstream Americans – FCCs – who care about the food they eat, value transparency, and are loyal to brands that speak to them,” said Susie Fogelson, Founder and CEO of Fogelson & Co., and former head of branding and strategy at Food Network. “The findings suggest ways for food, beverage, hospitality and dining brands to rethink their storytelling strategy.”

The study reveals a number of compelling data points of importance to marketers:

·       FCCs are proactive about cooking; preparing meals from scratch three or more times per week, and they often doctor recipes.

 “These confident cooks may be swapping certain ingredients based on health concerns, flavor preferences, or even product availability. Brands can improve their chances of being the consumer choice through education, and demonstrating the product’s range of use,” said Fogelson. “And marketers shouldn’t be afraid to present new products and flavors – 67% of FCC consider themselves food explorers, which is fueling the global flavors trend.”

 ·       While the vast majority (91%) of FCCs look online for recipes and inspiration, they still shop at supermarkets, club and specialty shops, and farmers’ markets. And they regularly watch food shows (56%), read food magazines (30%) and follow bloggers or food experts online (20%).

According to Fogelson, digital platforms are critical for food brands, but crafting stories that play across channels is the best way to capture their attention – and that includes engaging them at retail. “Digital is a clear priority, it’s where they’re finding inspiration and information, but developing the right mix across channels—and playing to each channel’s strength—is ideal.”

The majority of FCCs (72%) support causes they believe in and 50% say they try to buy brands that align with their values. They are also 26% more likely than the general population to look for foods with simple, recognizable ingredients.

 The Power of Gen Z

In a follow up study, Generation Z’s passion for food is also evident, though in some different ways. Fogelson states, “Gen Z is really having a lot of fun with food. It’s a relief and a release from the perceived instability and uncertainty of their world.”

·       Over a third (37%) saying that snacking is their favorite meal and nearly half (47%) say they often eat breakfast foods at non-breakfast times. They also say they like to cook together with their family (40%) and, importantly, over half (54%) say they influence food purchases at home. 

Fogelson notes that experimenting in these spaces could yield an excellent payoff for brands. “Quick service restaurants that are serving breakfast all day are certainly on target. And considering Gen Z’s influence on food purchases, brands must find ways to appeal to them to capitalize on their indirect purchase power.”

It’s Still All About Storytelling

FCCs, from Gen Z to Boomers, all care about where their food is from and its impact—on individual health and our world—just to varying degrees. “Tell your food’s story,” said Fogelson. “What is its origin? How was it made? Why is it the better choice—not just for consumers, but the world we live in? If the story seems elusive, embrace the truth of your product and tell that. Every brand – even many non-food brands – can have a food story that resonates with this powerful audience.”

For more findings and insights, visit

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The F&Co/Jump Rope Innovation study evaluated attitudes and behaviors around cooking, shopping, eating, media consumption, social issues and more. It was conducted online among 1,123 consumers age 18-54 in August, 2018. A follow-up study was conducted October 23, 2018 among 283 consumers age 15-22.

About Fogelson & Co

Fogelson & Co (F&Co) is a boutique strategy and branding firm that helps companies, private equity and innovators in the food, hospitality and beverage industries develop compelling and sustainable food stories and a differentiated brand identity.  F&Co was founded by Susie Fogelson, who is well-known for leading marketing and strategy for the Food Network and Cooking Channel.

About Jump Rope Innovation

Jump Rope Innovation (JRI) is a premier trends and innovation consultancy that partners with large global packaged goods brands and small start-ups alike, in service of smart innovation.  JRI uses a hands-on, experiential approach to uncover the "what" and the "why" of consumer and category trends, and to bring these learnings to life through break-through platform identification, idea generation and concept development.

*Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics food expenditures data and FCC survey data estimates of income and food-related behaviors.

F&Co Food Connected Research Feature

Our research featured in an article on Refrigerated & Frozen Foods


Susie Fogelson, Industry Branding and Marketing Veteran, To Speak at Fast Casual Executive Summit 2018

Top-Level Executives from Established and Growing Fast Casual Restaurant Brands Convene to Share Knowledge, Insights and Ideas.

New York, NY – September 27, 2018 – Susie Fogelson, a leading food industry pioneer and strategist, will participate in the Fast Casual Executive Summit 2018 in Seattle, Washington on October 7 – 9, 2018.  The Fast Casual Executive Summit, in its 13th year, is an exclusive, invitation only event at which top-level restaurant executives  openly discuss topics critical to the fast casual sector, including marketing, technology, menu innovation, customer experience and more.

Fogelson, who is well-known for leading marketing and strategy for the Food Network for 16 years, now heads Fogelson & Co., a boutique strategy and branding firm that helps companies, private equity and innovators in the food, hospitality and beverage industries develop compelling and sustainable food stories and a differentiated brand identity.  She and her firm have deep experience in the dining and restaurant sector, advising leading brands such as Applebee’s and Rosa Mexicano. 

Fogelson is participating on both days of the conference, joining the panel on “How To Execute Winning Marketing Campaigns” with executives from Taziki’s Mediterranean Café and Cici’s Pizza on Monday, October 8th at 9:30 am.  She will also serve as an advisor at the Conference’s “Perfect Pitch” panel, where innovators pitch their fast casual concepts, and where Fogelson and other advisors will offer real world and valuable counsel about how to grow their concepts.  Audience members will then vote on their favorite pitch.  This session runs on Tuesday October 9 at 8:30 am.

“I’m excited to participate at this prestigious fast casual industry conference,” said Fogelson.  “We’ve seen enormous change and growth in the category, from new menu concepts to broadening the experience inside the restaurant to utilizing technology to drive brand and product awareness.  The challenge for companies in today’s dynamic and highly competitive marketplace is to define and refine their food story and create platforms that authentically engage customers again and again.  I look forward to sharing my experience and am particularly looking forward to advising the next crop of emerging fast casual entrepreneurs.”

About F&Co 

F&Co is a boutique consultancy that delivers brand and content strategy, storytelling concepts and experiential recommendations to companies across the food and beverage arena.


Contact: Rini Ader for F&Co, 646.872.3229

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