December 17, 2011
With unemployment still hovering around 9 percent, overall consumer spending flat, and food prices rising, you’d think Americans would be hunkering down for a long austere winter. But even if they're cutting back on restaurant meals and too-big-to-fit screen TVs, they’re not giving up fancy food from the grocery store, especially during the holidays. Consumers are expected to spend an average of $96.75 on candy and snacks this holiday season, a $10 increase from 2010. And sales of specialty foods and beverages rose 7.7 percent to $70 billion in 2010, according to the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade.
Whether it’s that gallon of eggnog or a log of lavender-infused goat cheese, consumers are rationalizing these purchases as “harmless little luxuries” that won’t make a severe dent in their bank accounts. Nearly 70 percent of consumers who splurge on specialty items do so "to treat themselves," according to a recent report by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade.
Click here to see seven ways consumers are treating themselves at the grocery store this year.