If Loving A Burrito is Wrong, We Don’t Want to be Right.


By Jason Kelley
June 22, 2011

Consumer Insights

The top food brands that appeal to Americans with adventurous tastes are Chipotle, Naked Juice, El Monterey and Jamba Juice according to TNS data.  This suggests that a significant opportunity exists for marketers to expand food offerings that address consumers’ desire for discovery and adventure.

The analysis, which is based on the TNS Landis US Consumption Universe across the food and beverage landscape, took 270 consumer food, snack and beverage brands into account. It identifies two consumer segments, “Culinary Enthusiasts” and “Upbeat Food Explorers,” who are highly motivated by the exploration and discovery of new and exotic foods, beverages, and restaurants. These consumers are twice as likely to try any food/beverage at least once, no matter how exotic or unusual.

Paulette Kish, EVP of TNS Landis Innovation, said that the results of the analysis reveal significant potential in this market. “In the face of lifestyle stress, consumers often find relief and escape through foods and beverages,” she said. “Sometimes this means a return to comfort foods, but consumers also escape by elevating experiences and increasing excitement in small, affordable doses.”

Top Brands Reflect Beverages and Mexican Fare

Despite this potential, consumers today believe there are only a few specific brands that have much appeal to those with adventurous tastes. After Chipotle and Naked Juice, the top-15 products include other juices and adult beverages, along with a few mildly exotic and spicy offerings such as frozen Mexican snacks/entrees.

To further highlight the potential opportunity, TNS Landis also ranked product types that appeal to adventurous eaters alongside the branded products. This side-by-side comparison found that generic food types such as tofu, imported cheese, hummus, sushi, and whole grains such as barley/bulgur scored higher than did most brands. This may suggest unmet needs for branded products in these categories.

When consumer confidence improves, Kish said that the market should expect to see more retail brand marketers offering solutions to consumer food adventure-seeking. She identified the following trends to watch:

  • The “mainstreeting” of exotic fare
  • Global migration of flavors, spices, and preparation methods
  • Source-branded ingredients such as those already present for products such as coffee and olive oil

Last year, the Food Channel similarly identified diversity and globalization and the move toward spicier foods as top-10 trends.