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Gourmet and Specialty Foods

This discussion of gourmet and specialty foods describes how these products are defined by their wider social and economic contexts, how these definitions have changed, and how they function within the cultural landscape of the U.S. food industry. Given the importance and size of this segment of the food retail market—representing nearly 14% of all retail food sales in 2011, and accounting for $75.14 billion in sales during the same year—understanding how the gourmet and specialty foods segment of the food market distinguishes itself from and operates within the larger food retail market can be helpful to researchers and consumers alike. This entry describes what gourmet and specialty mean with regard to food, along with their history and their presence within today’s food marketplace.

Defining Gourmet

The ...

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