Mark Dolliver: Burgers & Hotdogs

Fond as they are of burgers and hotdogs, Americans have been eating bigger and bigger amounts of gourmet food. A report from Packaged Facts says the U.S. market for gourmet/specialty/premium food and beverages will be valued at $59 billion this year, up 11 percent from 2006. And it’s forecast to reach $96 billion in 2012. Gourmet cheese and other dairy goods will pace the growth. One indication of American consumers’ growing appetite for fancy food and drink: “By October of 2007, 15 percent of all new foods and beverages introduced to the market fell into the gourmet category.”