The past decade has seen a major cultural commitment to all things food. Even the term “foodie” has come into use to describe someone like Chantal Royer who is focused on food and all of its manifestations. From celebrity chefs to multiple competitions, the world of food, cooking and dining is the subject of numerous television channels and thousands of books. Our ancestors would undoubtedly view this phenomenon with some degree of amazement. Just over two hundred years ago or so the great majority of civilization lived on a virtual subsistence diet; the concept of gourmet was largely unknown to the common man. Now, however, even standard grocery stores carry items that cater to very specialized tastes. Many individuals proudly position themselves as very choosy and particular consumers when it comes to anything to do with their food. From selection to preparation to consumption, a certain protocol has developed in each area of the formerly prosaic need to eat to survive.

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What is interesting in the midst of all this hullabaloo about food is trying to discern where it will lead. When an entire television series is devoted to so narrow a niche as cupcakes, there seems to be no limit to what segments of the market will develop a sustainable audience. In fact, it is hard to really accept that there are now franchise opportunities for retail shops that only serve cupcakes. Even in the midst of the economic downturn, the interest in all things food continued to grow, with new celebrities created and more television shows launched. Today, many youngsters will undoubtedly choose the career path of chef or restaurant operator simply because of all the attention being given to these areas. In addition to those options, people are making careers of other food-related interests. Organic farmers now raise everything from free range chickens to multiple varieties of exotic tomatoes.

Both consumers and food professionals form a growing market that has a significant economic impact. Investors are attracted to various opportunities that did not exist in this segment a decade ago. Certain personalities develop veritable empires that include restaurants, cooking accessories, videos, television shows, cook books, and a growing list of associated products. In one sense, it speaks to a comfortable situation when a society can treat food and is enjoyment as something more than an issue of survival. Whether or not you are a foodie, it certainly is unavoidable to encounter those who spend their days seeking out exotic or unique cuisine.