Consumers are sourcing their food across an increasingly broad range of retail and foodservice outlets, according to a new report byTechnomic.

In its latest study, "2010 Restaurants & Retail Report: Segmenting the Food & Beverage Consumer," Technomic, Chicago, said it delivers a revealing snapshot of Americans’ restaurant and food shopping patterns.

“Restaurants consistently provide consumers with foods that respond to their changing preferences and ideas of value. Locally sourced ingredients, organic and additive-free foods, and humanely sourced menu offerings have been growth areas,” says Darren Tristano, EVP at Technomic. “In a down economy, retailers gained a larger share of the foodservice market, but in order to keep that as the economic picture improves, they need to respond to consumers as effectively as restaurants have.”

Technomic says retailers continue to move into the restaurant sphere even as restaurant companies extend their brands with retail product offerings. Many retailers are using the restaurant sector as a blueprint for innovation as they seek to keep value-conscious consumers coming through the doors.

Technomic says it also learned ...

... 18- to 34-year-olds are most likely, by a wide margin, to be heavy users of premium fast food. This could have significant implications for future competition between retailers and limited-service restaurants, particularly in the fast-casual segment.

... heavy users of warehouse clubs, specialty/natural food stores and upscale supermarkets tend to source food from many types of retailers and restaurants.

... Men are more likely than women to be heavy food shoppers at convenience stores and warehouse clubs.