Consumers are choosing specialty foods over conventional foods at record levels, according to new research from the Specialty Food Association.

Close to 75% of US consumers report making specialty food purchases this year, a major increase since the economic downturn of 2009 when only 46% reported that they bought these high-quality products. Consumers surveyed say they spend about one quarter of their at-home food dollars on specialty options like artisanal chocolates, cheeses and oils.

“The results confirm that consumers are responding to the wealth of innovative foods and beverages being produced today by food artisans and entrepreneurs across the U.S.,” says Ron Tanner, the Specialty Food Association’s vice president of communications and education. “Specialty food has become part of the daily diet for a majority of Americans.”

The findings are based on an online survey conducted by Mintel International in August 2013 of 1,486 adults age 18 and older who purchase specialty foods. The results are published in the October issue of Specialty Food Magazine. Specialty foods were defined as foods of premium quality that are often made by small or local manufacturers, have ethnic or exotic flavors and are foods that are distinctive.