US specialty food sales top $1bn14 Apr 2015
The specialty food industry is a bright spot in the U.S. economy according to a new report from the Specialty Food Association produced in conjunction with research firms Mintel International and SPINS/IRI. The report, The State of the Speciality Food Industry 2015, claims that in 2014, sales of specialty foods – broadly defined for the report […]
The specialty food industry is a bright spot in the U.S. economy according to a new report from the Specialty Food Association produced in conjunction with research firms Mintel International and SPINS/IRI. The report, The State of the Speciality Food Industry 2015, claims that in 2014, sales of specialty foods – broadly defined for the report as products that have limited distribution and a reputation for high quality – topped $100 billion for the first time, with retail and foodservice sales reaching a record $109 billion.
Retail sales of specialty food sales grew 19% from 2012 to 2014 versus a 2% increase for all food. The industry, fuelled by small businesses, now boasts 15 segments that exceed $1 billion in sales, including cheese; coffee; meat, poultry and seafood; chips, pretzels and snacks; candy; and yogurt.
The report tracks U.S. sales of specialty food through supermarkets, natural food stores, specialty food retailers, and foodservice venues..
“The time is now for specialty food,” said Ron Tanner, vice president of philanthropy, government and industry relations for the Specialty Food Association. “Consumers are looking for new tastes, foods with fewer and cleaner ingredients, health attributes, and products that are made by companies with values they care about. All of these define specialty food.”
The top ten best-selling categories have shifted since 2013. Cheese is still tops with $3.7 billion in sales, but coffee and cocoa have jumped over frozen and refrigerated meat, poultry and seafood to claim second place. Bread and baked goods entered the top five, bumping out yogurt. Nuts, seeds, dried fruits and vegetables made it into the top 10, with $1.3 billion in sales in 2014.
The fastest growing categories in unit sales are refrigerated pasta and pizza sauces, up 78% since 2012, followed by refrigerated pasta and eggs, both up 53%. Other notable gainers in unit sales are functional beverages, nut and seed butters and energy bars and gels. Overall, unit sales of specialty food grew 13.6%.
Retail sales of specialty food hit a record $85.5 billion in 2014, representing 78% of total U.S. sales of specialty food. Foodservice sales account for the other 22% of all specialty food dollars, reaching $24 billion in 2014. Foodservice is an increasingly important sector, with growth of 30.7% since 2012.
Retailers interviewed for the report said “local” is the most important product claim today, and predict it will remain so in three years. Some 66% of those surveyed sell products with non-GMO claims.
The Specialty Food Association is a 3,000 member not-for-profit trade association.