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Top Specialty Food Insights from the Summer Fancy Food Show

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“The State of the Specialty Food Industry 2014” is both a report and a presentation at the annual Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. It packs incredible value, insight and analysis into this fast-growing segment of the global food industry.

The 2013 edition helped this Examiner to advise food entrepreneurs in and around Boston over the past year. So I was privileged and grateful to be able to slip into this year’s session – a Monday (June 30) morning Education Session of the Fancy Food Show tacked onto my trip to New York for the Food + Tech Connect Hack//Dining NYC. (It was a whirlwind week of good food prowess.)

Listening to David Lockwood from Mintel and Ron Tanner from the Specialty Food Association, who are economical and engaging co-presenters, I did my best to scribe down (and live tweet out) the highlights…

All data is sourced to market research leader Mintel.

The Big Picture: The demand for safer, healthier food continues to grow. (Specialty food sales jumped 18.4% from 2011-2013 and another 8% in 2013.) In 2004, total sales were $25 billion. In 2013, $88 billion – with 80% of sales being retail (15% of these direct-to-consumer) and 20% foodservice.

Biggest Product Categories: cheese and cheese alternatives; frozen/refrigerated meats, poultry, seafood; chips, pretzels, other snacks

Fastest Growing Categories: nut and seed butters; eggs; frozen desserts.

Top Channels For Growth: subscription services (mail or home delivery); food service; convenience stores; online delivery (Amazon, Google, Whole Foods).

Top Product Innovation: Gluten free.

What Retailers Want (Where They See Growth):

  • Non-GMO
  • Local (as a category, they perceive it will grow the most over the next 3 years)
  • Prepared foods that contain less than 5 ingredients

More specifically…

  • “Bacon everything”
  • “Craft chocolate”
  • “Hipster packaging”

Top Product Claims Compelling Eaters:

  • All Natural
  • Local
  • Organic
  • Non-GMO (the market is confused in differentiating “non-GMO” and “organic”)

For food entrepreneurs and aspiring food entrepreneurs (as you likely know well), it’s a ripe to be entering this market.

Want to talk about it? Tweet me at @businessforfood.

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