Product innovation and a wider availability of specialty foods via mass-market outlets has contributed significantly to the growth of specialty foods and beverages, according to the Specialty Food Association’s annual “State of the Specialty Food Industry” report.
Driven by growing interest from both consumers and retailers, the sector’s total sales surged 11% from 2015 to 2017, reaching $140.3 billion last year, according to the New York-based association.
The share of consumers buying specialty foods by generation shows 79% of Gen Z (ages 18 to 23) having adopted consumption of specialty food items, followed by millennials (ages 24 to 41) with 67%, Gen Xers (ages 42 to 53) with 65%, and baby boomers (54 to 72) at 60%.
Across retail channels, online sales of these varieties grew 20.9% from 2015 to 2017, followed by foodservice (12.8%) and brick-and-mortar stores (10.7%).
Click through to view the top five product categories with the highest dollar growth based on percent change from 2015 to 2017, as well as a new-product example of each.