State of the Specialty Food Industry Report


Each year the Specialty Food Association publishes a detailed industry report – it is a joint research project prepared by Mintel and SPINS/IRI.  The report covers the three most recent calendar years of sales data and has figures for 63 specialty food categories. In addition, it includes data and insights from a 23-question customer survey conducted in January 2020 among 1630 adults, as well as interviews with members of the supply chain including retailers, food service operators, specialty food manufacturers, brokers and distributors.

Here are some highlights that may be of interest to you:

Size of Specialty Foods Category:  By end of 2019 specialty food sales totaled 158.4 billion, a 10.7 percent increase since 2017.  The specialty food and beverage market outpaced the sales of all foods, growing three times faster than the entire food and beverage market during 2017-2019. Sales at brick and mortar retailers hit 118.1 billion (dominated by conventional supermarkets and mass merchandisers), food service channels reached 34.8 billon and online sales were 5.4 billion (pre-pandemic). Note that Walmart and Target have publicly states that they plan to “go deeper with specialty assortments across various food and beverage categories.”

Specialty Food – What’s Selling Now:  There is continuing consumer interest in plant-based, refrigerated/fresh frozen and health.  The top 10 categories in retail sales are: cheese and plant based cheese, meat, poultry and seafood (refrigerated and frozen), chips, pretzels, snacks; coffee and hot cocoa (non-RTD), bread and baked goods, chocolate and confectionary, refrigerated entrees, frozen desserts, water, frozen entrees (lunch and dinner).

Plant based meat alternatives are top sellers

Top 10 Categories with Highest Dollar Growth: Refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives, shelf-stable creams and creamers, refrigerated creams and creamers, refrigerated RTD tea and coffee, frozen breakfast foods, frozen juices and beverages, water, jerky and meat snacks, rice cakes and baby food.

Water moved from number 12 to number 9 in top 10

Who is buying and what do they want?  The survey data shows that younger millennials ages 26-34 are the core specialty food consumer.  The next group most likely to buy are the Gen Z’s (ages 18-25). Gen-X’s and Baby Boomers are trending down.  Millennials and Gen Z’s are looking for convenience, value, quality and healthy options when shopping for groceries. If they are going out to eat, these two groups prefer restaurants that clearly identify menu options that align with special diets, allow them to customize their orders, explain the ingredients.

In total specialty food consumers spend about 30 percent more on food than non-specialty consumers weekly, $228 compared to $176.

Millennials & Gen Z love specialty foods

Impact of COVID-19: The impact of COVID-19 on the food industry in retail, foodservice and in the supply chain has been enormous and will continue for some time.  In March there was panic buying and shelves were quickly emptied of staples like baking mixes, flour, pasta, pizza sauces, soups and shelf- stable entrees and mixes.  After this initial spike, consumers once again started buying specialty products, but some traded down or out of the market until economic conditions improve. As a result, some specialty brands are temporarily SKUing down while at the same time ramping up production of their best sellers.

Consumers also shifted away from food service to eating at home with many restaurants closed or having limited take-away offerings. Restauranteurs say they have only a 15 percent survival chance if the COVID-19 crisis lasts another 6 months considering the social distancing requirements and other required precautions. At the same time, a shift to online shopping took place (51 percent of consumers ordered groceries online in month ending April 7, 2020) and while it remains to be seen if this trend will continue, many shoppers indicate they’ll continue ordering online. Online sales of specialty food and beverage items grew 55 percent in 2018 and 50 percent in 2019 to 5.4 billion.

The above is only a small sample of the extensive information available to those interested in specialty food. You can download the full 125 page State of the Specialty Food Industry report and 10-Year Category Tracking and Forecasts, 2020-2021 Edition at: 

Lily Noon

Source: The State of the Specialty Food Industry 2020-2021 Edition














これらはほんの「さわり」にすぎず、ほかにもスペシャリティフードに関心のある人向けに膨大な情報が提供されています。全125ページのレポート『The State of the Specialty Food Industry, 2020-2021 Edition』と過去10年間のカテゴリー別統計および展望は、次のサイトで入手できます 

Lily Noon

出典:The State of the Specialty Food Industry 2020-2021 Edition(スペシャリティフード業界の現状、2020~2021年版)

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