Specialty Foods - The NASFT State of the Industry Report - The Market - US - October 2009
Specialty foods are defined as products that have limited distribution and a reputation for high quality. These items are becoming more popular—and easier to find—as the American consumer has developed a more sophisticated and discerning palate and as a growing number of channels offer foods to attract these consumers. NASFT estimates that there are more than 190,000 specialty foods products in the marketplace in channels that vary from boutiques and department stores to specialty food stores, natural food stores, supermarkets, and drug stores. The number and range of specialty food products has been growing steadily since NASFT and Mintel began to report on the industry in 2004; consumers have shown many times over that their interest in specialty foods—both imported and US made—shows no sign of slowing.
A number of factors have contributed to the continued growth in the industry—globalization, a greater interest in high-quality ingredients, and more disposable income available for non-discretionary food purchases. Consumers continue to educate themselves about the food traditions of other regions through travel and armchair travel, by reading books and magazines, and by watching cooking and travel shows on television. They have also expanded their away-from-home eating horizons by visiting more sophisticated restaurants that feature foods of unusual areas or regions. And consumers have begun to include more specialty foods and beverages in their at-home menus as well, both from foreign countries and from a number of distinct regions in the US.
This report encompasses three years of sales data (2006-08) for each of 47 segments, and discusses the positive and negative factors that may have a bearing on each segment’s future growth or decline. New products in each segment, drawn from Mintel’s GNPD database, are included in order to illustrate representative examples in each product class or to point out new avenues that a product class is taking. Also included in this report is a comprehensive look at distribution channels within the specialty food trade, from importer and broker to retailer.
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