The Summer Fancy Food Show held in New York from June 23 to 25, made it clear why specialty foods are one of the fastest growing segments in the food business, reaching total sales of $ 148.7 billion last year, outpacing the growth of all food at retail, up 10.3 percent vs. 3.1 percent.
Presented by the Specialty Food Association (SFA), a not-for-profit association with over 3,800 members, including food artisans, importers, buyers and entrepreneurs, the show featured 2,400+ companies exhibiting over 200,000 specialty foods.
“The Summer Fancy Food Show is where our industry’s remarkable creativity, drive, and spirit of innovation are on display for an audience of buyers from every channel of the food industry, domestic and international,” said Phil Kafarakis, SFA president.
According to the SFA’s annual State of the Specialty Food Industry Report, product innovation and the wider availability of specialty products through mass-market outlets is playing a part in the industry’s success.
Sales through foodservice represented 22 percent of sales, with retail taking the top spot with 76 percent of sales. While online represents less than three percent of sales, it has grown 41 percent since 2016.
The highest growth in retail sales were in refrigerated, fresh, frozen, and plant-based products.
“Diverse consumer lifestyles are taking specialty foods mainstream,” said Kafarakis. “To reach these consumers and increase their own sales, food merchants have embraced the vast assortment of specialty products. Our research outlines the momentum in the industry and provides a comprehensive picture of where we are today and how businesses can prepare for the future.”
The largest show for specialty food in North America, held at the Javits Center in New York, featured companies from around the world.
New York boasted the largest state presence with more than 230 food companies, followed by California, New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. More than 50 countries participated in the show, with Germany as this year’s partner country.
Abasto Media walked the halls at the Summer Fancy Food Show, talked to the exhibitors and learned how the Hispanic businesses are trying to grow in the specialty foods industry.