The sales of specialty food and beverages were $148.7 billion in 2018, according to The State of the Specialty Food Industry, 2019-2020 Edition from The Specialty Food Association and reported in the Summer 2019 issue of Specialty Food Magazine. That’s a 9.8% increase since 2016.
The highest growth in retail sales were in refrigerated, fresh, frozen, and plant-based products. The following top 10 categories made up almost half of retail specialty food sales:
The following top 10 categories had the highest dollar growth:
Millennials led the way in purchasing specialty food, with 84% buying items in 2018. However, the report notes that older Millennials (ages 35–42) showed patterns similar to Gen X (ages 43–54). The 75% of Gen X who bought specialty food in 2018 were more likely than any other generation to buy products from a wider range of categories.
Findings about Gen X included:
As for the up-and-coming Gen Z (ages 18–24), they went from being the biggest buyers of specialty food in 2017 (79%) to the smallest in 2018 (66%). The report states it’s too early to know if this change is a pattern. Also, other findings show Gen Z’s interests are aligned with specialty food consumers. One possible explanation for the change in purchases is that Gen Z is more financially conservative than Millennials.
Men were much more likely in 2018 than in the past to be either the primary food shopper for their households or to have a participating role. Characteristics of men shoppers include:
Characteristics of women shoppers include:
The Specialty Food Association offers seven main takeaways from the report:
By Carol Wiley
Source: Food Industry Executive
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