“Specialty Foods Have Mass Market Appeal” an article written by Richard Thompson for Gourmet News, The Business Newspaper for the Gourmet Industry, discusses specialty food business’ growth in recent years. Specialty foods are defined as high-quality foods in limited supply, or foods of exotic origin. Last year, specialty food sales reached a record of $109 billion.
Specialty foods have began to capture the attention of many mainstream food supply chains like Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target, and Costco. In response to the growing shift in consumer taste, these national retailers are starting to integrate specialty products into their product inventories. The specialty products that are offered are at a lower price to convey these products as healthier, more affordable alternatives than the previous “upscale” and premium-priced options.
Although mainstream food supply chains are helping specialty foods become more accessible, resulting in increased sales, the Specialty Food Association is concerned about the life span of specialty food retailers. The association argues how critical it is for specialty food retailers to differentiate themselves in order to maintain competitiveness in the marketplace.
When phrases like “Craft Beer”, “Artisanal Cheese” and “Small Batch” quickly enter the everyday lexicon and just as quickly, lose their ability to differentiate with any real meaning, you need more than a catch-phrase or a hip logo.
Having a brand strategy – literally the definition of who you are, what your company and your products stand for – is the first step toward building a lasting, successful specialty food business.
How are you differentiating your product in the eyes of the consumer?