Consumers Love Specialty Foods!

The Lempert Report
October 13, 2015

Specialty Food is drawing new crowds and gaining momentum.

According to; Today’s Specialty Food Consumer 2015, an online survey conducted in July by Mintel on behalf of the Specialty Food Association, specialty food is appealing to a new crowd this year and opportunities for increased sales exist amongst eager consumers.

Findings from the survey show that; men are increasing purchases, lower income consumers are buying a wide variety of products like artisanal cheese and single-origin chocolate, and millennials are showing their age at the store.

According to the report, while food shopping used to be seen as a woman's work, for the first time since this research began in 2005, men have surpassed women as most likely to purchase specialty food! And when it comes to the highly coveted millennial, as this group gets older, those pushing 40 are spending more on meal ingredients than snacks and treats often favored by the younger age group. And let’s not forget, convenience wins with younger specialty food consumers, specifically with online food shopping and a growing desire for delivery services.

Consumers with annual incomes of $75,000 are twice as likely as those earning less than $50,000 to be specialty food buyers, but, importantly, the less affluent are buying the same wide range of specialty foods. Denise Purcell, head of content at SFA told Supermarket News, “People who are in a range of incomes that is less than $25,000 to $50,000, buy specialty foods in many segments across the board. They range from treats to meal ingredients and part of this may be because specialty brands are becoming widely available through mass merchants and are therefore more recognizable and familiar, but the consumers are very engaged in this market. It’s not just affluent consumers.”

Such data can be useful for supermarkets when highlighting and displaying specialty foods. Not only is it good to know that consumers are still excited about and interested in specialty foods, but understanding that specific customers offer retailers a chance for a growth in sales means that supermarkets should consider targeted promotions, displays and deals.