Mainstream supermarkets lead the market for gourmet/specialty foods and beverages, accounting for 52% of total retail dollar sales in 2007. They also account for the majority of natural/organic sales, too. What do the two categories have in common? A lot, according to Packaged Facts, a market research firm, which found that gourmet foods and beverages tagged as natural rose from 174 in 2006 to 259 in 2007. Simultaneously, national and independent supermarkets are quickly reinventing themselves with fresh formats, carrying greater numbers of gourmet and specialty products to attract more customers.
“We anticipate this broadening of the gourmet/premium market well into the next decade,” said Tatjana Meerman, publisher at Packaged Facts.
Overall, sales in the gourmet, specialty and premium food and beverage categories topped $59 billion last year — an increase of almost 11% over 2006, according to the report. By 2012, annual sales in the gourmet/premium food and beverage industry should rise to $96 billion, with the cheese and dairy sector expected to post the highest growth rate at 13% during that period.