Retailers Fancy Specialty Food

Unique spices, attractive gift baskets and locally produced foods are among the specialty items consumers desire, retailers told SN at the Summer Fancy Food Show, held last week. Whole Foods' prepared foods coordinator Andrew Roberts said that the local movement is growing. People want to know where the products they eat come from, he said. Catering to retailers in search of such products,

NEW YORK — Unique spices, attractive gift baskets and locally produced foods are among the specialty items consumers desire, retailers told SN at the Summer Fancy Food Show, held here last week.

Whole Foods' prepared foods coordinator Andrew Roberts said that the local movement is growing.

“People want to know where the products they eat come from,” he said.

Catering to retailers in search of such products, the show, run by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, included pavilions for foods from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Louisiana and other states.

Along with local foods, retailers were in search of other specialties. Mike Dorpat, a buyer for Costco.com [3], wanted truly unique specialty items, other than olive oil and chocolate. He found a gift basket to add to the online retailer's gift basket selection, the largest category it offers online.

Andronico's grocery category manager Jessica Willett was on the lookout for ethnic spices. Andronico's started stocking spices from Australia last year, and wants to complement them with spices from Africa and other areas.

She stressed that she wanted single-ingredient spices, not blends. While pre-made blends are a growing category in other supermarkets, they're not popular among Andronico's shoppers.

“Our customers want to create their own blends,” Willett said.