NEW YORK — Demand for yogurt, energy bars, nut and seed butters and coffee drinks helped fuel a 6.9% increase in retail and foodservice sales of specialty foods and beverages last year, according to research from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade.
With $3.4 billion in retail sales, cheese brought in the most revenue of all specialties, followed by meats, poultry and seafood; chips, pretzels and snacks; coffee, coffee substitutes and cocoa; and bread and baked goods. Functional beverages are the fastest growing segment, followed by yogurt and kefir. Among other findings:
- Specialty foods represent 13.7% of all food sales at retail.
- Kosher is the leading claim for new specialty foods, followed by all natural.
- Local is the most influential product claim today, according to 75% of retailers surveyed.
- Latin is the fastest emerging cuisine, according to retailers.