Retailers go ‘local’ at Fancy Food Show
Products organically made within 200 miles of the retail outlet and without wheat were the hit of the 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York this week. It seemed that every other booth was promoting locally made, organic or gluten free items. Even Walkers, the famous shortbread biscuit maker from Scotland, is going gluten-free, introducing three new cookies using rice flour instead of wheat to the American market.
Retailers interviewed at the show said "local" is the most important product claim today, and predict it will remain so in three years. In addition, about two-thirds surveyed are now selling more products with non-GMO claims.
The Specialty Food Association, which sponsors the Fancy Food Show, reported that the top ten best-selling categories have shifted since 2013. Cheese is still the biggest category, with $3.7 billion in U.S. sales, but coffee and cocoa have jumped over frozen and refrigerated meat, poultry and seafood for second place. Bread and baked goods rounded out the top five.
The fastest growing categories in unit sales are refrigerated pasta and pizza sauces, up 78 percent since 2012, followed by refrigerated pasta and eggs, both up 53 percent. Other notable gainers in unit sales are functional beverages, nut and seed butters and energy bars and gels. Overall, unit sales of specialty food grew 13.6 percent.
Which of the current food sales drivers — including locally-produced, organics, gluten-free, etc. — do you think will be the most important for retailers over the next year? Which of these, if any, do you think will be most relevant in five years?