Are grocers purchasing more specialty foods?

It's no secret that North Americans are becoming more cognizant of cuisine. The days of consuming a product simply because an advertisement said it would result in a robust liver are over. 

For the most part, modern consumers pay attention to what they eat. With a plethora of studies regarding genetically modified organisms and the detrimental effects of poor dieting available online in one form or another, awareness is the general status quo among the population. 

Are specialty foods healthy? 

This consideration for contemporary cuisine has raised discussions not only of healthy foods, but specialty edibles as well. It's important to recognize that specialty food and healthy food aren't inherently correlative, but the two contingencies are often closely associated with one another. Excellere Partners provided a value proposition for the specialty food sector:

"The U.S. specialty food industry caters to (i) consumer demand for higher quality, complex flavor offerings, (ii) dual income families with a need for the convenience of prepared foods, (iii) increasing demands for a healthier lifestyle, and (iv) value-conscious consumers coupled with industry consolidation driving the penetration of private labeled goods." 

Are their profits to be made? 

The question is, should procurement officers and spend management specialists at grocery chains consider the expenses associated with purchasing specialty foods (i.e. organic edibles, fine-crafted products and the like)? The answer isn't as simple as "yes" or "no" - the decision is primarily based on a supermarket's target audience. Although consumers are more health-conscious now than they were in the past, there are some segments that don't factor in product quality as heavily as others. 

According to Statista, the U.S. specialty food industry generated $8 billion in revenue from 2009 to 2014. The source also noted that specialty condiments, dressings and marinades at stores across the U.S. generated $1.5 billion in sales over the same time period. 

While sales numbers are always appreciated - especially from a spend management perspective - it's important to assess how many people within a given contingency are actually purchasing a certain type of product. In 2014, 69 percent of U.S. shoppers purchased specialty foods. Whether or not these consumers were avid consumers of specialty foods or simply bought such items sparingly was not identified. 

One thing is for certain: Procuring specialty food for resale isn't a bad idea. Then again, depending on the type of consumers a supermarket caters to, treading carefully into the sector may be the wisest decision. 

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