The Specialty Food Association (SFA) released its annual State of the Specialty Food Industry Report, revealing that the specialty food market reached total sales of $170.4 billion in 2020, a 13 percent increase since 2018.

Much of this was driven by the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on buying, at-home meal preparation and consumption. Specialty food sales grew 24 percent at retail from 2018-2020, and 19.4 percent in 2020 alone. Consumers cooking or baking at home benefitted products like baking mixes, pasta and sauces, frozen entrees, meat, poultry and seafood (frozen, refrigerated).

“The ripple across all channels of the specialty food industry has been tremendous,” says Bill Lynch, president of the SFA. “We’ve seen businesses flex their creativity in ways they never could have imagined, from restaurants becoming pop-up specialty food grocers to makers increasing production to meet consumer demand. Despite these historic challenges, the industry has continued to innovate and grow, as outlined in our annual research.”

The annual State of the Specialty Food Industry research is an examination of market size and sales; dollar and unit sales growth; specialty food category penetration; growth forecasts in key categories; and 10-year tracking and forecasting in key categories.

The SFA’s report will be discussed during a June 24 webinar, 1 pm EST, free for SFA members and $19 for nonmembers, and will be a featured panel during Fancy Food Show 2021.