The Specialty Food Association recently 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. 

“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.”