Photo source: DAH!I’m coming off of five days, four nights in New York City attending the Fancy Food Show, which included dining with actress and author Padma Lakshmi, who is the board advisor and brand partner for DAH! India Inspired Yogurt. This was followed by Marcum’s Food & Beverage Summit where “real” dairy innovation proved to be of high interest to many attendees and investors. And then, walking back to my hotel for a needed night’s rest before an early flight home, I spontaneously was gifted a 5th row ($250) ticket to see Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick on Broadway in the remake of Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite. (I did not get that sleep.) Then the return to Chicago Thursday morning included almost four hours stuck on the tarmac at LaGuardia airport because of storms. On the plus side, I had an amazing pro-dairy conversation with my seat mates, followed by the very enlightening “How do you milk a microbe?” webinar from the non-GMO Project. Yes, I am exhausted.
Takeaways from the Fancy Food Show
It was wonderful to see so many of you at the Summer Fancy Food Show. The annual event, held June 12-14, marked a return following a two-year hiatus and featured more than 1,800 exhibiting companies. Please read THIS impressive summary of highlights from the show written by my Food Business News colleague Monica Watrous.
Topline: The specialty food market, which encompasses products with limited distribution, gourmet ingredients and elevated preparations, reached total sales of $175 billion in 2021, up 7.4% from the prior year, according to the Specialty Food Association. Dairy, in its many shapes and formats, is one of the largest sectors of the specialty food industry. Cheese, creamer and frozen desserts lead the way, with yogurt, butter and refrigerated desserts gaining traction.
The annual State of the Specialty Food Industry research presented at the Fancy Food Show included a closer look at specialty perishable sales, which are expected to reach nearly $33.5 billion in 2022. Perishables (random weight, non-UPC’d specialty items sold in a bakery, cheese, deli, meat and seafood sections) are critical to specialty, both in scale and as a good source of growth. For specialty retailers, perishables departments represent enticing, creative merchandising and execution. Plus, they are important centers for emerging food and beverage innovation that may eventually migrate to packaged goods categories.