Testing specialty foods

by Erica Shaffer
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Saffron Road frozen entree
Specialty food producers such as Saffron Road are participating in the Specialty Foods Association's first-ever consumer marketing campaign.

NEW YORK – Sales of specialty foods have catapulted to $100 billion for the first time, and the Specialty Foods Association is seizing the opportunity to let consumers know what’s so special about this niche.

The association is testing its first-ever consumer-focused marketing campaign in 33 supermarkets and online. The theme is “Celebrate Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy.” The campaign highlights 100 food products including frozen entrees produced by Saffron Road, pickles from Brooklyn Brine Co., goat cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre, chocolate chip cookies from Tate's Bake Shop, toasted coconut chips from Dang Foods, crackers from Partners Crackers and vanilla from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas.

“Consumers want the very best from the food they buy. They want distinctive products they trust made by people who care,” said Ann Daw, president of the association. “Now is the moment for specialty food.”

The retail test involves three retailers that specialize in specialty foods: Kings Food Markets, Morton Williams and FreshDirect, an online fresh food grocer. The stores will have displays of specialty foods, extensive signage and online messaging. The campaigns also will be featured on popular food websites Grub Street, Eater and Bon Appetit. Each test will run for several weeks. The association will decide to expand the test based on sales and shopper interviews.

“Our vision is for retailers across the country and with different formats to embrace the category of specialty food and the passion our member companies bring to their work creating distinctive products,” Daw said. “It is our industry that is helping to change the way people eat.”

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