Specialty Food Stores

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 19,000 specialty foods stores in the US sell produce, seafood, grocery, meat and poultry, bakery, prepared foods, specialty cheese, coffee and tea, nutritional supplements, vitamins, educational products, floral, and even certain household products. Most specialty food stores offer products deemed to be higher quality and premium-priced than traditional grocery stores.

Dependance On Economic Conditions

Specialty food customers typically are more affluent (household income of $75,000) than the average grocery store shopper.

Perishable Products

Specialty food stores typically carry more perishable products than traditional food retailers, often comprising two-thirds or more of their product offerings.

Industry size & Structure
Industry Forecast
Specialty Food Stores Industry Growth
Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

Recent Developments

Jun 13, 2024 - Producer Prices Extend Steep Climb
  • Producer prices for specialty food stores jumped 10.3% in April compared to a year ago after climbing 19% in the previous annual comparison, according to the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Producer prices for the industry have been rising steeply and relatively steadily for three years, supported by rising consumer expenditures over the same period. By comparison, employment by specialty food stores shrank by 4.2% in April year over year, while average industry wages rose to a new high of $18.44 per hour over the same period, BLS data show.
  • Whole Foods Market is expanding its meat market quality standards to ensure that animals are raised humanely, the company announced in a June press release. The specialty grocer is partnering with three new third-party providers: A Greener World’s Certified Animal Welfare Approved, Humane Farm Animal Care’s Certified Humane Raised and Handled, and Regenerative Organic Alliance’s Regenerative Organic Certified. The newly expanded program will include species not previously covered under the animal welfare policy, such as bison, veal, venison, duck, goose, and quail, and cover frozen, smoked, cooked, and cured products sold in its meat departments. In 2026, in addition to the existing meat quality standards, the program logo or seal will appear on product packaging, shelf strips, or scale tags for all products in the meat department to confirm that the product is animal welfare certified, according to the company.
  • US grocery sales are projected to fall over the next five years compared to the last five, with ecommerce outperforming in-person sales, according to the US eGrocery Sales Forecast: 2024-28, from Brick Meets Click and Mercatus. Overall grocery sales, and ecommerce in particular, surged during the pandemic and its aftermath as record-high food inflation took hold. Both inflation and consumers' affinity for online grocery shopping are proving sticky. According to the new report, ecommerce is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5% versus a 1.3% rate for in-person grocery shopping. Total online sales could reach $120 billion by the end of 2028 and account for 12.7% of the total grocery sales in the US, according to the Brick Meets Click forecast. Delivery and pickup sales combined will represent 10.7% of total grocery sales in five years, per the report.
  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (aka WIC) received its first update in roughly a decade in April, AP News reports. The updated program for low-income mothers incentivizes fruit and vegetable purchases while expanding access to culturally diverse offerings. Under the new rules, fruits and vegetable vouchers in 2024 will provide $26 per month for kids ages 1 through 4, $47 per month for pregnant and postpartum women, and $52 for breastfeeding women. “It places a heavy emphasis on fruits and vegetables, which we think is an important component of a healthy diet,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The updates also expand access to global whole grains like quinoa, wild rice, and millet and to foods such as teff and whole wheat naan and remove or reduce monthly allowances for juice and cut back on allowances for milk, according to the agency.
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