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Sonoma County is home to some of the most innovative specialty food producers in the country. La Tortilla Factory, O Olive Oil & Vinegar, Alvarado Street Bakery, Traditional Medicinals, Amy’s Kitchen, Three Twins Ice Cream, McEvoy Ranch and Clover Sonoma all got their start here in Sonoma County. In recent years, a new generation of local food makers is emerging and creating a wide array of specialty foods, from kombucha and saurerkraut, to salsas and specialty cheeses.
2018 Specialty Food Statistics
- Overall, the specialty food market accounts for 15.8 percent of all food sales
- The specialty food sector grew 11 percent since 2015 with sales topping $140.3 billion in 2017.
- Sales from food service increased 21.6 percent, as more U.S. consumers are dining out and seeking high-quality, flavorful foods when doing so.
- The top three specialty food categories in 2017 are: Frozen and Refrigerated Meat; Poultry, Seafood; and Chips, Pretzels, Snacks. Frozen Desserts saw the largest growth rate at 41.6 percent.
- The next three categories of goods after Frozen Desserts—Bread & Baked Goods, Yogurt & Kefir, and Refrigerated Entrees— show the most sales growth in 2017.
- The iGeneration (age 18-23) possess a greater awareness for specialty food relative to their predecessors, and their consumption preferences will be determinant of the future of the industry.
- Total online specialty food sales in 2017 reached $2.2 billion, and supply chains report growth potentials in the convenience, drug, and vending channels.
Source: The State of the Specialty Food Industry 2017