In July and August, specialty food retail sales grew to 30.6% and 28.1% of pre-pandemic levels, respectively, outpacing categories that saw strong sales growth in March 2020. With consumer packaged goods giants reducing their offerings to focus on replenishing core products, and grocers softening on in-store promotional requirements, there are plenty of opportunities for innovative brands to capture market share.
This is a shift from the early days of the pandemic, when sales of conventional and natural food offerings experienced growth as consumers stocked up on essentials in preparation for lock-downs. Consumers then sought out specialty food options more as they continued to shelter in place. Restaurant budgets were diverted to at-home food spending, which helped specialty foods take a bigger share of the replenishment baskets.