What consumers want: the rise and rise of speciality foods
Speciality foods ranging from cocoa to coffee, sauces to blended seasonings, and rice to fragrant breads, are being snapped up by consumers eager for new food experiences but who are also health conscious and selective about what they eat.
It's no surprise that the rising interest in speciality foods is also being reflected on the high street with gourmet, health and natural food stores becoming increasingly popular, along with local farm shops and delicatessens.
But what exactly are speciality foods? Precise definitions vary but in general these are foods made in small batches with high-quality ingredients and usually cater to a specific audience.
Recent research has found that the global specialty foods market is expected to be worth $247.2 bn (£203.4bn) in 2025 which is a compound annual growth rate of 11%, according to the "Specialty Foods Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Growth and Change to 2030" from ResearchandMarkets.com.
The report adds: “Specialty foods are made from high quality ingredients and have limited distribution with unique or beautiful packaging… The launch of high quality and innovative products such as plant-based, convenience, better-for-you, non-GMO products with authenticity, and products with unique attributes such as low fat, low calorie, low sodium, high protein, no dairy and organic is a major trend shaping the growth of the specialty foods industry.”
Finding suppliers of speciality foods is made easier through trade shows like Speciality & Fine Food Fair which will see over 700 fine food and drink producers showcasing their products to thousands of retailers, wholesalers and hospitality professionals in the artisan food and drink sector.
The Fair provides the perfect opportunity to interact with small, local producers from around the world who are creating products that tick all the boxes when it comes to health, flavour, and sustainability.
Ten emerging speciality food and drinks businesses based in the Caribbean will be exhibiting at the Absolutely Caribbean pavilion thanks to support from the European Union and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.
Naledo is a Belizean company that works with 300 small-scale farmers to produce its whole root ‘Truly Turmeric' paste. Old Duppy is a Barbadian enterprise producing small batches of preservative-free hot pepper sauce, tamarind sauce, chili oil, and BBQ sauce, using indigenous ingredients.
Sugar Town Organics is a female-owned micro enterprise based in St Kitts. Its Flauriel food range is vegan and organic. Some of the ingredients used include coconut, sorrel, soursop, guava, hibiscus, and mango. Every single product is methodically handcrafted by an all-women team using traditional extraction and infusion techniques.
Pringa's Natural Flavours has been operating in St Vincent and the Grenadines since 1997, after starting from a small shop within the community. Pringa's seasonings and sauces are made from all natural herbs and spices and tropical fruits grown by local farmers.
Alcoholic beverages include Caribbean craft beer by Antillia Brewing Company from Saint Lucia. They specialise in brewing with fresh, local ingredients, often with a significant link to the history and culture of the islands. All natural and free of chemicals these beers truly are a taste of the islands.
Also from Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia Distillers Group of Companies offers over 25 rums and rum products from premium rums and liqueurs to traditional pouring rums.
J&J Spirits SRL with their brand Kalembu brings a traditional Dominican drink mamajuana to the commercial market with its aphrodisiac properties. A blend of rum, red wine, and honey infused with twigs, bark, leaves and herbs give a unique taste of woody and herbal flavours that is sweet to semi-sweet.
Pairing nicely with mamajuana is the fruity flavour of Hispaniola cocoa from the Dominican Republic. Produced by three generations of women Chocolala have a range of indigenous cocoa products.
These brands together with Jamaican food and drink producer Shavuot and CariBelle from Trinidad and Tobago will be exhibiting at Specialty Fine Foods within the Absolutely Caribbean pavilion. Be sure to check it out and get your chance to win a trip to Saint Lucia courtesy of Saint Lucia Distillers Group of Companies, the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and Harbor Club Curio Collection by Hilton.