The Specialty Food Association is launching its first-ever ad campaign and retail test designed to build consumer awareness and engagement with specialty food. The theme is “Celebrate Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy.”
The tests come as sales of specialty food have topped $100 billion for the first time and continue to climb, and as industry growth far outpaces that of conventional food.
“Consumers want the very best from the food they buy. They want distinctive products they trust made by people who care,” says Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association. “Now is the moment for specialty food.”
The brand “Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy.,” first launched by the Association two years ago with an industry-only marketing campaign, serves to define specialty food as a category and the myriad products within it, from chocolate, cheese and olive oil to savory snacks.
The consumer effort has two key elements: a retail and online test in New York and New Jersey, and a multi-faceted ad campaign in New York featuring four specialty food makers who share the stories behind their products.
The test coincides with the Association’s 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. The show is the largest marketplace devoted exclusively to specialty food in North America. It runs June 28 – 30 at Javits Center.
The retail test, starting this week and next, is with three retailers whose business is built on specialty food: Kings Food Markets, Morton Williams and the online fresh food grocer FreshDirect. Each test is unique to the retailer, and each features different foods and beverages from members of the Specialty Food Association.
Some of the 100 products featured include 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, vanilla from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and frozen entrées from Saffron Road Foods.
The stores will have focused displays of specialty foods, extensive signage, in-store sampling, promotional discounts, and inclusion in weekly circulars and online messaging. Each test will run for several weeks. Based on sales results and shopper interviews, the Specialty Food Association hopes to expand the test to different U.S. markets in 2016.
“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 says. “It is our industry that is helping to change the way people eat.”
The advertising campaign was created by Madwell, a Brooklyn-based creative agency that has worked with several members of the Specialty Food Association. Edgewood Consulting Group, Parsippany, N.J., is working with the Association to manage the in-store tests at Kings and Morton Williams.