The specialty food industry is a dynamic, rapidly expanding sector of the retail food market. The category of specialty foods is broadly defined as any food or beverage product commanding a premium price due to its quality, availability or target consumer. In recent years, the industry definition has expanded to include coffee shops and home-based distributors.
Industry statistics are difficult to interpolate, as many products (e.g. meat, poultry, cheese, fish, dairy, bakery goods, vegetables, fruits) cannot be tracked with current scanner technology. Alcoholic beverages are also difficult to track, as laws regarding the place of sale of these beverages vary from state to state.