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  • Industry Voices: Advice for Makers

    George Hajjar

    Specialty Food makers and buyers have had to navigate dramatic changes in the specialty food industry and the U.S. economy while continuing to produce and sell products. We interviewed several industry professionals as part of the recently released annual research, State of the Specialty Food Industry + 10-Year Category Tracking and Forecasts. You can find full video interviews when purchasing this year’s report.

    Following is advice from makers and buyers to help members of the specialty food industry stay afloat and thrive.

    · “People’s  budgets are going to get tight. So, [brands] need to make sure they have an offering for those folks that might be looking for a more economical choice.”—Beth Haley, VP of vendor relations, DPI

    · “There is a real opportunity to rethink how you’re differentiated… You can look at that from a whole new lens now in terms of behaviors [and] new normals.”—Patti Doyle, CEO, Rumi Spice

    · “There are important things that are becoming table stakes like sustainability [and] making sure that products aren’t doing more harm than good for the environment. I do think that’s important as people develop products and take them to market. It’s just an expectation for certain generations.”—Cassy Kehoe, senior fresh category manager, KeHE

    · “I joke to people all the time that food people are the best people. We’re reasonable and understanding, and the instinct is to be helpful. If we can lean in on that, we’ll get through the nonsense.”—Kate Harper, chief brand curator, Hive Brands

    · “Consumers are looking for brands that resonate with them and their core values… Make sure that you are connecting with your consumer base in a way that is authentic to you.”—Jeremy Adams, senior center store category manager, KeHE

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