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In a bid to build consumer awareness and engagement with specialty food, the Specialty Food Association is launching its first-ever ad campaign and retail test, themed, "Celebrate Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy."
The retail tests, which began this week with three retailers whose businesses are built on specialty food – Kings Food Markets, Morton Williams and online retailer FreshDirect – will be unique to each and will feature different foods and beverages from members of the Specialty Food Association.
"Now is the moment for specialty food," declared Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association, which launched the "Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy." tagline two years ago with an industry-only marketing campaign. But now that it's clear, "Consumers want the very best from the food they buy. They want distinctive products they trust made by people who care." Daw said the time was right to expand the brand moniker to the mass market because of its powerful message that defines specialty food as a category, as well as the myriad products within it.
The consumer effort has two key elements: a retail test in New York and New Jersey – which coincides with the association's 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York, June 28-30 at Javits Center – and a multi-faceted ad campaign in New York featuring four specialty food makers who share the stories behind their products.
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.
Test retailers Kings Food Markets, Morton Williams and FreshDirect will have focused displays of specialty foods, extensive signage, in-store sampling, promotional discounts, and inclusion in weekly circulars and online messaging.
Based on sales results and shopper interviews, the Specialty Food Association hopes to expand the test, which will run for several weeks, to different U.S. markets in 2016.
The advertising campaign puts the spotlight on four specialty food companies and the people behind them who bring "craft, care and joy" to their work producing specialty food. They are:
- Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods – Maya Kaimal
- Phin & Phebes Ice Cream - Jess Eddy and Crista Freeman
- Sir Kensington's – Mark Ramadan and Scott Norton
- Superseedz – Kathie and Joe Pelliccio
The campaign will be hard to miss in the City that Never Sleeps. The food makers will be featured on billboards beginning on June 22 in Times Square near Javits Center, home to the Summer Fancy Food Show, and near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel to New Jersey. The ads will also be found in 260 subway stations in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn, while popular food sites Grub Street, Eater and Bon Appétit will also showcase the campaign.
"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," said Daw. "It is our industry that is helping to change the way people eat."
Meet the makers featured in the campaign and learn more about "Celebrate Specialty Food" here.