Editor's Letter

The Heart of Food

As humans, we recognize that our existence is reliant upon nutrition. But the food experience is so much more than sustenance. The presence of company, for example, is a distinct element that turns a dining table of dishes into a memory made to last.

Just as poignant is the consumer's experience when shopping for the food products that will turn meals into conversation starters. In the specialty food industry, it's the stories behind the products and their suppliers that foster customer loyalty. Those stories affect the finished product so strongly— both the memory and the dish—that retailers are using these encounters and connections to achieve success.

Specialty food sales hit a record-breaking $120 billion in 2015. Even more impressive is its $97 billion in retail, a nearly 20 percent jump from 2013-2015. That's incredible growth on both fronts, and it's largely driven by innovation within the industry. However, it's the people behind the products who have the story to tell, and consumers are ready to listen.

For this reason, we believe that specialty retail channels have the competitive advantage over their big-box counterparts when it comes to specialty food sales. Smaller and more personable staffs who are able to relay product stories with a passion may be the key that is keeping retail numbers strong. Understanding the role that the entire food experience plays in a consumer's day-to-day life is important, too. You're not selling a pre-packaged baking mix, after all; you're selling the Sunday morning memories of fresh-out-ofthe- oven blueberry scones and time spent with family.

In this issue of Fancy Food & Culinary Products Magazine,we've provided insight into the products that will enhancethe food experience for your customers. Just in time for thesummer show season, our editors have produced a "showwithin a magazine" format that makes it easy for readers tobrowse, shop and learn about the latest specialty products tohit the market. With eight of the industry's most popular categories(specialty oils, snacks, condiments, sauces and more),readers can flip through each section to learn the trends for that segment and the specialty food industry as a whole.

So whether or not you can make it to the Summer FancyFood Show in New York this year, rest easyknowing we'vegot you covered with all the new releases right here in these pages.

Bon appétit,
The Editors of Fancy Food & Culinary Products magazine