Specialty Food Manufacturing

Advice on Selling Your Specialty Food Business

If you’re a business owner who wants to sell your specialty food business, you’ve come to the right place. If you were to sell your business on your own, you’d have to do all the leg work – from valuing your business to completing the paperwork and everything in between. It’s doable, of course, but it’s a complex process. We bring years of experience to the table, making the process easier from start to finish, and we guide you through each step.

M&A Advisors to Specialty Food Manufacturers

Morgan & Westfield is a leading firm of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advisors to the food and beverage industry. We help specialty food manufacturing business owners sell their companies for top dollar. We know what various buyers look for in a potential acquisition, which makes us your best ally in helping you position your business in the best light. Selling a business can be stressful, but with the right advice on your side, it doesn’t need to be. We start with a free consultation, to discuss what you want to achieve from your sale.

Do You Know the Value of Your Business?

Even if you’re not planning to sell just yet, there’s plenty you can do now that will stand you in good stead. A good starting point is to know the value of your business and what, if anything, you can do to increase this valuation. In our experience, most business owners benefit from improving cash flow or strengthening their management teams, for example, well before putting their companies on the market. In every case, having an outside professional assessment is worth seeing where you stand.

Types of Businesses We Sell and Value

  • Ethnic Bread and Pastries Manufacturers
  • Ethnic/International Food Manufacturers
  • Ethnic Food Suppliers and Manufacturers
  • Craft Beverage Manufacturers
  • Gluten-Free or Allergen-Free Food Manufacturers
  • Gluten-Free Dessert Manufacturers
  • Gourmet Cheese Manufacturers
  • Gourmet Chocolate Manufacturers
  • Organic and Natural Food Manufacturers
  • Organic and Vegan Snack Manufacturers
  • Specialty Baked Goods and Pastry Manufacturers
  • Specialty Cheeses Manufacturers
  • Specialty Coffee and Tea Manufacturers
  • Specialty Snack Foods
  • Specialty Sauce and Condiment Manufacturers
  • Specialty Snack Food Manufacturers
  • Superfood and Functional Food Manufacturers
  • Vegan and Plant-Based Food Manufacturers

Overview of the Specialty Food Industry


Specialty food is a category of unique, high-quality products that are produced in small batches. These foods are typically made using traditional or artisanal methods, and they often follow specific regional or cultural recipes and techniques. Specialty foods often cater to dietary preferences, such as gluten-free, organic, vegan, kosher, or halal. They include a wide range of products, including gourmet cheeses, charcuterie, chocolates, olive oils, vinegar, spices, teas, coffees, baked goods, and more. 

Although specialty foods used to appear only in specialty food stores, gourmet shops, farmers markets, and online platforms, they are being featured more regularly in most grocery stores and supermarkets. Because specialty ingredients can add flavor, depth, and interest to meals, chefs, restaurateurs, home chefs, and foodies often seek them out to perfect their recipes. It is interesting to note that specialty foods, once known as gourmet foods, can evolve into mainstream items that become staples on grocery store shelves. Such products include couscous, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, quinoa, and cheese. 

The biggest difference between regular and specialty food products is the method of distribution. Grocers purchase regular or mainstream products from large wholesalers and manufacturers, storing them in their warehouses and using their own store workers to replenish the supply on their shelves and displays. On the other hand, specialty food items are purchased directly from small startups, businesses, and specialty food distributors who use their representatives to stock the store’s shelves, depending on what the grocer and specialty food seller agree on in advance.  


The specialty food industry has experienced significant growth as consumers increasingly seek unique, high-quality, and artisanal food products that align with their tastes, dietary preferences, and desire for culinary exploration. With a market size of $170.4 billion in the United States alone, specialty foods encompass a wide range of products and cater to various consumer demands, including gourmet cheeses, chocolates, oils, spices, specialty beverages, ethnic foods, and health-conscious options. 

The specialty foods sector sets trends due to the innovative mindsets of today’s entrepreneurs who keep track of what is happening in fine dining, street food, and home kitchens. With the help of the modern, streamlined supply chain, specialty food purveyors have more opportunities to share innovative, organic, locally sourced, and global flavors with the world. Nowadays, it’s much easier for distributors to source special ingredients and make them more readily available to consumers. Specialty food companies now have the power to expand the footprint of global ingredients while developing people’s palates and minds.

How We Got Here – A Brief History

  • 1950s – Importing Companies Formed: Following World War II, a generation of military members returned with memories of the foods and culture they experienced while serving in other countries. By the 1950s, many of them formed importing companies to bring then-unknown products like preserves from Holland and biscuits from the UK to the U.S. market.
  • 1952 – Specialty Food Association Formed: A group of importers gathered in 1952 and formed the  National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) to help familiarize U.S. consumers with exotic foods and promote specialty food products. The organization would later change their name to the Specialty Food Association in 2012.
  • 1967 – Trader Joe’s Opened: The first Trader Joe’s store opened in Pasadena, California, introducing a unique selection of specialty and gourmet foods to consumers.
  • 1970 – The Term “Gourmet” Popularized: The term “gourmet” gained popularity and became associated with specialty and premium food items. 
  • 1980 – Specialty Food Industry Grew: The specialty food industry experienced significant growth, driven by increasing consumer interest in unique flavors and international cuisines. 
  • 1990s – Better-For-You Chips Rose: With the fat-free diet craze in full swing, the humble potato chip got a health makeover. Mass-market brands tried fat-free versions, including Frito-Lay’s Wow Chips, made with olestra, a zero-calorie fat substitute. But with the introduction of Terra Chips, white potatoes took a backseat as sweet potatoes, taro, and other root vegetables stole the snack spotlight.
  • 1993 – The Food Network Launched: The Food Network launched, contributing to the popularization of gourmet and specialty foods through cooking shows and celebrity chefs.
  • 1994 – Fancy Food Show Launched: The Specialty Food Association launched the Fancy Food Show, a trade show showcasing specialty food products.
  • 2000 – E-commerce and Online Shop Opened: The growth of e-commerce and online shopping opened new distribution channels for specialty food companies.
  • 2005 – Food Trucks Started: Food trucks gained popularity and became a platform for specialty food entrepreneurs to introduce unique and creative culinary offerings. 
  • 2010 – Specialty Food Products Went Mainstream: Specialty food products became more mainstream, with increased availability in supermarkets and online platforms.
  • 2012 – Specialty Food Association’s Name Changed: The Specialty Food Association changed its name from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) to reflect the evolving nature of the industry.
  • 2013 – Craft Beer and Spirits Surged: Craft beer and artisanal spirits experienced a surge in popularity and contributed to the growth of specialty beverages and food pairings.
  • 2015 – Clean Label and Transparency Trended: Clean labeling and transparency became influential trends in the specialty food industry, focusing on natural, organic, and locally sourced ingredients.
  • 2020: Consumer Behavior Shifted: The COVID-19 pandemic affected the specialty food industry, leading to shifts in consumer behavior and increased demand for shelf-stable and online specialty products.

Trends That May Affect M&A Activity

The following is a list of trends that can affect future M&A activity in the specialty food industry:

  • Artisanal and Craft Foods: There is growing demand for artisanal and craft foods that are handmade, locally sourced, and produced in small batches. Consumers appreciate the unique flavors, quality ingredients, and the story behind these specialty products.
  • Functional Foods and Ingredients: Specialty food products that offer functional benefits, such as boosting energy, promoting gut health, or providing cognitive support, are gaining popularity. Consumers seek specialty foods with added health-enhancing ingredients like probiotics, adaptogens, and superfoods.
  • Global Flavors and Ethnic Foods: Consumers are becoming more adventurous in their culinary choices and are looking for specialty foods that offer international flavors and ethnic cuisines, like exotic spices, sauces, condiments, produce, and ingredients.
  • Health and Wellness: Consumers are drawn to specialty food products that align with their health and wellness goals, with a focus on organic, natural, and functional ingredients, as well as products that cater to specific dietary preferences, such as gluten-free, plant-based, and vegan.
  • Online and Direct-to-Consumer Sales: E-commerce and direct-to-consumer channels have become increasingly popular in the specialty food industry. Online platforms and subscription services allow consumers to discover and purchase specialty food products directly from producers, enabling greater accessibility and convenience.
  • Snackification and On-The-Go Convenience: The snack category within the specialty food industry has seen significant growth. Consumers are looking for convenient, portable specialty snacks with unique flavors, healthier ingredients, and innovative packaging options.
  • Sustainable and Ethical Sourcing: Sustainability and ethical sourcing have become important considerations for consumers. They are looking for specialty food products that are sourced responsibly, support fair trade practices, promote animal welfare, and have minimal environmental impact.

Summary of Specialty Food Mergers and Acquisitions

Summary of Acquisitions
Target Industry(Industry > Niche)TargetTarget LocationBuyer IndustryBuyerBuyer LocationDatePurchase Price
Coffee Roaster > Flavored and Organic Coffee, Hot CocoaBoyer’s CoffeeUSACoffee RoasterLuna GourmetUSAAug 2015  
Dairy > Organic, Low-Fat, Non-Fat, No-Sugar, Milk YogurtWallaby YogurtUSAPlant-Based FoodWhiteWaveUSAAug 2015$125 Million
Ethnic Dairy > Cheese, Yogurt, Cultured DairyKaroun DairiesUSADairy ProductParmalatItalyMay 2017$130 Million
Healthy Fruit Snack > Organic, Non-GMO Fruits SnacksNiagara Natural Fruit SnackCanadaOrganic FoodSunOptaCanadaAug 2015$6.7 Million
Organic Bakery Products > Sliced Bread, Whole Grain, Seeded BreadDave’s Killer BreadUSAFresh Packaged Bakery ProductsFlowers FoodsUSASep 2015$275 Million
Organic Products > Non-GMO Condiments, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, MustardKensington’sUSAConsumer GoodsUnilever  Health & WellnessUKApr 2017Undisclosed
Ready-to-Eat Food > Lunch, Dinner, Sandwiches, SnacksAdvancePierre FoodsUSAProteinsTyson FoodsUSAAug 2017$4.3 Billion

Luna Gourmet Acquired Boyer’s Coffee (Coffee Roasters)

  • Date: August 2015
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Target: Boyer’s Coffee – One of the Rocky Mountain region’s longest-running coffee companies, Boyer’s Coffee is an online and offline store that offers flavored coffee, mash-up coffee flavors, organic coffee, hot cocoa, and gift sets.
  • Location: Colorado, USA
  • Buyer: Luna Gourmet Coffee & Tea Co. – The largest family-owned roaster in Colorado with four brands, including Boulder Organic Coffee, Luna Roasters, Boca Java, and Boyer’s Coffee, available in grocery stores, restaurants, cafés, and online.
  • Purpose: One of the company’s co-owner brothers, Jason Barrow, said: “Our family of brands’ strategy is to create the best experiences for everyone expecting a great cup of coffee. We have built a large online consumer-direct model and a world-class direct delivery system that encompasses residential households and the largest retailers. We are very well positioned to deliver the best, freshest hand-crafted coffees locally and nationally.”
  • Details: Boyer’s Coffee has been acquired by Denver’s Luna Gourmet Coffee & Tea Co. Luna will double its number of the Boyer’s team by adding 25 new employees.

WhiteWave Acquires Wallaby Yogurt Co. (Organic Yogurt)

  • Date: August 2015
  • Price: $125 million
  • Target: Wallaby Yogurt Co. – Based in American Canyon, California, the company offers Greek yogurt, including low-fat yogurt, non-fat yogurt, milk yogurt, and no-sugar yogurt.
  • Location: Colorado, USA 
  • Buyer: WhiteWave Foods – Manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells plant-based foods and beverages, including coffee. 
  • Purpose: “The addition of Wallaby will strengthen and expand WhiteWave’s growing yogurt portfolio and provide entry into several fast-growing yogurt categories. The acquisition also provides WhiteWave with West Coast-based yogurt manufacturing capabilities and other expansion and growth opportunities,” WhiteWave said.
  • Details: WhiteWave Foods acquired Wallaby Yogurt Co. for approximately $125 million.
  • Date: May 2017
  • Price: $130 Million
  • Target: Karoun Dairies, Inc. – A U.S. producer and distributor of cultured dairy products, including fresh cheese, feta cheese, yogurt, goat’s cheese, kefir, sour cream, and butter.
  • Location: California, USA
  • Buyer: Parmalat S.p.A. – A global producer and distributor of cheeses and other dairy products.
  • Purpose: The acquisition expands Parmalat’s presence in the ethnic specialty cheese segment in the United States, increasing its product portfolio of gourmet cheeses and allowing it to enter the yogurt market.
  • Details: Parmalat acquired Karoun through its subsidiary LAG Holding Inc. for an enterprise value of $130 million, or 2.36 times their 2016 revenue.

SunOpta Acquired Niagara Natural Fruit Snack (Organic Fruit Snack) 

  • Date: August 2015
  • Price: $6.7 Million
  • Target: Niagara Natural Fruit Snack Company Inc. – Manufactures healthy non-GMO, non-bioengineered, and organic fruit snacks.
  • Location: Ontario, Canada
  • Buyer: SunOpta Inc. – A global company focused on organic, non-genetically modified, and healthy foods.
  • Purpose: “Niagara Natural is a strong strategic fit within our core vertically integrated consumer products strategy, aligning well with our focus on healthy and convenient snacking,” said Rik Jacobs, president and chief operating officer of SunOpta. “Not only are we adding a growing business that enhances our leadership position in this on-trend category, but we are adding a talented team with operational expertise and a customer base comprised of high-quality, blue chip retailers.”
  • Details: SunOpta Inc. acquired Niagara Natural Fruit Snack Co., Inc., Ontario, for approximately $6.7 million.

Flowers Foods Acquired Dave’s Killer Bread (Organic Bread)

  • Date: September 2015 
  • Price: $275 Million
  • Target: Dave’s Killer Bread – The best-selling organic sliced bread in the United States with widespread distribution across the U.S. and Canada. 
  • Location: Oregon, USA
  • Buyer: Flowers Foods, Inc. – One of the largest producers of fresh-packaged bakery foods in the United States.
  • Purpose: “We are firmly committed to staying true to the recipes, baking process, and other factors that have made Dave’s Killer Bread the best-selling organic bread in the U.S.,” said Allen L. Shiver, Flowers Foods’ president and chief executive officer. “Flowers’ resources will allow more consumers to find Dave’s Killer Bread in their markets, and with the deal now completed, we can begin working together to make that happen. We welcome the more than 300 Dave’s Killer Bread employee partners, who bring great expertise and enthusiasm to Flowers.”
  • Details: Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO) acquired Dave’s Killer Bread for approximately $275 million from its shareholders, including Goode Partners and members of the founding Dahl family. Dave’s Killer Bread will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of Flowers Foods.

Unilever – Health & Wellness Acquired Sir Kensington’s (Organic Products)

Sir Kensington's logo
  • Date: April 2017
  • Price: Undisclosed 
  • Target: Kensington & Sons, LLC – Doing business as Sir Kensington’s, produces and sells organic, natural, and non-GMO condiments, including ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard, as well as Fabanaise, a vegan mayonnaise.
  • Location: New York, USA
  • Buyer: Unilever – A British multinational consumer goods company headquartered in London, England, offering food, beverages, condiments, cleaning agents, pet food, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and personal care products available in approximately 190 countries.
  • Purpose: “We are excited to bring Sir Kensington’s into the Unilever family. Their mission to bring ‘integrity and charm to ordinary and overlooked food’ is very much in line with our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan,” said Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America.
  • Details: The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Sir Kensington’s raised $8.5 million in a 2015 Series A round led by consumer brands-focused investment firm Verlinvest, which had previously invested in Vitaminwater and Vita Coco.

Tyson Foods Acquired AdvancePierre Foods (Ready-to-Eat Food)

  • Date: August 2017
  • Price: $4.3 Billion
  • Target: AdvancePierre Foods Holdings, Inc. –  A national ready-to-eat lunch and dinner sandwich, sandwich component, entree, and snack producer with over 2,900 SKUs in various product categories.
  • Location: Ohio, USA
  • Buyer: Tyson Foods – A modern, multinational, protein-focused food company producing approximately 20% of the beef, pork, and chicken in the U.S.
  • Purpose: The acquisition expands Tyson’s presence in the prepared foods segment in both retail and foodservice channels, and it furthers Tyson’s strategy to “sustainably feed the world with its fast-growing portfolio of protein-packed brands.”
  • Details: Tyson Foods bought all outstanding shares of common stock of AdvancePierre for $40.25 per share in cash without interest. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyson Foods, AdvancePierre’s shares ceased to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Tyson acquired AdvancePierre for a total implied enterprise value of $4.3 billion, or 2.76 times revenue and 17 times EBITDA.

Public Companies 

The following is a list of public companies that operate in the specialty food industry:

Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB): A U.S. company closely associated with its flagship canned soup products; however, through mergers and acquisitions, it has become one of the largest processed food companies in the United States. Its other brands include Pepperidge Farm, Snyder’s of Hanover, V8, and Swanson. While the company is primarily known for its canned soups and other mainstream food products, it offers specialty gourmet items, such as premium soups, artisan bread, and organic and natural food.

Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAIN): A U.S. food company whose main focus is natural foods and botanically based personal care products specializing in a wide range of specialty food and beverage products. Hain Celestial’s products include organic snacks, plant-based milk alternatives, herbal teas, gluten-free products, natural sweeteners, specialty sauces, and dressings.

General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS): Manufactures and markets a wide range of branded and unbranded consumer foods worldwide, operating in five segments: North America Retail, Convenience Stores and Foodservice, and Pets; Europe and Australia, Asia and Latin America. It supplies food products to the North American foodservice and commercial baking industries, and manufactures pet food products, including dog and cat food.

John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. (NASDAQ: JBSS): Specializes in the processing, marketing, and distributing of nuts and nut-based products. It offers various specialty nuts, including almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts, in multiple forms, such as raw, roasted, flavored, and blended. Sanfilippo’s focus on nuts and its expertise in sourcing, processing, and packaging positions it as a specialist in the nut industry. It caters to retail and foodservice channels, providing high-quality, specialty nut products to consumers and businesses.

Lancaster Colony Corporation (NASDAQ: LANC): Specializes in manufacturing and marketing specialty food products, particularly salad dressings, sauces, dips, frozen garlic bread, and frozen rolls. Lancaster Colony provides high-quality and unique food products that often include premium ingredients, distinctive flavors, and artisanal preparations.

McCormick & Company, Incorporated (NYSE: MKC): A U.S. food company that manufactures, markets, and distributes seasoning mixes, spices, condiments, and other flavoring products to retail outlets, food manufacturers, and foodservice businesses. With an extensive product line and expertise in flavor development, McCormick is regarded as a leader in the specialty food industry.

The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY): Known as Hershey’s, a U.S. multinational company and one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world. Hershey’s offers specialty and premium chocolate products, including artisanal chocolates, limited-edition releases, and high-end chocolate assortment. With the expansion of its product portfolio, Hershey’s also offers other specialty food items, such as spreads, snack foods, and baking ingredients.

The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ: KHC): A U.S. multinational food company formed by the merger of Kraft Foods and the H.J. Heinz Company, making it the fifth-largest food and beverage company globally and the third-largest in North America.

TreeHouse Foods, Inc. (NYSE: THS): TreeHouse Foods manufactures and distributes private-label and store-brand packaged foods and beverages. It produces organic and natural products, gluten-free options, health-conscious snacks, specialty sauces, and dressings.

Private Equity Firms

The following is a list of private equity firms investing in the specialty food industry:

  • General Atlantic: A global growth equity investor that has made several investments in the specialty food industry, including: 

Joe & The Juice – An urban juice bar concept with a modern, hip ambiance that sells freshly prepared, natural, and organic juices, sandwiches, and coffee, appealing to customers with fast-paced, healthy lifestyles who want convenience.

  • VMG Partners: A private equity firm investing in branded consumer product companies, including specialty food and beverage businesses. It has experience in partnering with specialty food brands to support their growth and strategic initiatives, such as:

Bare Snacks – The creator of delicious Snacks Gone Simple, the Bare product line features a range of simply baked fruit and vegetable chips with a signature hearty crunch crafted from real, whole-food ingredients.

Justin’s – The maker of natural and organic almond, hazelnut and peanut butter, and organic peanut butter cups. In 2004, founder Justin Gold began making healthy, artisanal nut butters in his home kitchen, but after his roommates started stealing his goods, he put his name on the jars. From farmers markets to a nationwide presence, Justin’s continues to build a lasting legacy around innovation, sustainability, and community.

Lantana – A hummus company that makes all their hummus flavors non-GMO certified, Kosher certified, and vegan.

  • Alliance Consumer Growth (ACG): A private equity firm that invests in high-growth consumer brands, including those in the specialty food and beverage sector, providing capital and expertise to help accelerate the growth and expansion of specialty food businesses, including:

Cappello’s – Makes frozen gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly pasta, pizza, and cookie dough, focusing on simple, real-food ingredients that never compromise on taste or texture.

EVOL Foods – Makes delicious, healthy, and convenient frozen foods, becoming one of the fastest-growing natural food brands in the U.S. EVOL’s award-winning frozen burritos, entrée bowls, pizzas, and flatbreads are chef-created using gourmet, premium ingredients from honest, responsible sources.

KRAVE Gourmet Pork Cuts – An emerging healthy snack food company leading the renaissance of the large meat snacks category with a line of better-for-you jerky products using U.S. artisanally-produced, premium-quality cuts of all-natural beef, pork, and turkey. KRAVE offers bold, chef-inspired flavors like sweet chipotle, chili lime, pineapple orange, and lemon garlic, which appeal to a broad consumer base.

  • L Catterton: One of the largest and most well-known consumer-focused private equity firms, Catterton invests in various sectors, including specialty food and beverage, to provide capital, operational support, and industry expertise. Investments it has made in the industry are as follows:

Kettle & Fire – Specializes in organic bone broth and other wellness-focused food products.

Plum Organics – A brand in the organic baby food market, known for its nutritious and convenient baby food products.

  • Encore Consumer Capital: Focuses exclusively on the consumer products industry, including specialty food and beverage companies, Encore works with specialty food brands to drive growth and create value through its industry knowledge and network. Investments it has made in the industry include:
Fantasy Cookie logo

Fantasy Cookie – A private label and contract manufacturer of premium, innovative cookie products.

Pamela’s – Started in 1988, Pamela’s is known for gluten-free foods, including a full line of baking mixes, snack bars, and cookies.

  • Arbor Investments: Invests in the food and beverage industry, including specialty food businesses, to help them scale, improve operations, and achieve their strategic goals. Investments it has made in the industry includes:

Artisanal Brewing Ventures – The parent company of Victor Brewing Company and Southern Tier Brewing. Artisanal Brewing Ventures was formed to create a home for best-in-class craft breweries in partnership with their founders.

Venture Capital Firms

The following is a list of venture capital firms investing in the specialty food industry:

  • AF Ventures: A venture capital fund that invests in innovative food and beverage brands. including emerging specialty food companies. It has provided capital, strategic guidance, and industry expertise to support growth and market expansion in the following businesses: 

Eastern Standard Provisions Co. – A producer of confectionery snacks products and artisanals, including handmade soft pretzels using all-natural ingredients, Liège Belgian waffles, artfully blended sauces, gourmet-flavored salts and sugars, and delicious toppers.

Yumi Bars – Provides balanced meals to support babies’ overall development at every age and stage, intelligently designed with the help of an in-house team of experts, including nutritionists, plant-based chefs, doulas, doctors, and more. 

  • Stray Dog Capital: Invests in companies that are disrupting the food and beverage industry with a particular interest in plant-based and alternative protein products, as well as sustainable and specialty food businesses, including:

Perfeggt – A Berlin-based food tech company producing a plant-based egg alternative with an egg-like texture with the same amount of protein as a chicken egg.

Yo! Egg – A food processing company that produces and supplies plant-based egg products that cook like chicken eggs and are easy to train staff to prepare for buzzworthy plant-based dishes.

  • S2G Ventures: Invests across the food and agriculture sectors, including specialty food, looking for innovative, sustainable solutions in food production, distribution, and consumption. S2G provides financial support and industry expertise to its portfolio companies, which include:

New Culture – Makes animal-free dairy cheeses indistinguishable in taste, texture, function, and nutritional content from conventional cheese by combining traditional cheesemaking, fermentation, and food science.

Soli Organic – A grower and marketer of fresh organic culinary herbs in the U.S., committed to delivering exceptional organic produce at an affordable price year-round. 

  • Sunrise Strategic Partners: Invests in emerging and high-growth food and beverage brands, including specialty food companies, offering capital, operational support, and strategic guidance to help them scale and succeed, such as:

Kodiak Cakes – A producer of premium, better-for-you breakfast items, including high-protein, whole grain pancake and waffle mixes, flapjack and muffin cups, frozen waffles, and oatmeal. 

Teton Waters Ranch – Produces 100% grass-fed, finished beef products from humanely raised cattle, never fed grain or confined to feedlots. Its mission is to create a regenerative, humane, healthy food system that is better for animals and the planet.


The following is a list of professionals servicing or investing in the specialty food industry:

Angel Investors

  • Alliance of Angels: A prominent angel investor network based in the U.S. that invests in a variety of sectors, including food and beverage. Investments it has made in the industry include: 

Theo – The first Organic and Fair Trade-certified bean-to-bar chocolate maker in North America.

  • Alicia Robb: Author, researcher, angel investor, and managing partner of two early-stage venture funds. Robb is a Ph.D. economist specializing in entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial finance, and international development. Investments she has made in the industry include:  

Finless Foods – Finless Foods creates healthy and accessible plant-based and cell-cultured seafood alternatives.

  • Ashton Kutcher: Ashton Kutcher, actor, entrepreneur, and angel investor, has invested in several specialty food companies. These include:

MeaTech 3D Ltd. – Based in Israel, it develops 3D bioprinting technologies for the cellular agriculture sector. Its Belgian subsidiary, Peace of Meat, produces cultured meats, including foie gras.


  • Gourmet Specialty Imports: Assists importers, distributors, and retailers in the specialty food industry. It provides guidance on sourcing, product selection, logistics, and distribution strategies for international specialty food products.
  • NewPoint Marketing: Specializes in marketing and brand strategy for the food industry, including specialty food businesses. It helps clients with brand positioning, packaging design, market research, and digital marketing strategies to reach target consumers and drive sales effectively.

Law Firms/Attorneys 

  • Davis Wright Tremaine LLP: A dedicated food and beverage practice group that offers legal services to clients in the specialty food industry. It assists with regulatory compliance, labeling, distribution agreements, intellectual property, and other legal matters.
  • Hogan Lovells: A global food and beverage practice that serves clients in the specialty food industry. Its attorneys assist with various legal matters, including regulatory compliance, product labeling, intellectual property, contracts, and litigation.
  • Keller and Heckman LLP: Specializes in food and drug law, including representation of specialty food businesses. It offers legal counsel on labeling, packaging, advertising, ingredient safety, and compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations.

Specialty Food Manufacturing Associations

The following is a list of associations for the specialty food manufacturing industry:

  • American Cheese Society (ACS): Supports and promotes the artisan and specialty cheese industry in the United States. It provides resources, education, and networking opportunities for cheesemakers, retailers, and enthusiasts. 
  • American Herbal Products Association (AHPA): Represents the herbal products industry, including specialty herbal and botanical products. It provides guidance, standards, and advocacy for the herbal industry.
  • International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA): Serves the dairy, deli, and bakery sectors of the specialty food industry. It provides education, research, and networking opportunities to support the growth and success of these sectors. 
  • National Grocers Association (NGA): Represents independent supermarket operators, including those specializing in specialty food. It provides advocacy, education, and resources to support independent grocers in the specialty food industry.
  • Organic Trade Association (OTA): Promotes and advocates for organic agriculture and products. It represents organic farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, and other industry stakeholders.
  • Specialty Food Association (SFA): Represents specialty food manufacturers, distributors, importers, retailers, and other industry stakeholders. It provides resources, education, and networking opportunities to support the growth and success of the specialty food industry. 
  • Specialty Coffee Association (SCA): Represents the global specialty coffee community. It promotes high-quality specialty coffee, sets industry standards, provides education and training, and organizes events and competitions. 

Specialty Food Manufacturing Publications

The following is a list of publications in the specialty food industry:

  • Flavor & The Menu: Explores flavor trends, menu innovations, and culinary concepts, including those related to specialty food. It provides insights and inspiration for chefs, restaurateurs, and foodservice professionals.
  • Food Business News: Covers the broader food industry, including specialty food. It provides news, analysis, and trends across various sectors, including product development, retail, distribution, and consumer behavior. 
  • Food Navigator USA: Reports on the news and trends in the food and beverage industry, including specialty food products and innovations. It offers articles, reports, and analyses on topics such as product development, market trends, and regulatory updates.
  • Gourmet Retailer: Focuses on the retail side of the specialty food industry. It provides information and insights on merchandising, marketing, and trends in gourmet and specialty food retailing. 
  • Deli Market News: Examines the deli, specialty food, and foodservice sectors. It covers industry news, product launches, retail trends, and interviews with key players in the specialty food industry. 
  • Progressive Grocer: Provides news and updates on the grocery and retail industry, including specialty food. It provides insights, analysis, and trends in product sourcing, merchandising, and consumer preferences relevant to the specialty food sector.
  • QSR: Concentrates on the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry but often covers specialty food concepts, trends, and innovations. It provides news, features, and resources for restaurant operators and industry professionals.

Resources (Books, Podcasts, etc.)

The following is a list of professionals servicing or investing in the specialty food industry:


  • Sell Your Specialty Food: Market, Distribute, and Profit from Your Kitchen Creation by Stephen Hall – Consumers are clamoring for quality and taste, and there is a growing trend toward organic foods and international food. This book outlines every food marketing opportunity and supports entrepreneurial actions with detailed guidance.
  • Specialty Foods: Processing Technology, Quality, and Safety by Dr. Yanyun Zhao – Explores how specialty foods differ from other food sectors and describe processing technologies, production equipment, and ensuring quality and microbial safety. The book describes types of specialty foods, regulations, and the major trends guiding the industry. It examines the diverse specialty foods marketplace and the strategies and practices entrepreneurs must understand to succeed. It also discusses internationally recognized food safety programs and examples of implemented food safety controls.


  • Buying Behaviors Unique To Gourmet Food: To truly leverage effective branding and marketing, you need to know what drives your consumers to buy your product and speak to that, both consciously and subconsciously. This blog reveals the key reasons people buy gourmet food, the mindset of the gourmet food consumer, and how you can use these aspects in your branding.


  • Specialty Food Business with Dave Hirschkop: Dave Hirschkop, founder of specialty foods company Dave’s Gourmet, shares his entrepreneurial story, including starting a restaurant and developing the initial hot sauce product. He believes you need grit to succeed in business and keep things simple to operate and grow a small business successfully.
  • Spill & Dish: A Specialty Food Association Podcast: Brings the stories of the entrepreneurs, makers, and sellers who are shaping the future of food. Listen and discover the inspiration, recipe, craft, culture, ingredients, and production methods that make a true specialty food and get a deeper understanding of the people and motivation behind the products.

Industry Information

NAICS Code(s)

  • 4452 – Specialty Food Retailers
  • 445298 – All Other Specialty Food Retailers

SIC Code(s)

  • 4452 – Frozen Specialties, Not Elsewhere Classified (NEC)
  • 20389903 – Ethnic Foods, NEC, Frozen
  • 2032 – Canned Specialties
  • 203202 – Ethnic Foods, Canned, Jarred, etc.

Contact Us Today To Sell Your Specialty Food Business

We work with specialty food business owners, advising on every aspect of their sale – from planning to the purchase agreement. Our priority is to help you get the highest price from a buyer who meets your expectations. We advise all types of specialty food manufacturers. And our founder and president, Jacob Orosz, will oversee your sale. Contact us today.