The Caribbean has been a player in the Specialty Food market for more then twenty-five years. The awareness and interest in Caribbean products have been growing internationally especially in major urban market centres in the US (New York City – tri-state Metro market, Boston, Washington, D.C, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago) and in the EU in particular the UK. The presence of Caribbean migrants in these places along with the increasing number of tourist visitors to the region have assisted in the promotion and sale of these products whose appeal is linked in a substantive way to their product development, creativity and exotic nature.
Typically, the easiest way to define a specialty product is by knowing what it is not: a basic food staple that the consumer buys for every day eating from a grocery store. That means that specialty foods are a step above what the consumer normally eats as part of the everyday diet. There is a broad umbrella for what can be considered part of the specialty foods market. Typically, specialty foods refer to a type of gourmet food products many of which could be more expensive than what consumers find on grocery store shelves; specialty foods are instead a step above what the consumer normally eats as part of the everyday diet. They should not be confused with ethnic foods, which are generally characterized by low price and high quantity, because specialty foods are generally high price, low quantity food. However, there can be some overlap between both.