The global specialty crops market was valued at US$ 982.17 million in 2019 and is projected to reach US$ 1,203.81 million by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 2.6% from 2020 to 2027.

Specialty crops refer to fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture). They also include exotic crops that are specifically cultivated across a region due to climatic and topographical features. With the growing population, coupled with rise in per capita disposable income, a paradigm shift in consumer eating patterns have been observed, which has a direct impact on the demand for healthy and tasty food. Further, rapid urbanization, ethnic composition, health concerns, and changes in demographic features are other factors promoting the demand for specialty crops. The widening application scope of specialty crops, supportive government measures, and free trade policies are the key factors driving the specialty crops market. However, the environmental and trade barriers restrict the growth of the specialty crops market.

Based on category, the global specialty crops market has been segmented into organic and conventional. The conventional segment led the global specialty crops market in 2019. Conventional farming is one of the most practiced farming methods that involve the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemical compounds. The conventional farming technique is widely adopted among small and marginal farmers to obtain higher yield at a lower production cost. The technique runs in favor of the producers and cultivators as the yields are high in comparison to cost. Moreover, the lack of knowledge among farmers regarding the health and environmental benefits associated with organic farming is promoting the growth of the segment. However, there are several disadvantages related to this method. Crops cultivated using conventional method contain chemical residues, due to the use of synthetic agrochemicals, which may be hazardous for animals and humans.

Geographically, the global specialty crops market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and Middle East & Africa. In 2019, Asia Pacific held the largest share in the global specialty crops market. The region comprises several emerging countries, and owing to rising disposable income of the populace, the lifestyle of consumers is changing rapidly. Moreover, the influence of western lifestyle and rapid urbanization is propelling the growth of convenience foods in this region. Customers in the region are highly attracted to plant-based food products, which is further leading to the growth of the specialty crops market. In order to attain an optimum market share, companies in the region are implementing various technologies. For instance, companies in China are using accelerated ripening storage to satisfy market demand. Accelerated ripening guarantees the same color, smell, and taste similar to that of naturally ripened fruits. Many players have started to acknowledge the necessity and importance of accelerated ripening and have established accelerated ripening warehouses.

COVID-19 first began in Wuhan, China in December 2019, and since then, it has spread across the globe. As of February 2021, the US, India, Brazil, Russia, the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Colombia, and Argentina are some of the worst affected countries in terms of confirmed cases and reported deaths. According to the latest WHO figures, there are ~102,584,351 confirmed cases and ~2,222,647 total deaths globally. The coronavirus outbreak has affected economies and industries in various countries due to lockdowns, travel bans, and business shutdowns. The agriculture industry is one of the major industries suffering serious disruptions, such as supply chain breaks, technology event cancellations, and office shutdowns, as a result of this outbreak. The shutdown of various plants and factories in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and the Middle East & Africa has affected the global supply chain and negatively impacted the manufacturing, delivery schedules, and sales of various goods.

The specialty crops market has been growing consistently over the last decade. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic introduced unique challenges to the industry, which threatened its continued growth. Hence, various governments are offering support for the specialty crop farmers to regain the market momentum. For instance, as part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing vital financial support to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a 5% or more price decline or who had losses due to disruptions in market supply chain due to COVID-19. Thus, such favorable initiatives by the government are estimated to help the specialty crop market players.

DIAMOND FRUIT CO.; Harbor Spice Co., Inc.; Olam International; Oregon Spice Company; The Specialty Crop Company; BanaBay Limited; Rice Fruit Company; Fisher Nut Company; Simped Foods Pty Ltd.; and SVZ Industrial Fruit & Vegetable Ingredients are among the players present in the global specialty crops market.

Overall size of the global specialty crops market has been derived using primary and secondary sources. The research process begins with exhaustive secondary research using internal and external sources to obtain qualitative and quantitative information related to the global specialty crops market. Also, multiple primary interviews were conducted with industry participants and commentators in order to validate and analyze the data. The participants who take part in such a process include industry experts, such as VPs, business development managers, market intelligence managers, national sales managers, and external consultants, such as valuation experts, research analysts, and key opinion leaders specializing in the global specialty crops market.