While Auerbach has long sold bok choy, its sales of baby bok choy increased by 10 times, Auerbach said.
Specialty citrus such as pink and heirloom navels and blood oranges remain big draws, said Joe Granata, director of produce for RLB Food Distributors LP, West Caldwell, N.J.
“Specialty movement has kind of slowed a little only because of the way the economy is,” he said.
“As specialties are a fringe item, people tend to go to the basic items. When money isn’t as big an issue, specialties aren’t a luxury item and can become a staple item.”
Foodservice distributor Riviera Produce Corp., Englewood, N.J., sells a couple of hundred stock-keeping units of specialties.
Benjamin Friedman, owner, said garbanzo beans and pomegranates remain in high demand as well as other seasonal products.
“Specialties are still a main staple for the high-end customers,” Friedman said.
“They still sell strong and they’re part of what they do and how they separate themselves from the one- and two-star restaurants.”