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California Food Expo Connects Food and Beverage Companies with Top Buyers and Public

California Food Expo Connects Food and Beverage Companies with Top Buyers and Public

Friday, July 27th, 2018

The California Food Expo wrapped up on July 25th, and the association had plenty of details to share from the trade show floor. Over 135 exhibitors from the Golden State showed off their products to upwards of 650 regional, national, and international buyers, connecting and creating worldwide commerce—according to the association.

Amy Fuentes, Manager, California Food Expo“Our production value in both fresh and manufactured products, our innovation, and our diversity make California a food powerhouse,” said Amy Fuentes, Manager, California Food Expo. “The Expo’s vision to incorporate all of California enables us to harness the state’s thriving food industry and connect buyers to authentic California brands.”

The keynote address by Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Karen Ross, who reinforced the state’s impact on the national and international foodscape, while delivering a vision for sustained growth.

Karen Ross, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture“California is the nation’s top agricultural producing state, accounting for $46 billion in output from over 400 different commodities,” said Ross. “The state is also home to more than 5,500 food manufacturing facilities, twice the amount of any other state in the nation. These astounding numbers give the California Food Expo an incredible platform to fortify California relationships and continue to expand the industry into the future.”

Top buyers attending this year’s Expo included: Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, Grocery Outlet, Smart & Final, and Walmart. Complementing the domestic buyers were qualified international buyers from India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and international export trading firm.

Randy Ducummon, Northern California & Reno Vice President, Whole Foods Market “Discovering and carrying quality California products remains a high priority for our store,” said Randy Ducummon, Vice President for Whole Foods Market, Northern California & Reno. “Having the California Food Expo include food and beverage products from throughout the state provides a unique and incredibly valuable opportunity for us to connect with California brands, while also sourcing new store offerings.”

New Product Award winners: 1st place ENZO, 2nd place to Ampersand and Producer's Dairy, and in 3rd place %1 Fifty

The 2018 New Product Awards included:

  • 1st Place: ENZO’s Table Peach Jam
  • 2nd Place: Tie between Ampersand Ice Cream’s Honey Blueberry Ice Cream and Producer’s Dairy Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
  • 3rd Place: %1 Fifty Passion Fruit Guava Energy Drink

Vincent Ricchiuti, Founder, ENZO Olive Oil“Our Peach Jam showcases the beauty of California—when a farmer from Clovis can connect with an award winning Chef in Los Angeles like Jessica Koslow from Sqirl—it’s an incredibly humbling feeling,” said Vincent Ricchuiti, Founder, ENZO Olive Oil. “Receiving this award provides an elevated exposure that will help us to drive demand for this product, which will be exclusively sold through our retail and online store.”

The Consumer’s Choice Award—new in 2018—resulted in over 6,000 votes. The Official Consumer Panel selected the final winners:

  • 1st Place: La Tapatia BBQ Tortilla Chips
  • 2nd Place: Taco Works Tortilla Chips
  • 3rd Place: Bobby Salazar’s Guacamole Salsa

 Consumer Choice winners: 1st place Latapatia, 2nd place Taco Works, and 3rd place Bobby Salazar's

In addition to the above awards, the Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award, open to any exhibiting California food or beverage company, was presented to Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company.

Over 1,200 attendees were able to sample new bites at the event’s public Expolicious. Created by 11 Central California restaurateurs and celebrity chefs utilizing only products featured on the show floor, the creations were then judged by Simon Majumdar, food writer, cook, and Food Network TV personality.

His selected winners were as follows:

  • Best Taste: Max’s Bistro & Bar’s Sweet Corn Chilled chowder
  • Best Presentation: Ampersand Ice Cream’s Rummy Plummy, Oakey Smokey Peach, and Almond Amaretto taster plate
  • Best Use of Local Products: Bella Luna’s Strawberry Watermelon Cooler and Harris Ranch “Short Rib” Slider, which also won Consumers Choice.

Bill Smittcamp, President, Wawona Frozen Foods“Fresno is the logical location for a world-class food expo, and the expansion and shift to the California Food Expo is the first step on a path to further showcase all regions of California and the incredible food and beverage companies that reside in the Golden State,” said Bill Smittcamp, President, Wawona Frozen Foods. “We’re proud of the Expo’s history and roots in Central California, and we expect continued growth in the diversity and range of products in each coming year along with the quality of retail and foodservice buyers.”

Congratulations on California Food Expo for this successful show!

California Food Expo