Coming out in full force for the sixth annual Fresno Food Expo, the deli, bakery, and dairy industries showed a grand representation of innovative products in each segment. Deli Market News walked the floor this year, spotting a broad selection of showcased new products and meeting new friends along the way.
Highlighting the offerings and companies of the Central Valley, the Expo boasted a fresh mix of 132 food manufacturers, growers, and processors to deepen their existing relationships and bud new ones with the nearly 950 national and global-level retail, foodservice, and distribution buyers in attendance.
One of our first and favorite stops was at the P-R Farms, Inc. booth, flush with the flavor profiles of its ENZO Olive Oil label for buyers to experience. “The show is fantastic,” Vincent Richiutti, Director of Operations, told me from the bustling floor. “We’re making new connections and strengthening existing relationships. We also look forward to connecting with our local consumers and reminding them that this is where we’re from.”
The show floor kicked off with an opening statement from Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who heralded the show, amongst several cheers, as truly representing the Central Valley as one of the food capitols of the world.
Well-honed classics and new product lines overran the floor as the flavor profile of the region stood out amongst the booths. From Valley Lahvosh’s new line of festive tree-shaped crackers, to the delectable flavored milks of Rosa Brothers Milk Company, the Central Valley community gave buyers plenty of new considerations in addition to steady foundations for new and lasting relationships.
“The international buyers really love the fact that they get to meet the owners behind each company, as they don’t get that experience at other trade shows,” said Alicia Rios, Director, California Centers for International Trade Development, in a press release. “It helps them to better understand the processes behind their products and allows them to connect on a deeper level.”
Exhibitors from a majority of booths displayed their products, new and old, and told me they were keeping their heads turned toward strengthening local relationships with foodservice and retailers, while still looking to new ground for international distribution and export opportunities.
The 2016 Buyer's Choice New Product Awards were as follows:
Celebrity chef and author Simon Majumdar, could also be seen bobbing through the crowd, visiting booths to establish connections and experience regional taste; calling the Central Valley a "hidden gem" and a "chef's haven."
As the floor came to a close for an exhibitor break, and attendees geared up for the consumer-focused follow-up portion, Expolicious, retailers and growers mingled with the satisfaction of another successful event; Deli Market News included.
Make sure to stay tuned for our upcoming Fresno Food Expo Yearbook!