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Hundreds Gather at the California Food Expo

Hundreds Gather at the California Food Expo

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

With a sizeable presence in all things food, both in production and consumption, the state of California sets quite a stage for the California Food Expo. This year, new introductions to the agenda, as well as the return of successful staples, helped the event connect 130 California-based food and beverage companies with over 650 pre-qualified local, national, and international food buyers at its first food industry trade event.

Amy Fuentes, Manager, California Food Expo“Our show offers buyers an opportunity to discover some of California’s most authentic and innovative brands that aren’t often found at other food industry trade shows,” said Amy Fuentes, Manager of the California Food Expo. “Our Golden State expansion has enabled us to showcase California’s booming food industry while strengthening relationships with a wider-range of buyers to help pave the way for future growth.”

Among the top buyers attending, this year’s Expo drew attendance from Albertsons’ Vons Pavilions, Bristol Farms, Whole Foods Market, Walmart, and more. Even international buyers from Latin America and Southeast Asia, in addition to export trading firms, came to enjoy what the show had to offer.

Kyle Beth, Foodservice Regional Sales Manager, Foster Farms“We are always looking for new ways to reach potential customers. The exposure at the California Food Expo is good; it brings out a different clientele of buyers,” said Kyle Beth, Foodservice Regional Sales Manager for Foster Farms. “It is important to be present at a show like this to meet new customers and our peers throughout California.

Among the keynotes and educational sessions was the event’s Expolicious, a public event that brought in over 1,200 attendees to sample new creations from six premier California chefs utilizing featured products on the show floor, according to a press release.

Simon Majumdar, Food writer, Chef, and Food Network TV personality“It stands to reason that this showcase for the scope and innovation of California foods would be held in Fresnoin the very heart of the nation’s richest agricultural regions,” said Simon Majumdar, Food writer, Chef, and Food Network TV personality, as well as host and judge of the first annual “Taste of California” Chefs’ Competition. “Fresno represents not only a convergence of California’s finest foods, but a melting pot of cultures, flavors, and creativityit’s like the city and the Expo are made for one another.”

The California Food Expo’s expanded suite of awards provided brand exposure before, during, and after the event. The New Product Awards featured two distinct categories: the Buyer’s Choice Award and Consumer’s Choice Awards.

Among the top buyers attending, this year’s Expo drew attendance from Albertsons’ Vons Pavilions, Bristol Farms, Whole Foods Market, Walmart, and more

The Buyer’s Choice Awards were judged by the Expo’s Retail Advisory Council, which included:

  • Tony Antoci, CEO of Erewhon Markets
  • Daniel Bell, Produce Buyer, California & Nevada, Grocery Outlet
  • Marty Colridge, Director of Center Store, Food4Less/Rancho San Miguel Markets
  • Randy Ducummon, Vice President, Northern California & Reno Region, Whole Foods Market
  • Roland Harmon, Senior Director, Global Produce Sourcing California, Walmart US
  • Steve Howard, Vice President, Perishables, Bristol Farms
  • Brandon Leong, VP of Marketing, Range Me
  • Mil Mijanovic, Produce Sales Manager, Albertsons/Safeway
  • Miriam Welch, Grocery Sales Manager, Albertsons & Vons, Southern California Division

The 2019 Buyer’s Choice Award

  • First place - Setton Farms Garlic Onion seasoned kernels
  • Second place - HMC Farms SpongeBob and PAW Patrol grape packs
  • Third place - True Gold Honey Discovery Flight

First place - Setton Farms Garlic Onion seasoned kernels

The Consumer’s Choice Award was judged by the Expo’s Consumer Panel, which mirrors California’s demographics for gender, ethnicity, age, income, and education.

Consumer’s Choice Award

  • First place - Pappy’s Foods Buffalo Sweet and Spicy Sauce
  • Second place - Gillum Family Farms Smoked Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage
  • Third place - Busseto Foods California Snackin’ 3 oz. Personal Serving

The Golden State Award

  • Fermenting Fairy for their Elderberry-Ginger Lemonade

The Fred Ruiz Award

  • Busseto Foods

Expo organizers said the show seeks to highlight California’s strong foothold among America’s top agricultural producing states, with over 400 commodities accounting for more than $50 billion in output. Additionally, over 5,500 food manufacturing facilities operate in California, giving the Expo a solid platform for expanding the state’s relationships with national and international food buyers and fostering continued industry growth.

This is just a small taste of all this year’s Expo had to offer. To dive in to the details even further, click here.

California Food Expo