There’s nothing like a trade show to remind you just what our industry is capable of, and the deli, dairy, bakery, and specialty food industry is capable of a whole heckuva lot! And I’m not just talking new products, marketing endeavors, and business acumen. At this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show, up-and-coming, seasoned, and everything-in-between companies were out in full force to showcase the fruits of our industry’s labor in every way, shape, and form. While I could write a novel about all of the marvels I saw and trendsetters I chatted with, here are but a few highlights from the 65th Summer Fancy Food Show…
“The 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show emphasized the qualities that are at the heart of the specialty food business: creativity, passion, entrepreneurial spirit, and doing good,” said Phil Kafarakis, President of the Specialty Food Association (SFA). “We are always proud to host our industry, but this year’s show in New York was particularly exciting. We had sessions with some phenomenal industry leaders—from established producers like Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi to industry-shaking buyers from Walmart. And the exhibition floors were extremely active.”
Active indeed! This year, over 34,000 retailers, foodservice operators, and trade news writers filled New York City’s Jacob Javits Center with hubbub. Everywhere I walked, exclamations of high praise could be heard—and all for the hard work dairy, deli, bakery, and specialty food operators have put in to craft envelope-pushing ideas. I’m pretty sure consumers and buyers haven’t even realized yet that quite a few of these ideas—like Trois Petits Cochons’ new Egg Bites flavors, Olli Salumeria’s new snack packs, and Schuman Cheese’s new Bella Rosa brand—are on track to rock the deli space.
“As we prepare to embark on a new chapter as an organization, we’ve committed to building a membership community that truly reflects the diverse, authentic, and inspirational nature of specialty food,” Phil continued. “We’re almost a $150 billion a year industry—as we head to $200 billion, we plan to do all we can to bring makers, buyers, brokers, and distributors together to advance all of our businesses. Working together to build success is how we’ll shape the future of food.”
Christy Khattab, Deputy Managing Director of Cypress Grove, added, "We always value the Summer Fancy Food Show because it provides us the opportunity to connect with customers, industry friends, and our partners. Of course, we are always happy to showcase any and all new things from Cypress Grove. Whether it be our Cheeseboards for Dinner campaign or our new Fresh Goat Cheese Cups, we enjoy bringing our best to the show."
On June 23, 24, and 25, more than 2,400 companies returned to the Javits Center to exhibit their wares and show off their model of industry success. Of that 2,400, more than half made the trek from countries around the globe, providing showgoers a glimpse at a few of the trends, products, flavors, and companies rising on an international scale.
“The show for us is a unique platform to meet with the industry, all the distributors, and the consumer to validate our idea. This is a perfect show for us, and then New York is an exciting place. So, this is definitely a great place for us to start implementing Parmacotto’s brand strategy,” said Andrea Schivazappa, Chief Executive Officer of Parmacotto S.P.A.
Alessandro Sita, CEO of Parmocotto, added, “This show is also important to us because it’s the first show of Parmacotto, so it’s very exciting that we’re here showcasing the burgeoning Parmacotto brand.”
As I wandered the show floor, I also witnessed retailers like Kroger, Whole Foods Market, Hy-Vee, and Trader Joe’s; foodservice mega-giants like Starbucks; and distributors like KeHE mingle with the best and brightest of our industry. In fact, if you kept your eyes peeled, representatives could be seen chatting it up with ahead-of-the-curve companies, and all I can report on that is the pulse of the industry is thrumming, drumming, and thriving! This fact was only reinforced by a few of the 2019 sofi™ award winners, including Vermont Creamery, Deca & Otto, Rogue Creamery, Pacific Pickle Works, Cowgirl Creamery, Vegan Rob’s, and Cypress Grove—all of which were featured front and center as show goers poured onto the floor.
"The Fancy Food Show brings together innovative brands and industry leaders looking for something fresh and new. At Niman Ranch, we knew the Show would be the perfect venue to launch our new Fat Tire BBQ collection, a collaboration built on quality, flavor, and a shared commitment for sustainability. The new line featuring Certified Humane pork and beef was an instant hit with show attendees who were excited to see an opportunity to freshen up the deli aisle and attract younger consumers looking for convenience and flavor without compromising on their values," Chris Oliviero, Niman Ranch General Manager, shared with me.
One trend that highlighted just how much our industry is staying ahead of consumers’ wants and needs was alcohol-infused…well, anything! Whether dipped, soaked, or inspired, companies left and right were debuting boozy products: Belgioioso and Nettle Meadow Farm were but two companies representing just how the dairy sector can tap into everybody’s favorite alcoholic drinks; Great Spirits Baking Company wowed showgoers’ senses with its take on Jack Daniels; Niman Ranch and Beer Jerky showcased how meat and beer are a match made in heaven; and specialty food front-runners combining marshmallows with mead and salsa with tequila helped me board the train to flavor town.
All in all, the 65th Summer Fancy Food Show was one to remember as our entire industry showed up and showed out. Many companies—i.e. all!—took to the show floor to preview new flavors, concepts, lines, and brands coming down the pipeline ahead of the holidays. So, stay tuned, stay ready, and Deli Market News will see you at the next Fancy Food Show.