The Specialty Food Association (SFA) hosted its 44th Winter Fancy Food Show from January 13-15, 2019 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. The show brought together thousands of food buyers and distributors with over 1,400 exhibitors, including 371 companies from California, and international exhibitors from 30 nations. The SFA’s Winter Show is the largest West Coast marketplace devoted exclusively to specialty food and beverage producers and buyers. With more than 90,000 specialty food products on display, the show covered three football fields-worth of space.
This year’s show demonstrated the SFA’s commitment to attract the highest-quality industry contacts, helping to foster connections and ensure that great business deals are made at the show. Major companies represented included Amazon, Atlantis Casino Resort, Bi-Rite Markets, Central Market, Compass Group, Costco Wholesale, CVS Health, Delta Air Lines, Draeger's, Harris Ranch, Hello Fresh, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Lolli & Pops, Mollie Stone's Markets, Naturebox, PCC Community Markets, Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, Roche Bros, Sodexo, Target, The Fresh Market, Trader Joe's, Virgin Hotels, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods Market, Williams Sonoma, and Woodlands Market.
“The Specialty Food Association is committed to connecting the industry. This year’s Winter Fancy Food Show was the most successful to date. We are drawing senior level buyers and key influencers from across the food industry,” said Phil Kafarakis, SFA President. “At every Fancy Food Show, we offer education programs and SFA News Live programming, as well as access to incredible, innovative producers. We continue to add activities like our new Taste It Live stage for sampling and What’s Next in Food, giving people a real view of global food’s future. If you missed the show in January, we urge you to join us at our Summer Show in New York, June 23-25.”
Several attractions were added to the Winter Fancy Food Show following their success at the 2018 Summer Fancy Food Show. Incubator Village, which hosted seven incubators and featured 41 up-and-coming companies, was an attendee favorite. SFA partners Seeds&Chips and the Future Market expanded their footprint with What’s Next in Food, an interactive exhibit showcasing sustainability and biodiversity, and the SFA’s curated education sessions reinforced the Association’s position as a source of cutting-edge industry information and insights.
Other Summer Fancy Food Show highlights:
Front Burner: a foodservice pitch competition emceed by Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine. Products were judged on innovation, quality, and chef-appeal for foodservice. This year’s judging panel included Jim Dodge, Director of Specialty Culinary Programs, Bon Appetit Management Company; Angela Flenoy, Director of Innovation and Strategy, SYSCO; Hugh Groman, Chef and Proprietor, Hugh Groman Catering; George Morrone, Director of Culinary Development, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. The pitch winner was Pacific Pickle Works with their Michelada Shrub. More information can be found here.
Leadership Awards: The Leadership Awards celebrated the outstanding modern contributions of three Association members: Citizenship, Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli Foods, Oakland, CA; Business Leadership, Miyoko Schinner, Miyoko’s, Petaluma, CA; Vision, Patrick Mateer, Seal the Seasons, Chapel Hill, NC. More information can be found here.
The Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel scouted the show floor for the latest innovations. The panel consisted of Polly Adema, PhD, Food Studies Program, UOP; Reem Assil, chef, Reem’s California and Dyafa; Andrew Freeman, af&co.;Lawrence Jacobs, Oliver’s Markets; Kara Nielsen, CCD Helmsman; Tu David Phu, chef; Wendy Robinson, Market Hall Foods; Melina Romero, CCD Helmsman. A final trends report will be issued late January.
Giving Back: At the end of the Show, exhibitors continued their long tradition of giving back by donating thousands of pounds of meat, cheese, produce, confections, and snacks to the Specialty Food Foundation, which in turn donated the products to Food Recovery Network. This year 103 volunteers collected 33,273 pounds of food at the show, making it the single largest one-day food recovery operation for the Food Recovery Network to date.
For information on the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show being held in New York, NY from June 23-25, click here.