Bright lights, cameras, and a whole lot of action. No, I’m not speaking of a Hollywood movie set, but the Summer Fancy Food Show (SFFS) 2022 held at the Javits Center in Manhattan, New York. This singular event of the summer, hosted by the Specialty Food Association (SFA), took place June 12–14, welcoming members from across the specialty industry to bump elbows once again.
“The anticipation has been building for this Show for nearly three years,” commented Bill Lynch, President of the SFA, whose excitement for the event was palpable. “It was so special to be in NYC, our home, and the Javits is our backyard where we have brought the community together for 70-plus years!”
It felt like every time I turned around, a new event—both planned and spontaneous—was taking place on the show floor. I had the chance to catch up with all the friendly faces I haven’t seen in over two years, and the thought on everyone’s mind was: It’s great to be back. It was an impressive turnout of attendees, with multiple exhibition levels each packed with potential partners—and an exciting appearance from actor Oscar Isaac himself.
The sofi™ Awards were proudly on display at many booths this year, and the SFA officially announced the New Product of the Year and Product of the Year Award winners: Tait Farm Foods and Sterling Caviar, respectively. Other awards announced at the event included the Leadership Awards, the 2021 and 2022 Lifetime Achievement Awards, and the 2021 and 2022 Hall of Fame Classes.
In addition to the more than 1,800 exhibitor booths set up, the show hosted a Pavilion of BIPOC-led and founded companies, a Trendspotter Panel, an SFA Product Marketplace digital showcase, and so much more—one of which was the Fancy New York Pitch Slam, which Rosti Stuft Spuds won in the Naturally category. Not only were ideas exchanged, but new insights were shared by a diverse range of experts, and all who attended walked away with something to implement in their own business.
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One thing I always find fascinating about the Fancy Food Shows is the attendees’ natural instinct to collaborate and blend flavors and concepts. I saw friends old and new sharing their products with each other while talking about everything from family to business partnerships. The conversation often touched on supply chain challenges, but the overarching theme was that now is the prime time for growth.
Of course, I could never fit all the wise words I heard onto this page, but I can give the floor to a few industry friends…
Cory Bronson, Senior Manager, B2B Marketing, FOODMatch
“This is our first time exhibiting in the past two years. SFFS is the Super Bowl of trade shows. This is truly a global food experience. After everything everyone has been through in the past two years, I think it’s remarkable to see product in person, see old friends and new, and we’re just really happy to be back.”
Marcel Vantuyn, Managing Director, Beemster Cheese CONO USA
“Beemster is thrilled to be back in NYC at the Summer Fancy Food Show! It’s been three years since the last summer show, and you can absolutely feel the excitement and the energy to be here. From the start of the show, it’s been a very vibrant and engaging experience. Everyone has done a great job keeping business running smoothly over the past few years, but there’s nothing quite like meeting in person. Walking around our booth with customers, they see new items and can pick them up and ask about them. We can open up packages and sample our cheeses right on the spot. Our executive leadership is here from Holland, and for them to connect directly with U.S. customers is a tremendous opportunity. There’s an element of discovery at the show—we meet new customers, people have changed roles or categories, there are new products or new ways of using them—this is what makes the show special.”
Maria Vittoria Zini, Junior Marketing Manager, Veroni USA
“The show is going very well; there have been a lot of people in attendance, so we are quite happy. The buyer turnout is quite good, and we’ve had some important customers come to visit. We are showing our new Italian Rollino Snack products that will be launching next month, the Charcuterie Party Tray, the Taste of Europe line from Spain, the paper tray line, and much more.”
Umberto Marconi, Vice President of Marketing, BelGioioso Cheese
“The show is going very well. We’re really pleased with the amount of friends and customers we are meeting. Another exciting aspect is that we are bringing the Polly-O brand to the show for the first time—a very strong dairy brand we acquired in December of last year. We reverted back to the old packaging design to restore the classic tradition and look of the products. The reactions we have had from customers have been very positive.”
I extend the biggest thanks to all of the folks who shared their insights with me this week. Your contributions to the industry are beyond words, and we at Deli Market News are thankful to be your friends.
Until next year!