Fancy Food is a time where we in the industry get to come together to talk about the one thing we all love: food. Specialty Food Association has our backs, providing a digital space for us foodies to dish on all things great and innovative, and see what our industry is cooking up next. As we continue to adhere to safe social distancing, Fancy Food 24/7 provided the much-needed venue to connect and explore the latest discoveries suppliers, creators, and dream makers are bringing to market, and boy, was this year jam-packed.
“The SFA went the extra mile to make Fancy Food 24/7 a robust event upon the cancellation of the in-person Fancy Food Show 2021. While we all felt universal disappointment at not being able to gather, the specialty food industry supported our prioritizing safety, which resulted in more members signing up for Fancy Food 24/7 and increased buyer registration,” comments Bill Lynch, SFA President. “Our teams responded by expanding the education programming, which covered everything from trends to the role of tech in food; Incubator Village returned with the Drexel Food Lab and Rutgers Food Innovation Center; we had 11 international pavilions and one state pavilion; as well as numerous brands available for purchase via Infinite Aisle.”
The virtual platform welcomed you with several handy features to make exploration an easy and informative experience. From the Community feed, attendees were met with available products from suppliers akin to a social media feed.
The Categories section provided a convenient navigation tool to all products available, as attendees could view and purchase products right on their screen. SFA’s new Infinite Aisle helped retailers access more specialty food products at the click of a button while the Brands tab showcased the over 1,000 brands available. The Incubator Village and Pavilions were also sections available to show-goers, making it easy to stop by and discover more international products.
“Incubator Village’s return was exciting as it featured up-and-coming, innovative brands that are often diverse-owned, and this is just one way that the SFA commits to nurturing the growth of our $170.4 billion specialty food industry,” Bill continues. “The expanded presence of the international pavilions allowed for more new product discovery, especially for members in countries that have been particularly impacted by the pandemic, and the integration of Infinite Aisle in many exhibitor showrooms enhanced the experience for buyers and distributors.”
As with all events, one thing to look forward to is the community. Being able to meet up with friends new and old is an aspect many look forward to.
“Fancy Food 24/7 was so great to attend. It was easy to set up and display information all while being informative. I was able to reach people easily to have conversations and conduct my business, and it was great to see people from around the world all in one space,” Jim Anderko, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Venus Wafers, comments. “I enjoyed meeting new people, and I can’t wait to get back onto the show floor in Vegas for the Winter Fancy Food Show next year. I miss the energy!”
For those looking for educational enlightenment, the Programs tab provided the perfect resource to attend or catch up on all 11 sessions. At this year’s event, SFA’s Trendspotter panel sought out the next big thing, and personally, I feel like these catches are spot-on:
“Firehook is grateful for the opportunity to be reunited with fellow makers in the Virginia Specialty Food Pavilion and we appreciate the meaningful connections that were made,” Kari Ball, Marketing Manager for Firehook, tells me. “With much to look forward to in 2022, we hope to see you all in February at the Winter Fancy Food Show!”
Excitement already abounds for the next event—Winter Fancy Food Show on February 6–8 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Health and safety are always top of mind in our industry, but with SFA driving the wheel, we believe that another show-stopper is at hand.
“We continue to be creative and pursue opportunities, thus the relocation of the 2022 Winter Fancy Food Show to Las Vegas offers our participants an expanded buyer audience, cost savings, safety, and convenience in the entertainment capital of the world,” Bill concludes. “Safety remains a priority and will always continue to be the focal point of our planning. I personally can’t wait to see our community come together again to shape the future of food in a fresh, new, fun, and safe environment!”
Another show for the books! Catch Deli Market News as we bring the latest flavors and events our industry has to offer.