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Specialty Food Association Announces 2024 Leadership Awards

NEW YORK, Dec. 20, 2023 — Six leaders in the specialty food world have been recognized by the Specialty Food Association for their contributions to the $194 billion specialty food industry.

Leadership Awards Honorees

Citizenship, for improving the lives of people and communities through ethical business practices or philanthropic work (e.g., hunger relief, literacy, childhood nutrition.) Phil Meldrum, FoodMatch

Emerging Leader, recognition for an individual in business less than five years demonstrating outstanding leadership in any of the award categories. Anna Hammond, Matriark Foods

Equity & Inclusion, for demonstrating business leadership in advancing best practices in the food industry to create economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for food industry personnel (e.g., employee benefits, equitable practices, diversity and inclusion, engaging and motivating employees in innovative ways.) Antonio McBroom, Primo Partners

Outstanding Buyer, for championing specialty foods through excellence in product sourcing, merchandising, marketing, or mentoring of food companies. Paul Abbott, Giant Eagle

Sustainability, for environmental stewardship through sustainable production, ingredient use, packaging, waste reduction, animal welfare, eco- or climate-friendly practices. Paul Willis, Niman Ranch

Vision, for pioneering new approaches, innovative products, and business models that have set in motion positive change and progress. Diego Silva, Avatar Natural Foods

"The specialty food industry is full of inspiring individuals growing their businesses and making a difference in the world," said Denise Purcell, vice president, resource development for the SFA. "The scope of our Leadership Awards recognizes those who are impacting their local and global communities, championing specialty foods to consumers, and leading visionary businesses to advance the industry."

Profiles of the winners will appear in the Winter Fancy Food Show edition of Specialty Food magazine, which will be available at the 2024 Winter Fancy Food Show, the largest B2B-only specialty food and beverage show in the U.S. For more information, visit

About the Specialty Food Association

The Specialty Food Association (SFA) was founded in 1952 and is the not-for-profit trade association of the $194 billion specialty food industry. Representing more than 3,000 businesses worldwide, SFA champions industry participation and success for a diverse community of makers, buyers, importers, distributors, and service providers by developing resources, information, education, and events that celebrate innovation and inclusivity. SFA owns and operates the Fancy Food Shows—which are the largest specialty food industry events in North America—as well as the sofi™ Awards—which have honored excellence in specialty food and beverage annually since 1972. The SFA also produces the e-newsletter SFA News Daily, the Trendspotter Panel annual predictions and Fancy Food Show reports, the State of the Specialty Food Industry Report, Today's Specialty Food Consumer research, and the Spill & Dish podcast. Find out more online and connect with SFA on Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok.