Back to Specialty Food Magazine

Industry Voices: Specialty Food Live!, 2021 Leadership Awards

Specialty Food Association

Members of the trade discussed trends, giving back, food transparency, and supply chain shifts during January’s Specialty Food LIVE! educational sessions and 2021 Leadership Awards.

“An act of kindness from strangers may not solve every problem we have, but it gives us hope and that’s a lot, and the impact of the kindness will affect future generations. I’m feeling blessed that Angkor Cambodian is able to give back.” —Channy Laux, CEO of Angkor Cambodian Food, who survived the Cambodian genocide and labor camps before coming to the U.S., on winning an SFA 2021 Leadership Award for Citizenship

“How are you able to react faster to trends that change? You have to have more options. I think you’ll see a lot of bigger retailers broaden their supplier base to have more options.” —Greg Sarley, SVP of merchandising revenue at Harry & David, on identifying the right supply chain partners, and having backups for issues that arise

“Finding out what ‘real’ meant was the biggest project. We made it our mission to define what that actually meant, and we recognized how important it is to know where your food really comes from.” —Dan Wise, founder and CEO of ready-to-eat meal delivery service RealEats America Inc., on working to improve the food system

“People who are saying restaurants are dead and everyone is going to cook at home are giving consumers way too much credit. We love to travel and love to eat and can’t unlearn those behaviors.” —Jonathan Deutsch, professor of culinary arts and science at Drexel University and director of the Drexel Food Core Lab, on the balance of cooking at home post-COVID

“A lot of people are looking for more transparency in their food. We try to make it easy for people to know what type of systems they are supporting.” —Alita Kelly, founder of South East Market, which emphasizes sourcing local farms and businesses that are led by women and minorities, as well as those that are actively supporting environmental sustainability

“Quantifying the impact [a company] is having may be something that continues to emerge as a differentiating point.” —Melanie Bartelme, global food analyst for Mintel, on the trend of companies showing how the money from their ethical business practices are supporting communities

Download videos of Specialty Food LIVE! sessions as well as find other educational resources on SFA's Learning Center.