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Summer Fancy Food Show Brought Top Stakeholders, Innovators

More than 30,000 members of the specialty food and beverage industry registered for the Specialty Food Association’s sold-out 67th Summer Fancy Food Show, which took place earlier this week at the Javits Center in New York City. Registration was up 20 percent over 2022, and the Show achieved year-over-year increases in all key qualified buyer categories attending the Show, including a 21 percent increase in retailers; a 19.7 percent increase in foodservice, and a 12 percent increase in distributors.

“As a not-for-profit membership trade association, the Specialty Food Association operates the Fancy Food Shows as a service to our more than 3,000 member companies," said SFA president Bill Lynch. “The Fancy Food Shows were created to help facilitate the growth of the specialty food industry, and they are the premiere destination for those who want to see, taste, and experience the incredible breadth of specialty products available today. Specialty food and beverage makers are innovators and trendsetters, and that was on full display during this year's Summer Fancy Food Show."

Karl Franz WIlliams, founder of Uncle Waithley's who exhibited from the (included) area of the Diversity Pavilion, said of the Show, "There was an amazing current of energy and excitement in the room this year. Everyone seemed poised to make a deal, to do business, or just to learn and try something new. We've put a lot of work into developing our brand, so it was awesome to get almost unanimous thumbs up from those who visited our booth. The three days flew by, and we made great connections. We are excited to see if we can now convert these opportunities into real growth for our business."  

Highlights from the Show included:

•  A keynote session from celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis where she discussed the emerging trends in the food space that are propelling her businesses, including restaurants, catering, and her Italian food and lifestyle website Giadzy.

•  NEW NOW NEXT featuring startup, incubators, and accelerators including Oregon State University Food Innovation Center, FoodFuture Co, Hudson Kitchen, CommonWealth Kitchen Inc., Rutgers Food Innovation Center, The Hatchery, and Cornell AgriTech.

•  Mochidoki Vegan Passionfruit Mochi Ice Cream and Lewis Road Creamery 10 Star Certified Salted Butter were awarded the 2023 sofi Awards for New Product of the Year and Product of the Year, respectively.

•  International pavilions featured exhibitors from more than 35 countries and regions across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America.

•  Diversity Pavilion featuring (included), which showcased BIPOC-led and founded companies.

•  Category-specific food and beverage Pavilions, including Bakery, Confectionery, Snacks, & Sweets; Beverages; Deli; Olive Oil; Plant-Based; and Upcycled Food Association

•  Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony; the Hall of Fame added nine new inductees and five SFA members were honored for their career achievements in specialty food.

•  The Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel consisting of eleven professionals from diverse areas of the culinary world scouted the show floor for the latest innovations.

•  Peetachai “Neil” Dejkraisak of Jasberry, an organic superfood rice maker that transforms lives by solving farmer poverty, won A Fancy New York Pitch Slam hosted by Naturally New York and received a prize package worth $130,000.

• Exhibitors continued their long tradition of giving back by donating tens of thousands of pounds of unopened meat, cheese, produce, confections, and snacks to City Harvest; more than 94,000 pounds of specialty food was donated to help feed hungry New Yorkers.

Related: sofi Product of the Year, New Product of the Year Winners Named; Jasberry Wins A Fancy New York Pitch Slam