Specialty Food Association Brings More Industry Innovators and Entrepreneurs to Larger Winter Fancy Food Show


NEW YORK, NY (February 4, 2020) The specialty food industry, representing $150 billion in annual sales, gathered in San Francisco for the Winter Fancy Food Show January 19 through 21. Hosted by the Specialty Food Association (SFA), a not-for-profit association with over 3,800 members, the show saw 1,400+ companies exhibiting over 80,000 specialty foods coming together with buyers and distributors from every channel.

“We were honored to present the first large-scale food show of the decade for the industry, showcasing even more SFA member company exhibitors as we maximized the new space at the renovated Moscone Center,” said Phil Kafarakis, SFA President. “The show gave everyone a chance to experience our revitalized brand and the community provided overwhelmingly positive feedback to us. We invite everyone involved in specialty food to join us at our Summer Show in New York, June 28-30, to see the new SFA for themselves.”

Kafarakis also noted, “Beyond the commercial success of our exhibiting companies, we’re very proud of the generosity of our members in giving back to those in need in San Francisco through their product donations to our Foundation and the Food Recovery Network.”

The largest, trade-only, specialty food and beverage event on the West Coast, the show featured specialty food companies from around the world. Highlights included:

  • Incubator Village: Featuring five incubators from around the U.S. showcasing dozens of companies. SFA is a strong supporter of incubators who help launch or grow new businesses from the ground up.
  • Leadership Awards Ceremony: Celebrated Lorenza Pasetti, Volpi Foods; Elizabeth Stein, Purely Elizabeth; and Natalie Shmulik, The Hatchery Chicago for outstanding modern contributions in Business Leadership, Citizenship, and Vision.
  • Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition: Providing real-world tips on how to best “pitch” for foodservice buyers, three exhibitors headlined the competition: Bob Trently, Savencia Cheese; Christine Lantinen, Maud Borup; and Dinesh Tadepalli, Planeteer. All pitched their foodservice-ready products to a panel of buyers during this live event. The winner was Dinesh Tadepalli of Planeteer with incrEDIBLE – Spoons you Eat!
  • What’s NEXT in Food! – A new interactive attraction, this “show within the show” brought in a new audience of buyers from emerging segments to see:
    • The Mediterranean Diet Roundtable hosted by leading scholars, analysts, and foodservice experts presenting scientific findings, trends, and insights on the health values, commercial benefits, and market trends for Mediterranean foods.
    • The FCIA Fine Chocolate Pavilion focused on the artistry and craftsmanship of fine chocolate products, the FCIA believes in using best practices in cacao processing and chocolate production and transparent labeling and marketing practices. The FCIA Pavilion featured specialty talks from experts in the fine chocolate industry, 20+ exhibitor kiosks, and chocolate pairings.
    • Industry Newcomers – “New Brands on the Shelf” featured up-and-coming specialty food producers who are SFA Member Candidates, showcasing dozens of niche and artisanal products.
    • Plant-Based Food Producers – Companies new to the Fancy Food Show, the pavilion featured the latest in plant-based food products.
  • The SFA Trendspotter Panel: Scouting the show in search of the latest innovations were Melanie Zanoza Bartelme, Mintel; Monifa Dayo, The Supperclub; Andrew Freeman, af&co. and Carbonate; Illyanna Maisonet, Puerto Rican food columnist; Chef Tu David Phu, TDP Enterprises LLC.; Wendy Robinson, Market Hall Foods; Leith Steel, Carbonate; and Chef Bryant Terry, Museum of the African Diaspora. A final trends report will be issued in mid-February. Additionally, Jr. Trendspotters from the San Jose Job Corps joined with their GenZ perspective and will also be releasing their findings in February.
  • The Disruptors’ Panel: An in-depth conversation with two of the most intriguing young minds on the food scene today – Marguerite Mariscal from Momofuku, and Chloe Sorvino from Forbes.
  • The SFA Membership HUB: A membership services attraction hosted by SFA’s Member Engagement Team, providing guidance to valuable SFA member resources and actively recruiting 200+ new members to the association during the show. The launch of the new SFA Member Help Desk was announced at the HUB. SFA members may call 1-646-868-0301 Monday thru Friday 8:30am-5pm ET for assistance year-round.
  • Giving Back: At the end of the show, exhibitors continued their long tradition of giving back by donating 35,500 pounds of meat, cheese, produce, confections, and snacks to the Specialty Food Foundation, which were in turn donated to Food Recovery Network, the Winter Fancy Food Show’s longtime charity of choice.

About the Specialty Food Association
Founded in 1952 in New York City, the Specialty Food Association (SFA) is the leading advocate for the $148.7 billion specialty food industry. Representing makers, importers, entrepreneurs, retailers, distributors and others in the trade, the SFA aims to champion, nurture and connect its members to deliver traditional and innovative new products to consumers that expand consumption of specialty foods. With over 3,800 member companies, the Association helps its members through providing information, research, educational events, and celebrating the industry through its awards programs. The SFA is known for hosting the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, and presents the sofi™ Awards honoring excellence in specialty food. Learn more at specialtyfood.com.

Specialty Food Association Media Contact:
PR Department, press@specialtyfood.com

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