Specialty food sellers are set to make their annual trek to the Javits Center in New York City for the Summer Fancy Food Show this month. The three-day show starts June 28 and, for the first time this year, the Specialty Food Association has launched an ad campaign and partnered with grocery retailers Kings Food Markets, Morton Williams and FreshDirect on promotions designed to raise awareness of specialty foods.
Each year, the trade show floor bursts with booths filled with new treats, innovative twists on traditional favorites, indulgent goodies and healthful snacks. This year’s lineup will include 2,400 exhibitors from around the world, sampling about 180,000 products, 100 of which are part of the retail promotion, the association said in a press release. The retailers will promote food and beverages from companies including Brooklyn Brine Co., Cypress Grove Chevre and Tate’s Bake Shop, with in-store signage, sampling, discounts and online messaging.
In another first, the week of the show will be declared Specialty Food Week in New York City. Specialty foods — from Italian holiday cakes to culinary matcha to artisan chocolate — saw their sales top $100 billion for the first time last year, up from $88.3 billion in 2013, according to the association. The group, which launched in 1952 when a band of cheese importers joined forces to fight tariffs, has hosted the growing show for more than 60 years.
The sweet and savory treats come with a menu of seminars, chef demonstrations and speakers including former Trader Joe’s President Doug Rauch, who launched a new not-for-profit grocery concept called Daily Table in Dorcester, Mass., earlier this year. Rauch made news in 2013, when his plan for the new concept — which would turn food that’s past its expiration date but still good into affordable prepared meals, with the dual goals of curbing hunger and cutting down on food waste.
Rauch’s speech, set for Monday, June 29 at 9 a.m., will focus on “How to Do Good While Doing Well in the Marketplace.” Career trend-spotter Suzy Badaracco will take the same time slot on Tuesday morning, with a talk titled Beyond the Millennials: Generational Differences and the Future of Specialty Food.
Other sessions on this year’s agenda include:
- A daylong session dubbed The Basics: The Business of Specialty Food, to give newbies a primer on brand building, selling to supermarkets, marketing and pricing. Speakers will include Specialty Food Association President and former Kraft executive Ann Daw, Renfro Foods President Doug Renfro and Native Kjalii Foods founder Julie Jeremy.
- Start Right, Grow Strong: 9 Critical Steps, with Blackpoint Management founder John Roberts
- The Theater of Retail: Understanding Consumer Experience with Kevin Kelley
- Non-GMO: Go or No Go? A roundtable discussion
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