Summer Fancy Food Show Breaks Records
The 59th Summer Fancy Food Show broke records in exhibit space and attendance. At the end of the show, North America’s largest trade event for the specialty food industry, there was another record when exhibitors donated the most food ever to City Harvest, the show’s longtime charity of choice.
The show took place June 30–July 2, 2013, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. The sold-out exhibit halls drew 24,100 buyers from top names in retailing and restaurants from the U.S. and abroad and surpassed record attendance from the 2010 Summer Show when it was last held in New York. The show relocated to Washington, D.C., in 2011 and 2012 while Javits Center was undergoing a renovation.
“New York is the birthplace of the Fancy Food Show and its home. Our return to the city coincided with unprecedented interest in specialty food and the passionate entrepreneurs who create it,” says Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association, the show’s owner. “With the record showing, all indications point to another strong year for our industry.”
The show was the largest ever, with 354,000 square feet of exhibit space filled with 180,000 specialty foods and beverages from more than 1,500 U.S. exhibitors and some 1,000 from around the world, including first-time pavilions from Bulgaria, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. Italy had the largest international presence, followed by Turkey, France, and Spain.
The show kicked off with a president’s reception featuring a surprise “Les Misérables” parody by Broadway actors belting out "Les Digestibles,” about the craft, care, and joy that go into making specialty food. That “craft, care, and joy,” is the theme of the Specialty Food Association’s new brand for the industry. It was depicted with bold graphics and giant portraits of members on banners and signs throughout the crowded exhibit halls.
The buzz was strong throughout the show. “The quality of the buyer who has come by has just catapulted. Balducci’s. Wegmans. Target,” said exhibitor Peggy Shannon of Cincinnati-based Queen City Cookies. “It has been the best show ever.”
Show highlights included the keynote address by Marcus Samuelsson, the internationally acclaimed chef, owner of Red Rooster in Harlem and The New York Times bestselling author of Yes, Chef. He also presented the 41st annual sofi Awards for the outstanding specialty foods of the year, and awards for the Outstanding Specialty Food Retailers of 2013. Samuelsson donated his speaking fee of $30,000 to City Harvest.
- A trendspotter panel identified the Top 5 Trends at the show: Reinvented Frozen Treats; Grains and Seeds in New Places; Global Meal Starters: Retro Mania Done New, and Be Your Own Mixologist.
- Full menu of workshops and seminars, including “Start-Up Sunday,” for beginning food entrepreneurs and market tours of Brooklyn.
- Standing-room-only panel on GMO-labeling debate
- Cooking demos from top chefs presented by the Specialty Food Association and Cooking Channel
- New Brands on the Shelf pavilion featuring 34 industry newcomers
- More than 1,400 one-on-one meetings with buyers and exhibitors facilitated by the Specialty Food Association
- Contest for free national ad campaign, "My Story, My Ad."
- Donation by exhibitors of 220,300 pounds of specialty food to City Harvest
Future Fancy Food Show Dates Winter Fancy Food Show, January 19 – 21, 2014, San Francisco
Summer Fancy Food Show, June 29 – July 1, 2014, New York