More than 4,500 industry leaders convened at Chicago’s McCormick Place in mid-June for KeHE Distributors’ 2018 Holiday Show. Products featured by nearly 700 exhibitors across all categories gave retailers the chance to experience first-hand new products for the upcoming winter season.
“Industry leaders convene to ignite their senses and experience great food. Our retail partners are able to purchase products on the spot with great discounts from our valued supplier community,” said Brandon Barnholt, KeHE president and CEO. “We are proud to continue to connect our community of retailers, suppliers and brokers with the dynamic products, educational presentations and deals showcased at KeHE’s annual Holiday Show.”
Barnholt opened the show with the president’s address, providing insight into the evolving marketplace. During the keynote address, Carey Lohrenz, the U.S. Navy’s first female F-14 Tomcat pilot, discussed her definition of fearless leadership and how taking big risks can create big rewards.
New for the 2018 Holiday Show
This year, a themed holiday showcase featured holiday cooking and demo seminars intended to spark inspiration, and at the fresh marketplace, retailers learned about new products and trends driving the industry.
More than 190 brands were featured in the new products showcase, highlighting items from Certified B Corp vendors and KeHE’s CAREtrade partners. Attendees voted for their favorites to select the winners of the Best of New Product Awards. This year’s winners are:
- Best of Show—Prommus
- Best of Beverages—Vitacup
- Best of Breakfast—Coffee Booster
- Best of Condiments & Sauces—Primal Kitchen
- Best of Confections & Baking—Pamela’s Products
- Best of Fresh & Frozen—Caulipower
- Best of Health & Wellness—EO Products
- Best of Mission-Based Brands—Berri Fit
- Best of Snack Foods—Hen of the Woods
- Best of Staple Goods & Grains—Maya Kaimal
“At our show, we do more than connect, we are able to satisfy our mission of serving to make lives better. Showcasing our values is an important pillar in our trade shows,” said Ari Goldsmith, KeHE executive director of marketing.
New for this show, a portion of the Exhibit Hall was dedicated to the compassion experience, an immersive walk through the life of a child with poverty. Afterward, attendees could opt to sponsor a child through Compassion International, a KeHE Cares partner.
Show attendees received a wooden KeHE Cares token to drop into a bucket representing one of four partner organizations around the world: The Ark (Chicago), KHK Foundation (Cambodia), A Kid’s Place (Florida), and Restoring Hope (Nepal). For each token placed in its bucket, the organization received a $5 donation from KeHE Cares.
Following the show, the KeHE community donated 33,818 pounds of food products to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
The next Holiday Show will be held June 10-11, 2019, in Chicago.
Based in Naperville, Illinois, KeHE Distributors LLC is a B Corp Certified provider of natural and organic, specialty, and fresh products to natural food stores, chain grocery stores, independent grocery stores and other specialty product retailers throughout North America.