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Summer Fancy Food Show Breaks Records

Summer Fancy Food Show 2013, crowd shot

The 59th Summer Fancy Food Show, held earlier this month in New York, broke records in exhibit space and attendance. At the end of the show, noted as North America’s largest trade event for the specialty food industry, another record was set when exhibitors donated the most food ever to City Harvest, the show’s longtime charity of choice.

The sold-out exhibit halls at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center 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 the Javits Center was undergoing a renovation.

“New York is the birthplace of the Fancy Food Show and its home,” said Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association, the show’s owner. “Our return to the city coincided with unprecedented interest in specialty food and the passionate entrepreneurs who create it. With the record showing, all indications point to another strong year for our industry.”

The show was the largest ever, with 354,000 s.f. 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,” said exhibitor Peggy Shannon of Cincinnati-based Queen City Cookies. “Balducci’s. Wegmans. Target. It has been the best show ever.”

A show highlight 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.



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