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Specialty Food Association To Honor Industry Pioneers

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Specialty food sales are at a record high of $109 billion and account for nearly 15 percent of all U.S. retail food sales. According to the Specialty Food Association, the industry’s performance is the result of the hard work and foresight of industry pioneers who decades ago saw an opportunity to elevate the culture of food in the U.S. and stepped in to make it happen.

To honor these people, the association will present its 2015 Lifetime Achievement Awards to eight trendsetters who helped create the industry. They will be honored June 29 at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

They are:

• Giorgio DeLuca, Joel Dean and Jack Ceglic of Dean & DeLuca
Co-founders DeLuca, Dean and Ceglic redefined specialty food in the 1970s and 1980s, giving birth to a global brand and inspiring thousands of retailers to embrace specialty food.

• Edith Friedland of EFCO Imports
Friedland was the first woman to lead the Specialty Food Association/NASFT. Her company introduced European beers, Swiss health foods and South American hearts of palm to the U.S.

• Alfred Lepore of Ferrara Foods
Lepore broke new ground for imported Italian foods in the U.S. and fostered U.S. production of Italian products under the iconic Ferrara brand.

• Steve Reich of Charlotte Charles
Reich introduced specialty foods to the masses by developing specialty food as a gift. Charlotte Charles became one of the most prominent gift packers, manufacturers and distributors in the industry.

• John Roberts of the Specialty Food Association/NASFT
Roberts led the Specialty Food Association/NASFT for 17 years. He acquired full ownership of the association’s Fancy Food Shows from a show management company, developed industry-leading media products and introduced education programs for all levels of expertise in the industry.

The Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented as part of the red-carpet sofi Awards ceremony at the Summer Fancy Food Show. The ceremony is open to all show attendees. It is from 5-7 p.m. at Javits Center, Special Events Hall, followed by an after party. The Lifetime Achievement honorees were selected by a special committee from the Specialty Food Association’s inaugural Hall of Fame, which includes 114 food innovators who were inducted in January.

The Summer Fancy Food Show is runs June 28-30 at Javits Center. Registration is available online throughout the show. Attendees may also register in person at Javits Center starting June 28.

Association launches first consumer ad campaign

In other Specialty Food Association news, the group is launching its first-ever ad campaign and retail test designed to build consumer awareness and engagement with specialty food. The theme is “Celebrate Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy.”

The tests come as sales of specialty food have topped $100 billion for the first time and continue to climb.

“Consumers want the very best from the food they buy. They want distinctive products they trust made by people who care,” said Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association. “Now is the moment for specialty food.”

SPECIALTY FOOD ASSOCIATION LOGOThe brand “Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy.,” first launched by the association two years ago with an industry-only marketing campaign, serves to define specialty food as a category and the myriad products within it, from chocolate, cheese and olive oil to savory snacks.

The consumer effort has two key elements: a retail and online test in New York and New Jersey, and a multi-faceted ad campaign in New York featuring four specialty food makers who share the stories behind their products.

The test coincides with the association’s 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

The retail test, starting this month, is with three retailers whose business is built on specialty food: Kings Food Markets, Morton Williams and the online fresh food grocer FreshDirect. Each test is unique to the retailer, and each features different foods and beverages from members of the Specialty Food Association.

Some of the 100 products featured include pickles from Brooklyn Brine Co., goat cheese from Cypress Grove Chevre, chocolate chip cookies from Tate’s Bake Shop, toasted coconut chips from Dang Foods, crackers from Partners Crackers, vanilla from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and frozen entrées from Saffron Road Foods.

The stores will have focused displays of specialty foods, extensive signage, in-store sampling, promotional discounts as well as inclusion in weekly circulars and online messaging. Each test will run for several weeks. Based on sales results and shopper interviews, the Specialty Food Association hopes to expand the test to different U.S. markets in 2016.

The advertising campaign puts the spotlight on four specialty food companies and the people behind them who bring “craft, care and joy” to their work producing specialty food. They are:

• Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods—Maya Kaimal

• Phin & Phebes Ice Cream—Jess Eddy and Crista Freeman

• Sir Kensington’s—Mark Ramadan and Scott Norton

• Superseedz—Kathie and Joe Pelliccio

The food makers will be featured on billboards going up June 22 in Times Square, near Javits Center and near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel to New Jersey. The ads will be in 260 subway stations in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

The campaign also will be featured on the popular food sites Grub Street, Eater and Bon Appetit.

“Our vision is for retailers across the country and with different formats to embrace the category of specialty food and the passion our member companies bring to their work creating distinctive products,” Daw said. “It is our industry that is helping to change the way people eat.”

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Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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