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Winter Fancy Food Show Breaks Records

Winter 16 Sampling Charcuterie

Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 09:45 am

The 2016 Winter Fancy Food Show ended on a high note this month with the strongest attendance and largest exhibit space in the show’s 41-year history. The show is owned and produced by the Specialty Food Association.

The sold-out exhibit halls were filled with new products, new brands and top-quality classics from 1,500 exhibitors from across the U.S. and 28 countries. The exhibit space covered 215,000 s.f., enough to fill more than four football fields with food. The trade-only event ran Jan. 17-19 at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Amid record sales in the $109 billion specialty food industry, the show drew nearly 20,000 attendees, a 16 percent increase above 2015 numbers. Buyers represented top names in retailing, restaurants and foodservice—including Whole Foods, Kroger, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Williams-Sonoma, Alaska Airlines and hundreds of local specialty and natural food markets.

“The appetite for specialty food is stronger than ever across all sales channels. The success of our show is a clear indication,” said Laura Santella-Saccone, chief marketing officer of the Specialty Food Association.

Italy served as the show’s country partner, with more than 60 companies, a wine bar and gelato station. Special exhibits included Incubator Row featuring Northern California start-ups, and New Brands on the Shelf, with 34 emerging food entrepreneurs launching brands like bone broth in K Cups and birch tree “water.” Throughout, hundreds of new products were introduced that will land on store shelves and restaurant menus in the coming year.

Show firsts included “Party with a Purpose,” an opening night bash that supported the Specialty Food Foundation’s efforts to fight hunger and increase food recovery, and “Shelf Showdown,” a specialty food pitch competition for first-time exhibitors. The winner: Jack Kuo, founder of Fuller Foods, whose winning pitch was for Seriously Cheesy Puffs.

Other show highlights included:

• Top 5 Trends—An expert panel of trendspotters declared their picks of the top food trends at the show, including protein-packed products and Southeast Asia and Western fusions.

• Specialty Food Association Hall of Fame and Leadership Awards Ceremony.

• Future-looking seminars focused on snacking and single-serve trends, and innovations that will change how the world produces, sells and eats.

• An interactive presentation by Corby Kummer of The Atlantic on the terms used on specialty food labels.

• 100 first-time exhibitors.

• More than 1,000 pre-arranged one-on-one meetings with buyers and exhibitors.

• Exhibitor food donation of thousands of pounds of specialty food at end of show to Bay Area anti-hunger programs.

The Summer Fancy Food Show will be held June 26-28 at Javits Center in New York, and the next Winter Fancy Food Show will be held Jan. 22-24, 2017, at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Find photos from the 2016 Winter Fancy Food Show here.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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