Nearly 5,000 industry professionals joined KeHE in the Windy City for the record-breaking 2019 KeHE Holiday Show June 12-13. Chicago’s McCormick Place was filled with more than 750 exhibitors.
Attendees explored innovative items featured in the OnTrend Pavilion, which also highlighted items from fellow Certified B Corporations and KeHE’s 2019 CAREtrade partners, including Bhakti, NuttZo, The Soulfull Project, This Bar Saves Lives and World Centric.
“The amount of innovation our suppliers have on display at our shows continues to raise the bar,” said KeHE President and CEO Brandon Barnholt. “Our retailers depend on our shows to taste and see OnTrend items and to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to their category sets. We’re proud of the marketplace we’ve created at the Holiday Show that allows our attendees to experience and explore all KeHE has to offer in the specialty, natural & organic and fresh arenas.”
Barnholt kicked off the show with his annual President’s Address about the state of the industry, where it’s going and the ways KeHE is growing and evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of their retail and supplier partners.
KeHE’s Serving Goodness event was launched on the second day. Thousands of attendees volunteered to help pack 50,000 meals for Chicago families in need that featured products donated by show exhibitors—all in under 45 minutes. The company says the event was a manifestation of KeHE’s business converging with the heart of KeHE Care.
“After partnering with the Children’s Hunger Fund for a similar event at Expo West, we knew we wanted to bring this experience to our own shows and create a community of goodness with our own attendees,” said Ari Goldsmith, KeHE executive director of marketing. “With nearly 5,000 attendees, many hands made light work, and we were able to make a tremendous impact before hitting the Exhibit Hall for day two. We’re very thankful for the big heart of the KeHE community who helped us serve to make lives better.”
Katie Paul, KeHE’s VP of category management and growth solutions, said her team is always looking out for the next best-selling item.
“This show allows us to share those findings, backed by trend data from our expert team, to create successful in-store solutions,” Paul said. “We also took it one step further, using our Innovation Gurus’ expertise to sample, evaluate, and crown the first class of OnTrend Award winners.”
Ten exhibitors were chosen to win OnTrend Awards:
- OnTrend Beverage—Vitacup
- OnTrend Condiments—4th & Heart
- OnTrend Confections & Baking—Justin’s
- OnTrend Fresh—Mush
- OnTrend Frozen—Base Culture
- OnTrend General Merchandise—The Bear & The Rat: Cool Treats For Dogs
- OnTrend Health & Wellness—Good Goo
- OnTrend Mission-Based Brand—Vital Farms
- OnTrend Snack Foods & Bars—Artisan Tropic
- OnTrend Staple Goods & Grains—Nutiva
- OnTrend Best of Show—NuttZo
Nearly 40,000 pounds of food products were donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository following the show.
The 2020 KeHE Summer Show will be held Feb. 4-5 in New Orleans. The show is invite-only.