More than 750 exhibitors brought their innovative new products and consumer favorites to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, for the 2020 KeHE Summer Show. The annual trade show, held Feb. 4-5, welcomed more than 4,500 industry professionals including KeHE retailers looking for show deals on trending products.
“Kicking off 2020 by bringing together our retail and supplier partners to experience all the innovation in the marketplace was incredible,” said Gene Carter, KeHE’s chief operating officer. “Our retailers rely on us to be their eyes and ears on both the trend of the minute and what’s next on the horizon. It’s a responsibility we’ve further embraced as we strive to be the Next Generation Distributor. Our show floor has become a true showcase of KeHE’s advanced product and trend foraging expertise. By educating our customers not only on the trends, but also how to implement them at the store level, they leave with tangible ideas and the product to execute because they could buy it right on the show floor.”
The show kicked off with the first Next Generation Innovation Faceoff where five emerging brands, not yet in KeHE’s portfolio, competed in a pitch slam competition to earn a place in KeHE’s new elevate program. Goli’s Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies took the top spot, as selected by the audience and KeHE category managers, making them the first brand to formally enter the new program.
“Our first goal is to create a marketplace that allows our customers to easily connect with suppliers and buy products,” said Ari Goldsmith, KeHE’s VP of marketing. “By layering in elements like interactive trend education and our Next Generation Innovation Showcase, we’ve truly created a hub of innovation that resonated with all attendees. Overall sales saw a double-digit percentage increase over 2019.”
KeHE’s Innovation Gurus unveiled the second class of On Trend Award winners by surprising 15 winners on the show floor. The team sampled and evaluated more than 300 item submissions to determine the final list.
- On Trend Beverages: Remedy Organics;
• On Trend Condiments: Beyond the Equator;
• On Trend Confections & Baking: The Good Bean;
• On Trend Convenience: RightRice;
• On Trend Fresh: Belle Chevre;
• On Trend Frozen: Caulipower;
• On Trend Functionality: WellWell;
• On Trend HBC & Personal Care: CBDFX;
• On Trend Mission-Based Brand: Endangered Species Chocolate;
• On Trend Pet: I And Love And You;
• On Trend Plant-Based & Sustainability: Outer Aisle;
• On Trend Refrigerated & Dairy: Perfectly Peckish;
• On Trend Snack Foods & Bars: Catalina Crunch;
• On Trend VMS: Orgain; and
• On Trend Best of Show: Mammoth Creameries.
Day two of the show saw the continuation of KeHE’s Serving Goodness event, launched last June at the KeHE Holiday Show, where thousands of attendees volunteered to help pack 100,000 meals for families in need. The boxes featured products donated by show exhibitors and now will be delivered by the Children’s Hunger Fund to hungry families.
Following the show, the KeHE community donated more than 38,000 pounds of food products to the Second Harvest Food Bank, totaling 32,000 meals for southern Louisiana families.
The 2020 KeHE Holiday Show will be held June 17-18 in Chicago, Illinois. The show is invite-only. For more information, visit KeHE.com.