Infinite Aisle, an online transactional marketplace unveiled by the Specialty Food Association in January, has expanded by nearly 400 percent since its launch.
Powered by Specialty Food Partners, which operates the marketplace, the free member benefit was part of several digital initiatives implemented by the SFA to support both its members and the continued growth of the $170.4 billion specialty food industry.
Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, Infinite Aisle has also received a positive reception from retail buyers and distributors who were juggling multiple digital events. “Infinite Aisle will enable DPI to explore and purchase products both inside and outside of the event environment, year-round, 24/7,” said Beth Haley, VP of vendor relations at DPI Specialty Foods. “We look forward to utilizing Infinite Aisle during Fancy Food Show 2021 + Fancy Food 24/7.”
In addition to DPI Specialty Foods, distributors Associated Wholesale Grocers, Chex Finer Foods, C&S Davidson, MDI and Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge have signed on with Infinite Aisle. Together, along with a number of other large distributors being set up on the platform, they will soon provide SFA maker members access to more than 20,000 retailers. Additionally, Sysco’s Supplies on the Fly unit will also be offering Infinite Aisle products to all Sysco customers.
Infinite Aisle has no fees for SFA maker members, and is a straightforward process:
- Retailers set up a free account and order products via the platform, which is outfitted with filters that include product category, subcategory, attributes such as fair trade or gluten-free, and business distinctions such as B Corp, women- or veteran-owned and distance from store (for buyers seeking local products);
- Makers receive the orders, print prepaid labels supplied to them and ship the product directly to stores at no cost to the maker.
Partner distributors facilitate and guarantee the orders without having to take possession of, or warehouse, the products. As distributors do not warehouse products, they can offer an unlimited amount of SFA maker member products to their retail customers.
“The advent of Infinite Aisle, especially during such an unpredictable time, has really been a bright spot for our members,” said Bill Lynch, president, SFA. “Facilitating connections and creating opportunities in the specialty food industry is part of our mission, so this tremendous growth in the program tells us we are on the right path.”
Fast facts about makers on Infinite Aisle:
- Top 10 Maker States – California (18 percent), New York (14 percent), New Jersey (6 percent), Florida (5 percent), North Carolina (5 percent), Connecticut (4 percent), Georgia (4 percent), Washington (4 percent), Pennsylvania (3 percent) and Texas (3 percent);
- Top 10 Vendor Distinctions – Women Owned (51 percent), Vegan (38 percent), Vegetarian (35 percent), Kosher (25 percent), Minority Owned (21 percent), Organic (18 percent), Paleo (11 percent), Employee Owned (10 percent), B Corp (2 percent) and Veteran Owned (2 percent); and
- Top 10 Categories – Snacks (14 percent), Salts and Spices (13 percent), Sauces and Condiments (12 percent), Coffee and Tea (10 percent), Chocolate and Candy (8 percent), Beverages (6 percent), Oils and Vinegars (6 percent), Jams, Jellies and Preserves (5 percent), Honey, Molasses and Syrups (4 percent) and Baking (4 percent).
Fancy Food Show 2021 + Fancy Food 24/7, a hybrid event, will have Infinite Aisle fully integrated. Fancy Food Show 2021 will run Sept. 27 through 29 at the GBAC Star Certified Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, and Fancy Food 24/7 will run Sept. 27 through Oct. 8. Featuring in-person and digital elements, the event will showcase thousands of specialty food and beverage products that can be purchased through Infinite Aisle. Open only to the trade, attendees will be vetted and prequalified, and will range from retail and foodservice buyers to food industry service providers, members of the media and Trendspotters.