January 19, 2012
Every year the National Association of Specialty Food Trade hosts two trade shows – one in the Winter and one in the Summer – that provides specialty food producers and manufacturers with an opportunity to get in front of thousands of buyers.
While the majority of the booth space at this past Winter Fancy Food Show, which was held in San Francisco, was taken up by large name brand products, there were smaller brands and companies in and amongst the Big Boys – you just had to be actively looking for them. That being said, based on the activity I saw at the smaller booths, buyers were very interested in seeing new brands, new products, and talking with new companies.
From what I saw at the show, I would also say that the smaller food companies and those that are independently owned appear to be the real innovators in the industry. Perhaps it’s because the Big Boys don’t want to spend money and jump on a trend until it’s proven it has staying power. However, it was the smaller manufacturers and producers who appear to be pushing the envelope with things like gluten-free sweet potato crackers and almond water (which were two fo the best things I tasted all weekend) and that’s really exciting to see.
There were three main things I took away from the show that I’ll share with you tomorrow and check back in the next few weeks for more in-depth articles from the show.