Thursday, July 11, 2013

PA at the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show

Posted by Tina Weyant

The 59th annual Summer Fancy Food Show was held from June 30th through July 2nd  at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  The world-famous trade show for the specialty food industry featured over 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries and regions.   The sold-out exhibit halls drew close to 24,000 buyers from across the U.S. and around the world. 

The World Trade Center Harrisburg again partnered with Pennsylvania's Center for Trade Development in organizing a Pennsylvania Pavilion at the show, which was funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.   

The Pennsylvania State Pavilion highlighted 13 Pennsylvanian specialty food companies:

Getting ready for the show to start!

The "PA Team" included Janet Kolokithas from the State's Center for Trade Development and Noelle Long from SEDA-COG.  We arrived two days before the show started to set up the PA booth and help other Pavilion companies with last minute details. 

Noelle, Janet and Tina

Unlike last year, we did have a "Pennsylvania" booth and our "state pavilion" was enhanced with Pennsylvania flags at each of our participant's booths, to give our section a more uniform look.

Unloading PA exhibit
materials at the Javits Center
Watching for forklifts...
Assembling the PA flagpoles

Our booth happened to be in the back corner, next to a white tiled wall that needed some enhancements.  We were thinking plants would do the trick.   A kind lady at the trade show "help" desk, suggested we visit the wholesale flower section in New York City to get reasonably priced plants...which we did. We even found a taxi diver willing to transport us - and the plants - back to the Javits Center.

Janet in the cab
Enhanced wall space

The show kicked off with a Saturday evening reception that included a surprise live performance by Broadway actors who sang  "Les Digestables".   Janet's comment was simply "Only in New York!!" 

You can see the performance by following this link.

At 10:00 am on Sunday morning, the Fancy Food Show opened to visitors, and it was packed all day, every day of the show.  We took turns staffing the booth, visiting the other PA companies and meeting with partner organizations from other states and countries.  And of course we sampled amazing foods!

Our state was well represented at the Fancy Food Show, with a total of 55 PA specialty food manufacturers exhibiting their products. 

The Specialty Food Association had organized 15 educational seminars during the course of the show.  The GMO Labeling Seminar, which all three of us attended, actually featured  Brad’s Raw Foods (Pipersville, PA) as one of the examples.  

The annual Sofi Awards Gala was held Monday evening.  This event recognizes the year's most innovative products and two PA companies were among the winners:
Shady Maple Farm Market (East Earl, PA) was recognized as an Outstanding Retailer during  the Gala and Jin+Ja Drink (Philadelphia, PA) took home the gold Sofi award in the Cold Beverage category.

Another Pennsylvania Fancy Food Show exhibitor, Letterman Enterprises (State College, PA), creator and manufacturer of SpiceCream was interviewed at the show by Fox News.

The show attracted many foreign buyers, including several international buying delegations.  A group of Chinese buyers had pre-arranged meetings with our pavilion exhibitors.

Giorgio Foods offers samples to a Chinese delegation

Hannah and Jan took the train to New York City on Monday and had the opportunity to see (and taste) the Fancy Food Show firsthand:

When the trade show was finally over and everyone packed up to go home, over 200,000 pounds of leftover food was donated to City Harvest, a non-profit organization in New York City that “rescues” food and delivers it to hungry citizens.

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