By Lucas Witman
Returning to New York City’s renovated Jacob K. Javits Convention Center this year after a two-year stint in Washington, D.C., the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show exceeded all expectations, breaking records both for exhibit space and the number of attendees. The 59th Summer Fancy Food Show featured 2,500 exhibitors from the United States and around the world, presenting more than 180,000 specialty foods and beverages.
“It’s a great show for us,” said Lonnie Williard, Vice President of Marketing for Mediterranean Snacks. “I think that the amount of traffic was very strong. There was a solid flow of interested buyers and conversations throughout the couple days. It was a very productive show.”
At this year’s show, Mediterranean Snacks unveiled its new Tapaz 2 Go line, a collection of healthy, convenient, gluten-free, shelf stable and ready-to-eat mini meals in three varieties: classic hummus, roasted garlic and red pepper. Each Tapaz 2 Go package includes the company’s popular Lentil Crackers along with a substantial portion of hummus. Williard expressed her delight at how strongly the new product line was received at the show.
“We were just inundated with interest in Tapaz 2 Go mini meal solution. I think it’s because it’s shelf stable and doesn’t require the cost of a refrigerated supply chain,” Williard said. “The interest that we saw was from a very broad range.”
In addition to generally driving up interest in Tapaz 2 Go, the show and the conversations that took place during it were also productive for Mediterranean Snacks in helping the company think about how it will market the product line going forward. According to Williard, these conversations brought up marketing possibilities the company had not previously considered. She said, “[The show] definitely confirmed some of the ideas, and then on top of that it gave us some new ideas of where [Tapaz 2 Go] could be very well in demand—for instance in vending machines. We hadn’t thought of that. There’s a lot of entrepreneurial spirit here that takes it even further.”
Mary Waldner, founder of Mary’s Gone Crackers, expressed relief that the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show was so well attended, apparently signaling a return to form after the brief economic downturn she has observed over the past few years. “I thought it was really good. I know last year things really picked up from the slump in the industry. I thought this year really maintained that same energy and certainly had a high attendance,” she said.
Mary’s Gone Crackers offers a wide range of crackers, cookies, pretzels and crumbs—all organic, vegan and gluten-free. At this year’s show, the company unveiled two new cracker varieties: Super Seed and Hot’n Spicy Jalapeño. Waldner said that when she founded her company over a decade ago it was difficult to draw interest in the product line, but at this year’s show she saw an unprecedented reaction to her company from buyers.
“When we first started, there wasn’t much interest in organic or certainly gluten-free but now both of those categories are really huge,” Waldner said.
With companies like Mary’s Gone Crackers and Mediterranean Snacks so pleased with the reaction they received from attendees at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show, it was inevitable that brands which did not exhibit might regret the decision. That was certainly the case for Bhakti Chai, maker of gourmet chai tea and chai tea concentrate. The team at Bhakti Chai has been experiencing unprecedented interest in their company since receiving a 2013 sofi Gold Award at this year’s show, despite making the decision not to exhibit.
“We were all really taken off guard about the award,” said Allison Salvati, Marketing and Sales Director for Bhakti Chai. “It’s been fantastic. From a foodservice standpoint, we have people calling and saying, ‘Hey, you won this award can we get some free samples…’ It’s a great feather in our cap.”
Salvati continued, “We think we have an award-winning product. This is a huge accolade. We know we have a worthy enough product for an award like this. It’s a huge acknowledgment from the industry. We’re really thrilled. It helps our distribution so much.”
Bhakti Chai is a regular exhibitor at Winter Fancy Food on the West Coast, but does not exhibit at Summer Fancy Food, because they are not yet distributed on the East Coast. That could change, however, as the company’s distribution continues to spread across the country.
For many of the exhibitors who were present at the 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show in New York, there is little time to rest, as many are likely already making preliminary preparations for the upcoming 2014 Winter Fancy Food Show, to be held January 19-21 in San Francisco. In addition, the 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show has already been scheduled for June 29-July 1 in New York.
The 2013 Summer Fancy Food Show took over the Jacob Javits Center along New York’s 11th Avenue, and hometown favorite Seth Greenberg’s Authentic New York Brownie Crunch was there. This year, attendees from all over the country and all over the world came to see the latest, most delicious consumer food products available. Folks from as far away as Switzerland and Panama popped by the Brownie Crunch booth. In addition, American food professionals, including everyone from representatives for Kroger and Chicago’s Treasure Island to noted distributors, stopped by to sample the very best part of the brownie: the crispy edges. Everyone who visited the Brownie Crunch booth enjoyed the all-natural snack that is only 120 calories per 1-ounce serving.
At this year’s show, the company showcased its new Southwest Brownie Crunch, which brings together the flavor of rich chocolate with the spicy taste of peppers—just like the confections leading chocolatiers are creating. Greenberg enjoyed chatting with attendees about how Brownie Crunch is delicious paired with a glass of milk, but it also works well in more grown up flavor pairings. At the booth, the jalapeño Brownie Crunch was paired with a pinot noir, chile pepper with a zinfandel and chipotle with a cabernet. All three flavors were also tried with small-batch bourbon. The wines were chosen for their strong varietal identity. This was one of the hits of the show for the company, as the pairings wowed attendees. Many responded: “I’ve never thought of this kind of pairing.” In fact, many were so intrigued that they returned several times, trying different wine pairings and experiencing the bourbon pairing as well.
Seth Greenberg’s Authentic Brownie Crunch is 100 percent all-natural, kosher and made in the United States. The product is available in a variety of tempting flavors, including chocolate chip, mint chocolate chip, toffee caramel, orange and cinnamon cappuccino. To learn more, visit www.browniecrunch.com. Brownie Crunch: “It’s the brownie reinvented!”
Put together the perfect holiday food gift with Sticky Fingers scones and spreads. Whether you need a quick gift for a neighbor or you are looking for something fun and festive for friends and family, Sticky Fingers Bakeries has got you covered this holiday season. The company’s extensive line of all-natural scone mixes and spreads makes putting together the perfect gift easy.
“You can match scone mixes with our Northwest jams or English curds to create all sorts of fun combinations,” said Tom Owens, CEO of Sticky Fingers Bakeries. “There is definitely something for everyone.”
The company’s holiday line-up includes Pumpkin Spice, Pumpkin Cranberry, Peppermint Chocolate Chip and Spiced Egg Nog scone mixes. The festive scones pair perfectly with a fruit butter such as Pumpkin Spice or the Cranberry Orange Curd, creating a gift that will delight anyone.
The best part about Sticky Fingers Bakeries’ products is that they are all-natural and free of any artificial colors or flavors, preservatives and trans and saturated fats. From the real fruit pieces in the just-add water scone mixes to the fresh eggs (not frozen) in the fruit curds, Sticky Finger Bakeries uses only the best ingredients. You know what you are giving is quality.
For more information call 800.458.5826 or head to www.stickyfingersbakeries.com.