Happy Anniversary!

August 24, 2010

Congrats to these NASFT members celebrating big milestones as of July 1, 2010!

50-Year Member:

Byrd Cookie Company

25-Year Members:

Independent Can Company

Long Grove Confectionary Company

Good Groceries Company

Lynch Specialty Foods, Inc.

Sohn Manufacturing, Inc.

10-Year Members:

Panola Pepper Corporation

Rose Hill Enterprises, LLC

Anthony-Thomas Candy Company

Devine Foods, Inc.

Mama Lil’s Peppers

Art Mart Corporation

Howard Imprinting Machine Company

Screamin’ Mimi’s Salsa, Inc.

Superior Quality Foods, Inc.

Maple Leaf Cheesemakers, Inc.

Wald Imports, Ltd.

Arizona Pepper Products Company, Inc.

Mom ‘n Pops, Inc.

ESM Metro New York

Food For Thought, Inc.

Stone Silo Foods, Inc.

Los Chileros De Nuevo Mexico

Thomas Catanese and Company

Valley Fig Growers

Q&B Foods, Inc.

Sisters Gourmet, Inc.

Mrs. Prindable’s Handmade Confections

FAGE USA Dairy Industry, Inc.

That’s A Nice!

Ritrovo Italian Regional Foods, LLC

Tortuga Rum Cake Company, Ltd.

La Panzanella, LLC

Arturo’s Hot Flavors of Hawaii

5-Year Members:

Wholesome Sweeteners, Inc.

Aussie Crunch, LLC

Dominion & Grimm USA

Original Gourmet Food Company, Inc.

New Grass Bison Company

La Dolce Vita

Langford Foods

SaltWorks, Inc.

Casanova Wine Imports, LLC

Housewaresdirect, Inc.

Pastor Chuck Orchards, LLC

Savor California

Hint, Inc.

Oh Sugar, LLC

Wine-A-Rita, LLC

Celtic Passions

Tidewater Foods & Catering, LLC

Stella Cadente Olive Oil Company

Ariston Specialties, LLC

Rosa Mexicano Kitchen

Fresh Food Sales and Marketing

Ellie’s Country Delights, Inc.

ZT Packaging & Merchandising, Inc.

Dogswell

El Pinto Foods, LLC

Koeze Company

Sunshine International Foods, Inc.

Great Atlantic Trading, Inc.

Mishima Foods USA, Inc.

Kernel Season’s, LLC

Meyenberg Goat Milk Products

Mareblu Naturals

American Natural & Organic Spices

Brockmann’s Chocolate, Inc.

Creative Foods, Inc.

War Eagle Mill, Inc.

Marque Foods, Inc.

We are announcing this year’s 50-year and 25-year milestones today. http://bit.ly/domvUM

Congratulations to everyone!


Welcome to NASFT’s New Board Members and Officers

August 3, 2010

This week we announced the election of three new members to our Board of Directors. They are William (Pete) Booker III, Smithfield Specialty Foods Group; Natalie King, Stonewall Kitchen and Patricia Lobel, Avenue Gourmet. In addition, three incumbents were re-elected to the board for two-year terms: Matt Nielsen, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Inc., Ron Straci, Rao’s Specialty Foods, Inc., and Brad Van Dam, Marich Confectionary.

The following NASFT members were elected to serve as officers on the Board of Directors for the 2010-2012 term:

Trish Pohanka of European Imports, Ltd., will continue to serve on the board, as Past Chairperson. Tim Metzger of Metzger Specialty Brands, Inc., past chairperson for the last two years and a longtime board member, has ended his Board service. Ann Daw, president of the NASFT, said, “Tim has been an outstanding board member. He has brought special expertise and enthusiasm to his role and an unparalleled commitment to helping our members and the Association thrive.”

Also serving for two-year terms are:

We would like to thank Paula Lambert, The Mozzarella Co., Tanya Nueske, Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats, and Ed Peters, Peters Imports who will be ending their board service.


2010 Summer Fancy Food Show a Success!

July 28, 2010

Exhibit Space Sells Out

The 56th Summer Fancy Food Show on June 27 – 29, 2010, was a great success. Exhibit space at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City was sold out. This year’s show drew 23,304 verified attendees from across the U.S. and around the world. Attendance exceeded last year’s strong showing, which was the highest at any Fancy Food Show in the past decade.

The event is the largest marketplace for specialty foods and beverages in North America and this year was no exception: 2,400 exhibitors filled 331,000 square feet of exhibit space. More than 80 countries presented their latest specialties, best-in-class foods and beverages, and products at the forefront of emerging trends. To view a photo gallery of the show click here.

“We are extremely pleased with our great results. There’s no question that our show is the place to be for the top buyers and suppliers of specialty food,” said Ann Daw, president of the NASFT. “Next summer’s show in Washington, DC, is already drawing strong sales. Our industry is clearly moving forward.”

Check out the buzz

The social media sites for the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc., the show’s owner, are still busy with show news and reviews. Share your show experiences and learn what your industry colleagues are saying in our communities on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (NASFT Fancy Food Shows).

Show highlights included:

  • New Brands on the Shelf. This special pavilion presents tabletop displays with sampling
    from 37 participants in the NASFT’s Member Candidate program for newcomers
    to the industry.
  • Exhibitors from 80+ countries, and 41 international pavilions.
  • What’s New, What’s Hot! Showcases. This popular display featured hundreds of products representing the latest trends in natural and organics, gifts, and more, and opens two hours before the exhibit halls.
  • Social Media 101. The NASFT had 45 one-on-one consultations in the Exhibitor
    Lounge to help exhibitors brush up on the latest communications tools.
  • 253 first-time exhibitors.

In the Spotlight

The 56th Summer Fancy Food Show was a major media magnet. The show—and scores of exhibitor products–was featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS News and Martha Stewart Radio. There was also coverage in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Epicurious, and Condé Nast’s food site. More than 1,000 journalists attended the show from the U.S. and abroad. See coverage here.

Buyer Mix

The show draws top buyers from all major food channels. This year saw a significant jump in attendance from the foodservice sector, up an impressive 25 percent over last year. There was also a 13.5 percent increase in the number of buyers from natural and organic, specialty food retailers, supermarkets and mass merchants. Buying organizations in attendance at the show have a combined purchasing power in the billions of dollars.

Big Names

The show was a who’s who of top specialty food purveyors. Some of the most important names in retailing were there, including Whole Foods, Costco, Sysco, Kroger, Winn-Dixie, Harry & David, Alaska Air, Pinkberry, Raley’s, Restaurant Associates, Barnes & Noble, Zingerman’s, The Fresh Market, and hundreds of top regional and local retailers, distributors, and importers.

Matchmaking Program Takes Off

The NASFT arranged 2,000 one-on-one sessions between buyers and suppliers, up from 1,343 in 2009, including 111 private sessions. These meetings were set up by NASFT staff in the months before the show. Cracker Barrel, Whole Foods, Crate & Barrel, and Kings Super Market were among the 227 retail, foodservice and distribution companies that took part in the program. The sessions got great reviews.

“The interview sessions were perfectly orchestrated – right buyer, right product and we are starting to rollout with [new] stores next month. Thank you NASFT.”
– Jeremy Isenberg, President, Chex Finer Foods.

Big Draw from Around the World

Buyers from more than 95 countries flocked to New York for the show this year. The three-day event provides a great way to source the best foods and beverages the U.S. has to offer, plus great products from the more than 80 countries that showcased their wares. Attendees were from:

BELIZE
BERMUDA
BRAZIL
BULGARIA
CANADA
CAPE VERDE ISLANDS
CAYMAN ISLANDS
CHILE
CHINA
COLOMBIA
COSTA RICA
CROATIA
CYPRUS
CZECH REPUBLIC
DENMARK
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
ECUADOR
EGYPT
EL SALVADOR
ENGLAND
FRANCE
FRENCH POLYNESIA
GAMBIA
GERMANY
GREECE
GUATEMALA
GUYANA
HONDURAS
HONG KONG
ICELAND
INDIA
INDONESIA
IRAQ
IRELAND
ISRAEL
ITALY
JAMAICA
JAPAN
JORDAN
KUWAIT
LEBANON
LIBYA
MACEDONIA
MALAYSIA
MARTINIQUE
MEXICO
MONGOLIA
MOROCCO
NETHERLANDS
NEW ZEALAND
NIGERIA
NORTH KOREA
NORWAY
PAKISTAN
PALESTINE
PANAMA
PARAGUAY
PERU
PHILIPPINES
POLAND
PORTUGAL
RUSSIA
SAUDI ARABIA
SERBIA
SIERRA LEONE
SINGAPORE
SLOVENIA
SOUTH AFRICA
SOUTH KOREA
SPAIN
SRI LANKA
ST LUCIA
SWEDEN
SWITZERLAND
SYRIA
TAIWAN ROC
THAILAND
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO


sofi™ Awards Break Records

The 38th sofi Awards were a special highlight of the show. This year was the most competitive sofi contest ever. Members submitted 2,258 of their outstanding specialty foods and beverages across all 33 categories, up from the prior high of 2,091 in 2008. All 140 Silver Finalists were featured in a special showcase at the show. Gold Winners were selected by attendees at the show, who sampled and evaluated the finalists in a special judging room monitored by an outside accounting firm.

And the Winner Is….

The sofi Gold Winners were announced at a red-carpet ceremony at the show by Executive Chef Dan Barber, who is a leader in the artisanal food movement and well known for his restaurants, Blue Hill in New York City, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. The NASFT was honored to make a contribution to City Harvest in honor of Barber, in lieu of a speaking fee. City Harvest is the Fancy Food Show’s longtime charity of choice. The sofi Gold Winner for Outstanding New Product of 2010 is the South African Consulate for Rozendal Hibiscus Vinegar. View all 33 Gold Winners here.

Hunger for Knowledge

Education sessions at the show were packed. Attendance was up 15 percent above last year. The best-attended seminars were “Understanding Pricing for a Beginning Manufacturer” and “Taking Your Products to the Marketplace.” There were 20+ seminars, tasting sessions and tours, including presentations by industry experts on trends research and roundtables on trends in Kosher, Halal, and Sustainability.

Other seminars included:

  • How to Become a Media Darling
  • Pricing Your Gift Baskets with Profit and Goals
  • 7 Ways to Evaluate Your Product’s Branding and Packaging to Respond to Changing Markets
  • Tasting Terroir: The Skinny on Bean to Bar Origin Chocolate

Giving Back

For the 21st year, Fancy Food Show exhibitors made a major donation to City Harvest, a leading anti-hunger organization in New York City. Exhibitors donated 100,000 pounds of chocolate, cheese, olive oil, snacks and much more, enough to fill eight tractor trailers. The food was collected by 250 volunteers right after the exhibit halls closed, and deployed to 200 community food pantries and soup kitchens. One recipient, the Community Food Pantry of Highbridge, Bronx, N.Y., received 2,962 pounds of food. “As an agency that serves a mostly immigrant population, we were grateful to receive high quality food that is also culturally familiar to our clients. It was a real treat for them.” — Nurah Amat’ullah, Community Food Pantry of Highbridge.

Specialty Food Media: The Top Source for Industry News You Can Use

The NASFT’s media platforms were front and center at the show, including:

  • Specialty Food Media: The NASFT’s information source for the trade and the key
    vehicle to reach buying professionals across call channels. Providing total market
    access by connecting buyers and sellers year-round through a variety of food and
    beverage focused channels: Specialty Food Magazine, http://www.specialtyfood.com
    and Specialty Food News.
  • Foodspring.com: Connecting consumers to specialty foods. Foodspring.com offers the adventuresome food consumer an insider’s look at specialty foods and the people who make them.
  • Foodspring Network: Linking the world’s best specialty food sites. The Foodspring Network links NASFT member websites and foodspring.com
    to help them reach more consumers, simplify their marketing and save
    time and money while offering a professional online presence.

The Biggest Specialty Food Show In North America Says Hello To NYC!

June 28, 2010

The Summer Fancy Food Show is simply in a league of its own.

This morning we learned that our Business Builders 1-to-1 event yesterday saw a total of 425 meetings took place in the morning session and a startling 697 meetings happened in the afternoon.

That enables exhibitors to sit one on one with some of the most important foodservice buyers out there…with the possibility of creating instant relationships. Hence, it is one of our most important pieces of the show.

Today started our “Follow Us To DC” promotion. Simply by wearing this sticker, and getting found by someone on our staff, you could still win some great prizes likerestaurant gift cards, Spy packages donated by The Spy Store, Amtrak roundtrip tickets to DC and tickets to DC Metro Food Tour of Eastern Market.

Throughout the day, our educational seminars took people into the specialty food world in great depth and it is really a part of the show that you have to see, feel and discover to fully appreciate.

But the highlight of the day had to be the joy that was seen not only in each and every booth, but in the eyes of the foodservice people making as many contacts as they could. How wonderful that we have a show here that is so special for both the exhibitors AND for the foodservice buyers, retailers and distributors.

At 6pm, we took one of the many Shuttle buses up to 7th and 53rd street where we had the 2010 Fancy Food Show TweetUp. There we continued to have the press, buyers and distributors meeting with, connecting with and sharing with our exhibitors. And it was a lot of fun.

What a special day.

What a great show.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring….


Interview with Winter Fancy Food Show Trend Game winner, Eddi Marie of Beckles Candies

May 20, 2010

Q: Please tell us about your current job and what it entails. Tell us something about yourself and your lovely shop in Modesto, California.
A: We have owned and operated Beckles Candies and Gifts in Modesto, California, since December of 1988. For the most part, Jim and I oversee the daily operation of the shop, including  making and selecting products, packaging, and interacting with the customers. We have known some of them since they were children!  Although Jim is not at the shop every day, he is a very important part of the business and readily “on call!”  Our daughter worked with us during her teenage years, and still covers for us in emergencies.

Beckles is an old time candy shop, selling chocolates, our on-site-made fudge,  gourmet truffles, a variety of licorices and candy jar favorites, including a nice selection of sugar free products.  We like to shop for things we believe our customer will enjoy. Custom packages are prepared in any gift item or container the customer selects and we pre-package in traditional and non-traditional containers. We also enjoy helping corporate clients and special event planners meet their unique needs and successfully stay within their budgets.

Q: How did you become so knowledgeable of food trends coming into the Winter Show? What professional food related publications, blogs, etc. do you read regularly?
A: I’m not at all sure I am that knowledgeable! I do try to listen, pay attention to food trends, and generally be aware of what is going on in our area.  The California Central Valley is known for it’s agricultural success. Staying “green” and being self-sustaining are very important to us. Personally, I am quite health conscious, while still allowing myself the joys of treats, sweets, and special indulgences. 

Several trade publications come across my desk regularly and I always find interesting material in them. Reading printed matter I can hold in my hands is more my style than reading screens! Although, blogs and Internet information is sometimes handy, indeed!

Q: When you go out to eat—do you go to the same place or do you explore other cultures and types of restaurants?
A: We have long time favorites and are basically traditionalists.  However, new places must be investigated, and authentically prepared food of other cultures can be most interesting and even enlightening! I am more adventurous than Jim!

Q: What is your favorite type of food? Favorite meal/dish?
A: I like Salmon or Halibut, usually baked (sans oiliness)! Al dente steamed vegetables rank high on my list, as do fresh fruits and vegetables of most any kind. Southern barbecue, but not too spicy hot, is another favorite. And, of course great chocolate desserts!!! I use lots of nuts when preparing dishes and, although I like both, I go for weeks without eating beef or pork.

Q: How was your experience at the Winter Fancy Food Show? What was your favorite part?
A: Jim and I had a really good time. It was a quick, one-day trip from Modesto. I think our favorite part is anything that directly relates to our business, especially items we can almost link to specific customers. At times it becomes a game we play.

The displays were great,  the vendors were most cordial, the products were varied, and the attendees were enthusiastic. While conscious of the economic situation, people were not overwhelmed with gloom! We mentioned that en route home.

Q: Have you ever been to a Summer Fancy Food Show? If yes, what are the major differences between the Winter Show and Summer Show?
A: We have never attended the Summer Show, but we are excited!

Q: Do you have any tips to offer for attending/walking the show?
A: I go with a plan, or at least a list of items about which  folks have inquired or in which I have a particular interest.  We usually go for the “What’s new “area first,  then walk the rest of the show rooms. Some of the seminars would be helpful; however, we are always on a limited time schedule.

Q: What are you most excited about for the upcoming Summer Fancy Food Show in New York?
A:
It is a new adventure! I’ve been told it is bigger than the Winter Show. It will be interesting to see how some of the winter focused items are doing, how they may have been adapted, and what’s new!

Q: Are you on any social media? (Twitter, Facebook or do you have a blog?) Website?
A: We do have a Beckles website.  It is in a stage of reconstruction, but viewable.  You can find it at BecklesCandiesandGifts.com


sofi Bloopers, Blunders, and Random Notes

May 11, 2010

By Louise Kramer, NASFT Communications Director

We’re enjoying a moment of calm in the 38th sofi™ Awards contest before the next wave of entries starts pouring in for the last two awards: Outstanding New Product and Outstanding Product Line.

So far, a great panel of specialty food experts has selected 125 finalists in 31 Awards categories, from Outstanding Appetizer, Antipasto, Salsa and Dip to Outstanding Vinegar.  Finalists are listed at www.specialtyfood.com/sofi. The judges spent three very full days at our new offices in midtown Manhattan tasting and evaluating 1,570 entries, including a rather prodigious amount of the world’s finest chocolate, cheese, olive oil, cookies, pasta sauces, and so much more.

Actually, the judges tasted almost everything. They were not required to taste entries for “Outstanding Non-Food Specialty Item” – how could we make them bite into a refrigerator magnet or muffin tin??? – nor did they have to sample submissions for Outstanding Pet Food. So hats off to judge Gantt Bumstead, co-president of United Supermarkets! He actually tasted a dog biscuit. His review: delicious!

The 2010 sofi Team

It is great fun to tell our members that their products have been selected as finalists. After all, a sofi honor means lots of publicity, potential sales, industry kudos, and the glow of victory for friends, family, staff and colleagues.

Here’s how one finalist, Kari Ani Shiozawa, reacted. Her Bakers Basics Banana Bread Mix is a finalist for Outstanding USDA-Approved Organic Product. “It was a huge blessing for me and I cried. My husband cried too,” she told me. “This is such a huge accomplishment. When you work so hard to get someplace and you get that recognition, it is tremendous. I still cry sometimes.”

The less fun part for us here at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade is having the break the news to those hundreds of member companies who entered the contest but did not have their products selected as finalists. We totally “get it” that these awards are very important, and that our members put their heart and soul and money and dreams into making their great products. For many, a sofi makes it all seem worth it.

Here are some bloopers: One of our sofi staffers dropped a ketchup entry en route to the judging for “Outstanding Cooking Sauce or Flavor Enhancer,” and boy did it make a mess. And all the judges saw it.

A mini blooper: when it was time for the judges to taste and evaluate the 110 entries for Outstanding Chocolate—one of my favorite categories!–we realized that many of the packages were not opened. Time is of the essence during sofi judging. So we put out an all points bulletin to the entire NASFT staff (in the form of me running around begging for help while trying to look calm and professional). Special thanks to: Mary Jacobsen, executive administrator and Bill Lynch, senior director, membership and exhibitions, for jumping in.

Many thanks to our Part 1 judges, most of whom are pictured here: Sue Bicksler Taub, Holbrook Cottage, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.; Gantt Bumstead, United Texas, Lubbock, Texas; Mustafa Coskun and Robert Rosa, Garden of Eden Marketplace, New York, N.Y.; Patrick Crowl, Woodstock Farmers’ Market, Woodstock, Vt.; Franck Deletrain, John O’Neil and Lou Piuggi, Patina Group, New York, N.Y.; Faye Greenberg, Winn-Dixie, Jacksonville, Fla.; Madeline Romo, Savor the Flavor, Sierra Madre, Calif.; Lordes Reynoso, Institute of Culinary Education, New York, N.Y.; Celia Barbour and Rachel Mount, O, The Oprah Magazine, New York, N.Y.

Today, the sofi shelves are empty. The sofi team is wrapping up some important work. This week I am taking three days off to rejuvenate before sofi, Part Deux. Part 2 entry forms and information were mailed to NASFT members last week. Forms are also posted at www.specialtyfood.com/sofi.

Don’t forget to read the FAQ’s online. Questions? Email us at sofiawards@nasft.org.

And finally, thanks to all NASFT members who have entered so far this year, and for making it a great competition.


EDITOR’S LETTER: What sofi ™ is Telling Us About Trends

May 6, 2010

By Denise Purcell, Editor of Specialty Food Magazine

Following is Denise Purcell’s editor’s letter, which first appeared in the recent May issue of Specialty Food Magazine. It highlights trends spotted at the recent sofi Awards Finalist competition, Part 1.

The start of the annual sofi ™ Awards competition is unfolding around me as I write this. All week, hundreds of boxes have been arriving at the NASFT offices, and thousands of products are being unpacked and carefully sorted by the core sofi team, led by Communications Director Louise Kramer. I’m passing shelves of products every time I head to the kitchen or supply room, which is providing me the ideal opportunity to take a front line peek at what all those submissions are saying about industry trends.

As I was getting started, Project Manager Marilyn O’Hara and Project Consultant Fran Curiazza, two members of the team who were opening and logging every entry, were happy to chime in with their own trend-spotting—lots of products with honey and figs. They are absolutely right. These, like many other themes I spotted on the shelves, are on target with larger industry trends that have been recently identified through NASFT and Mintel International.

In case you missed it, in March, NASFT co-hosted a webinar with Mintel that revealed several overarching trends, including those a panel of food journalists identified as the top trends at the Winter Fancy Food Show (you can read more under the March 2010 issue in Food Trends or visit specialtyfood’s Knowledge Center to download the webinar.)


Here, in no particular order, are several industry trends that are supported by what we’re seeing in sofi entries.

Grown-Up Treats: Savory and sweet snacks with sophisticated flavor profiles:

• Candied walnuts

• Curry or fig flavored crackers

• Prickly pear dried snacks

• Honey Roasted Ham and Cranberry potato chips


Simple Made Special:
This is especially prevalent in nostalgic candies and treats such as toffee, caramels and marshmallows that are being updated:

• Marshmallows in flavors like Pistachio, Coffee and Toasted Coconut

• Sesame toffee

• Caramels in flavors like Carrot Cake


Good-for-You Foods:
Healthful twists including gluten-free, sugar-free, high fiber and antioxidants:

• Baked lentil and falafel chips

• Gluten-free sugar cookie mix and brownie mix made with stevia

• Raspberry Rooibos chocolate


Latest Flavors:
Many of these were spotted at the Fancy Food Show, by

the Food Trend panel as well as the editors of Specialty Food Magazine who tweeted from the Show floor at twitter.com/nasft. Coconut, bacon, maple, cherry, walnut, lime, honey—all hot. Here’s a sampling:

• Cherry Merlot Wine ice cream

• Coconut popcorn

• Maple Bacon pretzels

• Plantain chips with lime

• Salsa with cherry and peri-peri

• Carob seed honey from Morocco

• Walnut vinegar

The sofi Award submissions are telling us a lot already and at presstime packages were still arriving for the 31 categories in Part 1 of the competition. Like the rest of the trade, I’ll eagerly await what the full breadth of entries and judges’ picks ultimately reveal about the industry’s best foods and beverages.