Discover DC: Washington DC, July 10-12, 2011

February 15, 2011

The Nation’s Premier Specialty Food & Beverage Marketplace is coming to Washington, DC and you’ve got to be there.

What makes the Fancy Food Show worth discovering?
• 180,000 specialty foods and beverages
• 2,500 exhibitors from 81+ countries
• 24,000 attendees from around the world
• Keynote Address & sofi Awards Red Carpet Ceremony
• Exclusive discounts for attendees: hotel, travel, restaurant, parking, attraction and more!

Learn more and register today at

Interested in Exhibiting? Get pricing and general exhibit information here.


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?
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

Roll out the red carpet for our new sofi video!

July 27, 2009

This year we gave our annual sofi Awards the star treatment they truly deserve. They’ve always been a highlight of the Summer Fancy Food Show, but we felt they deserved much more considering how important a sofi Award is for our members. So we staged our most glamorous Awards Ceremony ever. And we decided to capture the entire sofi process on video so we could try to capture the essence of the sofi Awards, the highest honor in the specialty food trade. sofi stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation.

The NASFT is typically very “hands on.” But this time we wanted to do it right. So we left our personal cameras to our family vacations, and brought in professional videographers, David Horvilleur and Patrick Sasso of Loop Seven in NYC.  Both are true “foodies” and they said this was a dream assignment. We engaged them right before the first phase of judging last spring at our offices on Wall Street. (sofi awards are open to members of the NASFT). The finalists are picked by a nine-member panel of specialty food experts who meet at our offices to evaluate all the submissions. Then to pick the gold winners, the finalists are judged by retailers and foodservice buyers at the Summer Fancy Food Show.

During the initial judging David and Patrick arrived ready to shoot. They interviewed several of the judges, who were great about taking a break from their huge task of tasting and evaulating close to 2,000 specialty foods and beverages. Our final video features these interviews, including with Julie Wyrick of Pier 1 Imports and Tim Calderone from Meijer in Minneapolis. Once the finalists were selected, the video team visited a few including Rick’s Picks, Sarabeth’s Kitchen and Gustiamo.

Then the big event was the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center last month. Loop Seven arrived ready to roll. They set up an interview room off of the huge show floor and interviewed 100+ exhibitors and shot 15 + hours of footage. They had two crews blanket the 316,000 square feet of exhibit space that was filled with was filled with 140,000 specialty foods and beverages from across the U.S. and 70-plus countries.

They captured everything from the final sofi judging (more than 260 retailers sampled 125 finalists across all 33 awards categories) to the dazzling red-carpet awards ceremony hosted by noted Boston chef Ming Tsai. Chef Tsai delivered an inspiring and in-the-know keynote address about taste and innovation. Then he announced the winner in each category, alongside NASFT president Ann Daw and Vice President Ron Tanner. The video crew was there to capture the excitement. The next morning, the last day of the 55th Summer Fancy Food Show, Loop Seven raced through the show to capture many of the gold winners at their booths, who were still dazzled by their gold wins.

Then Loop Seven got to work again. The team spent four full days reviewing the footage, and another five in the editing suite. The fruits of their labor is our first ever sofi Awards video. We hope you enjoy it. Please let us know what you think.

–Betsy Schwartz (, NASFT Creative Director