Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC Reports Double-Digit Growth in Exhibiting Companies and Registrations 

July 31, 2023

The Specialty Food Association's (SFA) 67th Summer Fancy Food Show, held June 25-27 at the Javits Center in New York, drew more than 30,000 professionals from the specialty food and beverage industry. The sold-out event marked a 20% increase in registration compared to 2022, with significant growth in all key buyer categories, including a 21% rise in retailers, a 20% surge in food service professionals, and a 12% jump in distributors. 

Recognized as one of the largest specialty food industry gatherings in North America, the Summer Fancy Food Show drew more than 2,200 companies covering nearly 300,000 square feet of floor space — an increase of 23% year-over-year. Exhibitors from around the globe showcased their offerings across more than 40 specialty food and beverage categories. The event attracted not only makers and buyers but also press, influencers, investors and trendspotters.

According to the 2023-24 State of the Specialty Food Industry Report, sales of specialty foods and beverages are projected to reach $207 billion in 2023. Specialty products now account for nearly 22% of food sales, a significant increase from less than 14% a decade ago.

"As a not-for-profit membership trade association, the Specialty Food Association organizes the Fancy Food Shows to support the growth of the specialty food industry," said SFA President Bill Lynch. "These shows offer a unique opportunity for attendees to explore the incredible breadth of specialty products available today. The Summer Fancy Food Show was a testament to the innovation and trendsetting nature of specialty food and beverage makers."

SFA Senior VP, Marketing & Communications Leana Salamah told ENN/TSNN:Being new to the SFA, I was delighted to see the positivity and resilience of the specialty food industry after some of the recent years' setbacks. This is an entrepreneurial industry that forges ahead in the face of challenge, and that looks to trade shows as the single best way to introduce a new product — or even test a new idea.”

She added, “For the second post-Covid year in a row, registrations are taking place later in the cycle than they did pre-Covid. This does not appear to be a 2022 immediate post-Covid phenomenon, rather a possible new normal.”

Exhibitor Experience 

Summer Fancy Food Show 2023

Numerous exhibitors expressed their satisfaction with the Summer Fancy Food Show and highlighted the positive impact it had on their businesses. Aman Blana, founder of Growee Foods, a collective for BIPOC CPG founders, emphasized the support provided to diverse founders by the SFA.

"It was so refreshing to see attendees loving our products for the clean label ingredients and our focus on uplifting the goodness of actual fruits and veggies," Blana said. 

Julie Busha, founder of Slawsa, appreciated the connections and exchange of strategies at the event. 

"Beyond the impact of the all-important sales and publicity for our small business, the connections and selfless exchange of strategies, referrals, and insights also make a difference to our bottom line," Busha said.

Other exhibitors, such as Zachary Farber, director of consumer packaged goods at Mighty Quinn's Barbeque, expressed their satisfaction with the event's organization and the business opportunities it generated. Karl Franz Williams, founder of Uncle Waithley's, praised the energy and excitement at the show and the valuable connections made. 

Brandon Gross, vice president, marketing at FOODMatch + Divina, highlighted the show as a cornerstone of their trade and corporate marketing plan. Gary Mac Herring, Jr., founder and CEO of Mary Mack's, was pleased with their success at the show and confirmed their intention to participate in future editions. Adam Kobren, president of BobbySue's Nuts, commended the influx of qualified leads and the SFA's efforts in attracting the right buyers.

Show Highlights 

The event featured a keynote session by celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, who discussed emerging trends in the food industry. She highlighted the rising demand for at-home culinary experiences, product sourcing strategies and the significance of clean ingredients and minimal processing.

Giada Lorentis at Summer Fancy Food Show

The Summer Fancy Food Show showcased startup companies and incubators/accelerators, including Oregon State University Food Innovation Center, FoodFuture Co, Hudson Kitchen, CommonWealth Kitchen, Rutgers Food Innovation Center, The Hatchery and Cornell AgriTech.

The sofi Awards recognized outstanding specialty foods and beverages in 53 product categories. The winners of the 2023 sofi Awards for New Product of the Year and Product of the Year were Mochidoki Vegan Passionfruit Mochi Ice Cream and Lewis Road Creamery 10 Star Certified Salted Butter, respectively.

International pavilions featured exhibitors from more than 35 countries and regions worldwide, showcasing global flavors and culinary traditions.

The show also included a Diversity Pavilion, featuring BIPOC-led and founded companies, as well as category-specific food and beverage Pavilions, such as Bakery, Confectionery, Snacks, & Sweets, Beverages, Deli, Olive Oil (Extra Virgin Alliance), and Plant-Based.

SFA honored individuals in the industry through the Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony. Additionally, the association's Trendspotter Panel scouted the show floor for the latest innovations, and a Junior Trendspotter Panel provided a Gen Z perspective.

Other highlights included a pitch slam competition called Naturally New York, where entrepreneurs presented their products to industry experts, and the exhibitors' tradition of donating tens of thousands of pounds of food to City Harvest to support hungry New Yorkers.

Giving Back

At the close of the Summer Fancy Food Show, City Harvest volunteers rescued 94,600 pounds of food from exhibitors — enough to feed more than 31,530 New York families in need. The food was delivered to its partner food pantries, including Children of the Light in Brooklyn, Vision Urbana Food Pantry in Manhattan and GNYC Adventist Community Service in the Bronx.

What’s next

The upcoming editions of the Fancy Food Show include the 2024 Winter Fancy Food Show, scheduled for Jan. 21-23 in Las Vegas, and the 2024 Summer Fancy Food Show, taking place June 23-25 in New York.

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