NEW YORK — Specialty food and beverage industry professionals from around the world gathered at the Specialty Food Association’s (SFA) 48th Winter Fancy Food Show, January 21-23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. More than 1,000 domestic and international companies across 40+ specialty food and beverage categories exhibited at the Show. In addition to makers and buyers, the show attracted industry affiliates, press, influencers, investors, and trendspotters.
“As the kick-off event of 2024, this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show gave us so much to be excited about. As always, the energy and passion from our exhibiting members was palpable. I particularly loved meeting with entrepreneurs in the incubator village and from the (included) cohort, one of whom won the Fancy Face-Off pitch competition,” said Bill Lynch, SFA President. “The Meet Suites on the Show Floor were buzzing with productive conversations, as were the interactive sessions at our Pavilion Pop-Ups. Thank you to all the SFA members who showcased the best in specialty products, to all the attendees who came to discover their next best-sellers, and to the SFA team for another incredible Show.”
Exhibitors and Attendees Love the Winter Fancy Food Show
“As expected, the show was well executed and extremely productive for us. We had the opportunity to sit with key partners as well as to meet new players in the specialty world. Plus, we loved the cheese-related presentations–very engaging and fun.” – Zoe Brickley, Director of Communications & E-Commerce, Jasper Hill Farm
“The Fancy Food Shows are always the most productive shows we attend and the 2024 Winter show was the best one yet. There was a plethora of high quality, serious buyers attending. It was the best show yet and we’re excited for the next one.” – Dina DiCenso, Co-Founder, RIND LLC
“This year’s Winter Fancy Food Show was an amazing showcase of the diversity and innovation in the specialty food space. We were able to connect with existing customers and encounter new opportunities for growth. And on top of all that it was a blast! A great event and time well spent!” – Chris Mattera, Culinary Innovation & Sales, North Country Smokehouse, LLC
“Winter Fancy Food Show was the perfect opportunity for an emerging brand like ourselves. We are absolutely thrilled to receive a ton of great feedback and network with other emerging brands that we can potentially collaborate with.” – Myles Powell, Co-Founder and CEO, Myles Comfort Foods
“The (included) and SFA Diversity Pavilion for BIPOC-founded brands was a huge highlight of the show that brought attention from key buyers for small up-and-coming brands. Between the new visibility and winning the Fancy Face-Off Pitch Slam competition, it was a very successful showcase for my business.” – Jocelyn Ramirez, Chef and Founder, Todo Verde
“The show presented the opportunity to see a variety of innovative items from around the world. I appreciated the forward thinking on the small business side and the representation of a diversity, equity and inclusion aisle.” – Cathy Strange, Ambassador of Food Culture, Whole Foods
“The backdrop of Las Vegas mixed with the energy of the New Year helps reinvigorate us as Buyers in January. The twinkling lights, architectural novelties, and the strong passion from the hospitality industry serves as extra inspiration when sourcing new products. It is also a great playground for us to reconnect with our favorite producers or distributors and debrief before heading into our next sales strategy. This year, I loved the community at the press office as well as in the key buyer’s lounge. The one thing that does not stay in Vegas is my imagination about showcasing brands after I fly back home.” – Summer Thompson, Senior Buyer, Market Hall Foods
“We were delighted to exhibit at the Winter Fancy Food Show this year, and we are already looking forward to this summer’s event. It is always a highlight for us to attend and have the opportunity to connect with several of our key buyers, media and partners. The Specialty Food Association has a longstanding reputation for driving the trends of the specialty food categories and spotlighting innovations – which is something we at The Republic of Tea are proud to support and be a part of.” – Kristina Tucker, Minister of Enlightenment and Commerce, The Republic Of Tea
“I would like to express our sincere appreciation for Japan being selected as the partner country at the 48th Winter Fancy Food Show. This was the first time for an Asian country, and it was a great honor. Approximately 100 Japanese-related exhibitors were taking part this year throughout the Japan Pavilion. Many unique Japanese foods; including those that were organic, gluten-free, and low-carb, were exhibited and we had a special booth dedicated to Japanese seafood. Also, Celebrated star chefs demonstrated classic and innovative seafood dishes using excellent Japanese ingredients, such as scallops. I am sure that many visitors had the opportunity to enjoy and sample Japanese ingredients. We hope that this Winter Fancy Food Show will lead to the further spread of Japanese food and the development of business between the United States and Japan.” – Takuro Wanami, Executive Director, JETRO Los Angeles
Winter Fancy Food Show Highlights
NEW NOW NEXT featured Startups (up and coming makers in business for less than a year and with under $1 million in sales) and Incubators+Accelerators.
Global Flavors: Canada, China, Italy, France, Greece, Morocco, Spain, and partner country, Japan.
Diversity Pavilion, with a nine-company cohort from (included): Barlow’s, Frescos Naturales, Funky Mello, Grumpy Ginger, Krack’d Snacks, Myles Comfort Foods, Sobo, Todo Verde, TUYYO.
Category-Specific Food and Beverage Pavilions: Plant-Based, Deli, Beverage, Bakery/Confectionery/Snacks & Sweets.
The Specialty Food Association Trendspotter Panel: 10 professionals from diverse areas of the culinary world scouted the show floor for the latest innovations. The panel consisted of Patsy Ramirez-Arroyo, food and sustainability consultant, PG Consulting Group, LLC; Jenn de la Vega, chef, stylist, cookbook author, trends expert, Randwiches; Jonathan Deutsch, professor and director, Drexel Food Lab; Jeanette Donnarumma, producer, cook, recipe developer/tester, food lover, content creator, party-planner; Sarah Lohman, culinary historian, author, and public speaker; Chef Clara Park, claraparkcooks.com, chef, teacher, consultant and writer; Wendy Robinson, program manager and senior buyer, Market Hall Foods; Kantha Shelke, Ph.D., CFS, IFT Fellow, Corvus Blue LLC; Cathy Strange, Ambassador of Food Culture, Whole Foods, V. Sheree Williams, publisher, Cuisine Noir, and founder, Global Food and Drink Initiative.
Specialty Food Association Junior Trendspotter Panel: UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hospitality under the guidance of Joseph Lema, Ph.D. Professor/Ph.D. Coordinator, Seyhmus Baloglu, Ph.D. Professor/Associate Dean of Research.
Fancy Face-Off Pitch Competition: Entrepreneurs representing four brands pitched their products to a panel of industry experts and audience members during this fast-paced competition. Todo Verde was crowned the Grand Prize winner by judges Gary FX LaMorte, Cathy Strange, and V. Sheree Williams, while Tilden Cocktails won Fan Favorite.
Pop Up Pavilions including the Confectionery, Snack, and Bakery Pavilion Pop Up: Fancy a Bite?, and the Beverage Pavilion Pop Up: Flights of Fancy invited attendees to go hands-on with interactive sessions focused on trends, food-focused holidays and events, and more.
Giving Back: At the end of the show, exhibitors continued their long tradition of giving back by donating tens of thousands of pounds of unopened meat, cheese, produce, confections, and snacks to Three Square. 23,784 pounds of food were donated.
About the Specialty Food Association
The Specialty Food Association (SFA) was founded in 1952 and is the not-for-profit trade association of the $194 billion specialty food industry. Representing more than 3,800 businesses worldwide, SFA champions industry participation and success for a diverse community of makers, buyers, importers, distributors, and service providers by developing resources, information, education, and events that celebrate innovation and inclusivity. SFA owns and operates the Fancy Food Shows—which are the largest specialty food industry events in North America—as well as the sofi™ Awards—which have honored excellence in specialty food and beverage annually since 1972. The SFA also produces the e-newsletter SFA News Daily, the Trendspotter Panel annual predictions and Fancy Food Show reports, the State of the Specialty Food Industry Report, Today’s Specialty Food Consumer research, and the Spill & Dish podcast. Find out more online and connect with SFA on Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok.