Whether you are a foodie or a food entrepreneur, it is always good to know about trends and products. In 2016, almost $130 billion in sales were recorded in the specialty food industry. Recently I attended the Specialty Food Business Summit and interviewed Phil Kafarakis, the new president of Specialty Food Association. He discusses the latest trends in the industry. How does pumpkin spice salsa sound?
It was inspiring to meet food entrepreneurs at the Specialty Food Business Summit, including beekeepers, a New Zealand peanut butter business owner, young restaurateurs who are creating a line of sauces, established chocolate makers and many other people who are all passionate about their products. A big takeaway is that the storyline impacts the bottom line. No matter what size a company is, it’s important to have an online presence that shares the story with consumers. As Kafarakis says, “The e-commerce component is a rapidly growing channel…It provides a great platform for a lot of our members to be able to get right to the consumer.”
Each summer and winter, Specialty Food Association features the Fancy Food Show in New York City and San Francisco. Last summer, I attended the convention. It’s a spectacular celebration of foods from the U.S. and from around the world. Chef Jerry James Stone discusses seasonality and the hot trend from that show.
Each year the Specialty Food Association recognizes outstanding products and innovations through the sofi Awards. These sofi Winners serve as ambassadors for the industry and represent the best of what specialty food has to offer. Specialty Food Association just announced this year’s winners.
Here are Phil Kafarakis’ three tips for the food entrepreneur:
- Don’t do it on your own. Get help. There is a Basics Course you can take as a member of Specialty Food Association.
- Surround yourself with community that understands what you are going through.
- Understand what you are getting into.
What is your favorite specialty food item?
Savor the day!