Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2017

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com/i/873281

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Page 26 of 107

association news Bacon Jam Wins Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition B lack Pepper Bacon Jam from TBJ Gourmet won over the hearts and taste buds of the panel of culinary judges at the Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition at the Summer Fancy Food Show. The versatile, spreadable product wowed the judges with its strong bacon flavor and its foodservice-friendly packaging to take the top prize in the competition, which was hosted by the Foodservice Council of the Specialty Food Association. "We make sweet, spreadable bacon," said Michael Oraschewsky, managing partner at TBJ, in making his presentation. The product features nitrate-free pork raised without antibiot- ics to produce a jam that is gluten-free, low-sodium, and low-fat, and distributed in a 67-ounce pouch for foodservice customers. The product beat out a cabbage-based relish called Slawsa from The Busha Group/Nicole Foods, and Tomato and White Sultana Chutney with Ginger and Garam Masala from Le Bon Magot. Black Pepper Bacon Jam also won as Fan Favorite in an on-site text poll conducted at the competition, in which representatives from the three companies were each given five minutes to pitch their products. The judging panel also tasted each product and after hearing the pitches, assigned scores for innovation, quality, and chef-appeal. As the winner, TBJ recieved a promotional prize package from the SFA including editorial coverage in Specialty Food Magazine, (see story on p. 52), Specialty Food News, and more. The judging panel included Maria Loi, restaurant owner and television chef; Henry Wainer, president and owner of Sid Wainer & Son; Tom Macrina, president of the American Culinary Federation; and Laura Granston, research and development manager at Kings Supermarkets and Balducci's Food Lover's Market.—M.H. FANCY FOOD SHOW ATTENDEES ADJUSTED TO NEW QUALIFICATION PROCESS S tricter registration requirements and increased fees for atten- dance at the Summer Fancy Food Show were mostly well- received by the specialty food community, according to those interviewed in June at the show. "It was a little harder to register, but it seemed that the show was easier to work because there weren't as many people taking up the time of the exhibitors," said Rich Wilson, owner of Cardullo's Gourmet Shoppe in Cambridge, Mass., who has been to several Fancy Food Shows. The new qualification process requires that buyers provide two forms of identification, one to demonstrate they are from a legitimate business in the trade and one to prove that they are connected to that company. In addition, attendance fees increased. The changes were made to better screen out those attendees who were not legitimately involved in influencing purchase decisions and to increase transparency around those who do attend, said Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association. "We have seen through our data that people are identifying their businesses more accurately," he added. The enhanced screening process impacted Thomas Gardner, food and beverage director at Jupiter Island Club. Because his company registered as Jupiter Island Holdings, it was classified as a business services provider rather than a retailer at first, which meant a higher attendance fee. He said he was able to resolve the issue by phone, however, and enjoyed a successful show. "It seems that we had a lot more time to talk to people this year," he said. The higher attendance fees were particularly felt by some busi- ness services providers. According to Theresa Steinkamp, a CPA at Cornerstone, which provides financial services for several SFA mem- bers, "It cost more for us to attend this year, so from that standpoint it is a little frustrating, but it is still worth it to come here to support our clients. Plus, it is amazing to see all these new brands." Exhibitors were mostly positive about the changes. Jacques Bergier, general manager of Leonidas Chocolates, an exhibitor at the show, said, "On the one hand, you like the buzz of activity but, on the other hand, it felt a little better to be able to spend more time with the trade." Likewise, Steven Soldinger, president of The Crispery, a maker of specialty rice marshmallow cakes, said the new qualification procedures have helped improve the interactions between exhibitors and buyers. "I think the traffic has been better qualified," he said. "In some years people have come by the booth, and you wonder, 'What are they doing here?'" Kafarakis of the SFA said that as the Association upgrades its technology, procedures, and overall structure, he expects that the more careful screening of attendees will help differentiate the Fancy Food Shows in the industry. "We believe this will be a member benefit and a differentiator for us as we improve the quality of attendees and grow as a community," he said. "This will springboard into a membership campaign to drive members, drive exhibitors, and other business-services providers." —Mark Hamstra 24 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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