Trade Shows

Italy Sets Excellence trend at Winter Fancy Food Show

More qualified buyers and a redesigned business spaces will be the highlights at the 2019 edition of the San Francisco food show

Italian specialty food makers will showcase authentic, natural and innovative regional products at the Winter Fancy Food show, the largest specialty food trade events in North America, as organizers step up deal-making and educational opportunities for the top industry players. Italy has been for years the largest international exhibitor at the Fancy Food Shows organized by the Specialty Food Association (SFA) for the retail, foodservice, e-commerce and hospitality industries. Thanks to Universal Marketing, the exclusive partner of SFA for the Italian pavilion, and the government-backed Italian Trade Agency (ITA – ICE), a total of around 55 Italian exhibitors participate in the winter edition of the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco (January 13-15, 2019), the largest of its kind on the West Coast. A total of over 320 Italian companies join the summer edition in New York (June 23-25), which mostly caters to the East Coast.


The registration of qualified buyers at our upcoming SFA 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco is trending to be the highest it’s been in the last several years,” Specialty Food Association President Phil Kafarakis said. “Buyers from all supply channels of the food industry are looking forward to seeing, tasting and learning about the latest in global food innovation,” he said. Held at Moscone Center in San Francisco, the industry-only show will cover more than three and a half football fields of space – over 200,000 square feet. Attendees can expect a total 1,400 exhibitors showcasing 90,000 specialty food products at the show. “The Fancy Food Show is the foremost and largest food event in North America. It is the most important showcase for the specialty food companies and Italy has been, for tens of years now, the leading player in the international exhibitors’ arena at the show,” said Maurizio Forte, Director of the Italian Trade Agency in the US.


In a constant effort to boost business networking opportunities, the Italian pavilion will offer redesigned spaces to host meetings, as well as improved logistics and infrastructures, said Donato Cinelli, CEO of Universal Marketing. “Year after year, we are working to improve the presence of Italian companies at the show. We have reviewed the design of the booths, improved logistics, infrastructures and workstations, we have created spaces that are better suited for networking and daily working activities,” Cinelli said. As trade shows remain an essential business tool for exporters, the goal of the organizers is to make the winter and summer edition of the Fancy Food shows more and more interconnected. “In a hyper-digitized world, the ‘offline’ channel represented by one-to-one relations is crucial to understand how, where and why to invest in a product, a company, an initiative,” the CEO said.


The San Francisco event takes places amid encouraging predictions for exports of Italian food and beverage to the United States. According to estimates by the Italian Trade Agency in New York, in the first nine months of 2018, Italy maintained for the third year in a row a leading place among the world’s top exporting countries to the US. The total food and beverage value for January-September 2018 was 3.758 billion dollars, an increase of 9.8% over the same period of last year. Italy is the first ranked exporting country to the US for olive oil, cheese, pasta and mineral waters, and holds top spots in the export of wines (2nd place), meats (3rd place), baked goods (4th place).


The year 2019 will be very important for the Italian industry in the United States. The very positive data from 2018 are an excellent indicator for Italian products in the US to continue the growth trend that has been rising for years,” Cinelli said. A key ingredient of the success of Italian cuisine in the United States is the renewed appeal of the Mediterranean diet as younger generations of consumers look for natural, authentic, quality products. “With the popularity of the Mediterranean Diet by consumers, I encourage all Italian food manufacturers to showcase their newest products and be prepared to do serious business at this year’s Show!,SFA’s Kafarakis said in a friendly message to Italian companies. “I’m looking forward to seeing all of my Italian friends there as well as making new friendships…benvenuto a tutti voi !,Kafarakis said.

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