Summer Fancy Food Show 2015: The Evolution of the Haul
JFG Nation, I’m back. Back in DC, back to reality, back to…well, how my life was before my 20,000+ calories weekend. I’ll be blogging about my experience traveling to NYC, my tradition of eating only pizza, and attending the Summer Fancy Food Show 2015 over the next few days. Whenever a trip like this happens, I come home sore, tired, exhausted, with an iPhone full of photos and a bag full of goodies.
For anyone who didn’t know and who has been commenting about wanting to go to the Summer Fancy Food Show, let me do the 30-second spiel: Basically, the Summer Fancy Food Show is a trade show for the food industry. The vendors there are the food makers: big and small, from Fage Yogurt and Jelly Belly, to tiny vendors with no profit and only a dream. The people walking around? Sellers: people from catalogs, wholesalers, Costco, Whole Foods, etc. etc. etc. The idea? The vendors wanna put their goods on display in hopes of Match.com-ing with a big time seller. And me? Well, I’m “press,” covering the event, tweeting about it, generating buzz, etc. There was a lot of industry magazines, blogs, news outlets walking around talking about the show.
But back to the overall picture – it’s a trade show. The reason it’s not open to the public? Because the purpose is beyond just getting the word out to a few thousand consumers – the vendors wanna get their products into a few thousand STORES, so they can get the world out to MILLIONS of consumers. The stakes are sort of high, because you have to PAY (as a vendor) to be AT the show. You shell out some registration fees, as a gamble, hoping the exposure nets you a big fish like Bed Bath and Beyond or Kroger.
Of course, that doesn’t stop people of all walks, sellers, vendors, and media, from milling about, booth to booth, snagging samples from everyone else. The procurement of samples for chowing on later is an art form in and of itself. Over the past four years, I’ve learned SOOO many lessons.
When I attended my first Summer Fancy Food Show in 2012, it was here in DC (the NYC locale was being renovated). I was a rookie, so I’d go up and listen to every single spiel, every single pitch. I would nod along mindlessly, only thinking, “gimme the sample gimme the sample.” I admit, it was a rookie move, and it not only wasted my time, but theirs too. Still, because it was in DC, I was willing to carry much more, and netted a HUGE haul:
Day 3 at the Summer Fancy Food Show is often “GET RID OF ALL THIS SH*T” day, as vendors do NOT want to crate home hundreds of bottles of drinks, or boxes of chips. That stuff gets mailed ahead when these vendors arrive, but when they leave they want NOOOOO part of it. Hence why I ended up with a billion jars of sauce that year.
Summer Fancy Food Show 2013 was a different experience. It was back in NYC, and I was aware that I couldn’t carry very much with me home – everything adds up and some of this crap is heavy. Plus, I learned my mistakes from the year prior – I got better at only engaging those companies I was interested in, and only taking things I wanted. No longer would a random bin of chips excite me – that’s wasted backpack space. It had to be GOOD:
I tightened my game even more during the Summer Fancy Food Show 2014 – like a baseball pitcher, my third year in the Big Show was my “hit-my-stride” year. Now, I didn’t even WANT to take samples – I wanted to make connections with companies and have them just send me stuff that I would profile or review later. It wasn’t about carrying stuff; it was all about making relationships.
Still, that didn’t stop me from snagging some favorites. I was surprised at how much I still ended up with, considering I didn’t have the JFGal with me to help camel this stuff home:
Finally, this year, I felt like a five-tool athlete. I knew what I wanted, who I wanted it from, and I wasn’t shy. YOU. YOU’RE PRODUCT IS GOOD. I WRITE BLOG. LET’S HAVE YOUR PEOPLE CALL MY PEOPLE. AND SEND ME STUFF. That was the gist.
And this was all that both me AND the JFGal grabbed this year. This is it – between TWO PEOPLE. VERY conservative haul. But a TON of relationships made, and lots of exciting things to discuss in the future:
Damn you, Brownie Brittle – how did so many of your items end up in my bag? I mean, you’re basically forcing me to eat you. Well, ok…. *tears open bag and wolfs down brittle loudly*
So there you go – a little preview of what happened this year at the Summer Fancy Food Show 2015. It truly was an event. Now if you’ll excuse me… *tears open another bag of Brownie Brittle….*
Junk Food Guy