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2014-Food-Fete-Event-Schedule--Cover

Our 2014  schedule of media events has just been published, and is available for download at http://bit.ly/2014FFCalendar.

We’re building on our 2013 strategy of producing seasonal events every 2-3 months in New York City, in addition to our

annual west coast event in San Francisco each January.

This timing maps well to how PR agencies develop seasonal editorial pitches for their clients throughout the year, while creating multiple

opportunities for companies that introduce new products with varied frequency.

We’re also featuring only one themed event in 2014 — our Health & Wellness event in April — showcasing foods geared toward healthy eating, including the explosion of low glycemic and allergen/gluten-free foods introduced each year.

New “Restaurant Only” Food Fête

The restaurant business is changing, and to recognize that restaurants are stepping up their game to address the changing — and often healthier — food preferences of American consumers, we’re creating a brand new Food Fête event primarily for QSR and fast-casual restaurants wanting to show off their new menu creations to the national food press.

Scheduled for the spring, this event is being developed primarily for smaller restaurant chains, but is also open to independent eateries that are plugging into national food trends and want to tell the press about it.

“Best of Food Fête” Recognition

Each of our 2014 events will feature a new (albeit completely unscientific) scoring system for media attendees to rate their favorite exhibitor’s products. The exhibitor with the highest score receives a “Best of Food Fête” designation, with the second and third place finishers earning runner up status.

Food brands and their PR agencies interested in applying to exhibit ag any of our 201r events, can apply online at http://www.bit.ly/FoodFete2014App.

We’re excited to publish our 2013 event calendar, which includes some new events and a re-tooling of our long-standing San Francisco event.

Download the 2013 Food Fete Brochure here.

One notable change is that we’re producing four events in New York City next year — one per calendar quarter. Our thinking is that new products are continually introduced throughout the year, so why not make it possible for food brands and their agencies to take advantage of year round opportunities?

We’ve also created a new program for food start-ups, making it more affordable for them to participate in our events.  We have a special place in our hearts for the early-stage food entrepreneurs, and want to help them succeed by making media outreach more accessible via our events.

If you love chocolate as much as I do, then Food Fête Chocolat — our first press event devoted exclusively to premium chocolate — was the place to be last Thursday, Nov. 10 in New York City.

Having produced 17 Food Fête events since 2005, this one ranks in my top three personal favorites in terms of overall excitement, energy and engagement between the food press and chocolate brands. Not only was it a fun event to produce, it was rewarding to see unfold, prompting media to comment about the chocolatiers’ passion for their craft (making it very educational), with some media telling me it was one of their best chocolate event experiences.  I also observed a lot of note-taking at this event.

Fourteen exhibitors and about 85 food journalists and bloggers came together to share their knowledge and learn about all things chocolate (modern and even historical), some of the challenges facing cacao growers and, of course, sample lots of amazing chocolate bars, truffles and bonbons from around the world.

There was also no shortage of unique flavor combinations, with Madison Chocolatiers West’s black garlic truffle generating a lot of buzz. Lindt’s Excellence Intense Cranberry bar also created a nice chocolate and fruit combination for the holidays, though it’s available year-round. For the professional chocolatier as well as home confections enthusiast, Truffly Made showed their latest silicone truffle molds, which make truffle production a lot easier. David Lurie Sun Cups, which makes a line of organic, gluten-free and nut-free chocolate candies, had virtually nothing left on their table by the close of the event.  Not a bad way to end the evening.

There was far too much to comment on individually, but it’s safe to say that nothing failed to deliver.

Our 2011 Food Fête Chocolat exhibitors included:

Amano Artisan Chocolate
American Heritage Chocolate, Distributed by the Historic Division of Mars, Inc.
Chuao Chocolatier
David Lurie Sun Cups
Divine Chocolate
Fine Chocolate Industry Association
Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier
Gnosis Chocolate
Hotel Chocolat
KALLARI
Lindt
The Madison Chocolatiers West
Truffly Made, Inc.
Valrhona

An impressive roster of high-level food writers from top food and lifestyle media outlets were on hand, including All You, Bloomberg Businessweek, Brides, Dessert Professional, Epicurious.com, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Food Network, FoodNetwork.com, Food Network Magazine, Food & Wine Online, Grocery Headquarters, Health Magazine, Huffington Post, Martha Stewart Living, Men’s Health, O The Oprah Magazine, Prevention, TheNibble.com, Woman’s Day and Woman’s World, among others, plus an assortment of bloggers and freelance writers anxious to discover what’s new in chocolate.

As bloggers often do, some began sharing their experiences right away, which you can read below.  I’ll update this list as new posts and/or articles are published.

  • HeyDoYou.com (lots of great exhibitor photos in this post!)

Finally, here are some pics from the event (photos: Michael Harger, Jeff Davis)

The start of the fall season means planning time for 2012 PR and marketing programs, so I’m pleased to release our 2012 event schedule of media events.

Click here to download the 2012 Food Fete Brochure.

2011 was a record year for Food Fête on several fronts, so we’re keeping with the health-focused events launched earlier this year, with one slight modification. Our regular Winter and Summer Events in San Francisco and New York City, respectively, will continue, as will the Allergen-Free event and Food Fête Chocolat.

The main change for 2012 is the “Healthy Foods for Kids” event will become a broader “Health & Nutrition” event, encompassing not only healthy foods for kids, but also glycemic-friendly foods for diabetics and heart healthy foods, for example.  The goal is to make the event accessible to more brands that are launching new, healthier foods in 2012.

The online exhibitor application for all of our 2012 events is also up, and can be accessed at http://fs19.formsite.com/foodfete/FoodFeteApplication2012/.

Drop me a line at jeff@foodfete.com with any questions.

Our 2011 summer Food Fête event wrapped up last week — the seventh year we’ve brought together a select group of food, beverage and kitchenware companies to show off their newest products to the national food and lifestyle media.

I was extremely happy to see the strong media turnout, particularly the high quality of media outlets represented.  This was the first year Food Fête has not been held immediately after the summer Fancy Food Show, which I must say turned out to be an advantage, since the media seemed more energetic and enthusiastic, having not spent a full day on their feet at the Javits Center.

In attendance were 120 food writers and bloggers representing media outlets including All You, Allergic Girl, Bon Appetit, Brides, CBS Sunday Morning, Cool Hunting, Epicurious.com, Family circle, Fast Company, Fine Cooking, FIRST for Women, Food Network, FoodNetwork.com, Food Network Magazine, Food & Wine, Men’s Health, O, The Oprah Magazine, Oprah.com, Prevention, Real Simple, SELF, Weight Watchers Magazine, Woman’s Day and Woman’s World, among others.

For the complete list of exhibitors, visit our media page at www.foodfetepress.wordpress.com.  I also have begun a photo album on the Food Fête fan page at http://on.fb.me/l3CH6V.

Some early online coverage has started to emerge, which is posted below.  This list will be updated as I come across articles and posts, so check back for updates:

7 Years and Counting

It’s sometimes hard to wrap my head around the fact that Food Fête is seven years old.  Food Fête is the single longest “job” I’ve ever had, though I don’t look at it that way at all.

It’s more like a baby I’m still nurturing.

What started in 2005 as a curious idea about how to combine my PR background with a personal interest in food and the culinary arts, has grown into a mainstay event of the food PR industry. We’ve been fortunate to showcase products from many start-up brands alongside the major brands that occupy coveted supermarket shelf space. I’m also humbled by the level of national food media who continue to attend each year.

Yep, there have been some missteps. I’m still trying to forget the summer of 2007 when the venue’s air conditioning broke on a blistering July day, and all I did was apologize for two hours.  Then there’s the wannabe media “party crashers” who apparently will do almost anything to get in just for free stuff.  Ask me sometime about the guy we had to chase down the back stairs and onto the street after sneaking in and stealing a gift bag.

The good news is that lessons learned from these “incidents” have made the event better with each passing year, and I recognize there’s always more to learn.

In looking back at that first NY Food Fête event, we had 26 exhibitors. Today, that number has doubled, along with the media attendance.  My challenges continue to be how to keep things fresh, which I believe we’ve accomplished this spring with our new health-focused events and the new all-chocolate Food Fête coming up this November.

I’ve also been working on some “back burner” ideas that I’m ready to bring to the front in 2012, and hope the industry continues to respond favorably to what we do.

With our big summer media event in New York City just three weeks away, we’re on track for another record event. This is the first year we’ve not framed Food Fête around the Summer Fancy Food Show, which has moved to Washington, D.C. for the next two years.

That connection has become less and less important for Food Fête, as food brands and PR agencies continue to find value in what we do, and keep coming back, regardless of whether they are participating in that industry show.

They say a 7-year itch is when people begin re-evaluating their relationship. My 7-year relationship with Food Fête is just fine, thank you, but that’s not to say I’m not itching to keep creating something new and different.

Keep watching.

One of the benefits of running a small company is the ability to act quickly, which makes it possible for me to shake up our 2011 event roster a bit by adding a new media event this fall focused exclusively on chocolate.

Called Food Fête Chocolat, this new event, scheduled for Nov. 10, 2011 in New York City, gives chocolate companies a singularly-focused opportunity to present their newest and most luxurious creations to an invited group of national food editors and bloggers.  Having produced our Food Fête media events for seven years now, we know what chocolate brands and media want, and see a unique opportunity to deliver it.

A couple of years ago, I helped a former client (who owns a chocolate company) staff his table at a regional, consumer chocolate show. Within minutes, I was stunned by the non-stop flow of consumers stopping by his booth, clamoring for samples. This went on eight hours a day for two days — and this was a relatively small, regional show.

Given what I do for a living, I quickly realized that even if a member of the media stopped by, my client would hardly have a minute to talk to them.  Since I hate missed opportunities, it got me thinking about producing a chocolate-only Food Fête event that eliminates that consumer component, which from a purely PR perspective, is a distraction.

Though too late for the holiday long leads, the timing is perfect for short-lead and online press/bloggers looking for chocolate gifts for the holidays.  With Valentine’s Day and Easter not that far away in 2012, this event also will be good for long-lead media for those holidays.

We’re limiting this event to 20 chocolate companies, to further reinforce the intimate nature and relationship-building aspect of our events.  We want to give media the time to meet every exhibitor and experience their creations.

Chocolate companies and agencies with interested clients can get more information, including pricing, by downloading the Food Fête Chocolat brochure by clicking here, and may apply online at this link: http://bit.ly/FFChocolat2011App.

NOTE: This new Food Fête Chocolat event replaces the “Foods for Diabetics” event originally scheduled for October, which will be pushed back to 2012.

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