I’m very excited about what’s been keeping me busy for the past couple of months–namely, pulling together our 2011 event schedule, which I’m happy to announce includes three completely new events, each focused on a specific health issue.
Here’s a link to the official press release: http://pitch.pe/84484
Since 2005, Food Fête has produced two press events annually — one in January in San Francisco, and the other in June in NYC — each timed alongside that big trade show known for “fancy” foods (Disclaimer: Their lawyers prefer I refrain from mentioning their name). The one exception was last fall when I added a regional food event by taking a small collection of artisanal food products from Oregon to New York, which press attendees loved by the way.
That got me thinking.
Healthy eating and foods aimed at specific health conditions are flooding the pages of food magazines and blog posts, so maybe it’s time to create a platform for products that address specific health issues. So, that’s what we’re doing. While we’ll continue producing our annual January and June events next year, we’re adding three new health-focused events in New York City, which will showcase:
- food products for people with food allergies
- healthy foods for kids
- glycemic-friendly foods for diabetics
If you follow the specialty food industry, you probably already know the aforementioned food trade show is temporarily moving from New York City to Washington, D.C. in 2011 and 2012. Based on my informal research with NYC-based media who regularly attend our events, there’s a good chance many won’t make the trip to D.C. due to tight work schedules and travel budgets.
That’s why our flagship summer event will remain in New York City for 2011 and 2012. The San Francisco event is already scheduled for Monday, Jan. 17, 2011, and we’re still finalizing the date for the New York event in June. By the way, our January and June events will not be themed, and open to all product categories.
If you’ve done the math, that means Food Fête is producing five events in 2011.
A couple of other changes are also in store for next year, which I’m anticipating could get mixed reviews. First, we’re saying goodbye to the media gift bag as you’ve come to know it. We’re a very lean operation, and given our expansion plans, I must commit every resource to producing the most meaningful events possible. That means not spending time and manpower managing the logistics of receiving hundreds of cases of food products, then sorting and stuffing 175 bags in a matter of hours.
As Food Fête has grown, so have the challenges of creating the gift bag. This past summer, we even tried outsourcing the gift bag assembly to a fulfillment house. It sounded good on paper, but in trying to accommodate far too many exhibitors who missed the fulfillment shipping/delivery deadline, what should have been a time and resource-saver turned into, well, let’s just say the opposite of that.
I’m the first to recognize the sample distribution component of the gift bag is important to companies without the resources to do it themselves, so I am looking into alternatives that meet the same objectives, but without physically creating a bag.
For the past two summers, the gift bag has actually grown into two bags, which the media have commented are heavy and cumbersome to deal with as they leave our venue. We’re also attracting a growing number of perishable products at our events, which obviously cannot be added to the bag, so “schwag” gets substituted in their place — something I don’t want the gift bag to become.
On the positive side, exhibitors and their agencies will no longer have to deal with the cost and hassle of shipping cases of product, hoping it arrives on time and in tact — because sometimes it doesn’t.
We’re also eliminating the “Networking Level” participation option. We typically have only a few participate at that level each event, and after evaluating the pros and cons, I’ve decided it no longer supports our growth strategy. Since we’re eliminating the gift bag, the stand-alone, gift bag-only option is also gone.
My hope is all the positive changes will outweigh any perceived negative ones, and that everyone is looking forward to our new health focus in 2011. The media have already indicated they’ll support multiple themed events, so we’re anticipating a record year.
The 2011 event brochure will be available soon, at which time we’ll also be accepting applications for all of next year’s events.
Use the comments section to tell us what you think about our plans for 2011.
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