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Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

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.

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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.

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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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(UPDATED 3/30/11)

NOTE: Some early blog coverage has already been posted, and I’ll keep updating this list as I find event round-ups or coverage of specific products.

MyLifeOnandOffTheGuestList: http://bit.ly/dEhLNi
GlutenFreeMike.com: http://bit.ly/gVefqE
Gluten-Free Fun: http://bit.ly/gpxur6
HeyDoYou.com: http://heydoyou.com/food-fete
Refresh (Supermarket News blog) http://bit.ly/fDAt88
Kafi Drexel of NY1 News (via Facebook): http://on.fb.me/f74BNc
Brooklyn Allergy Mom: http://bit.ly/gAZWbJ

The first of our new health-focused Food Fête events took place last night in New York City, focusing exclusively on allergen-free foods.

Allergies and intolerances to foods that contain gluten, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy (and more) affect a growing number of Americans who are always on the lookout for foods they can safely eat. The idea behind this event was to bring together a collection of such products to help educate writers and bring attention to a food-related health issue that doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

Given the product niche, this Food Fête was more intimate than most of our events — showcasing products from 14 companies. Dominating the product offering were a variety of gluten-free baked goods including cookies, breads and snacks. Pasta Prima introduced two very delicious raviolis, the first gluten-free ravioli to hit the market.

A few companies, including Chobani Greek Yogurt and Lucini Italia, focused new attention on existing products that are naturally gluten-free, giving allergy-sensitive consumers options they might not have otherwise considered, given these products are not specifically marketed to people with Celiac disease.

The National Peanut Board, which at first glance might raise some eyebrows as to why they’d be included among a collection of allergen-free foods, delivered the message that while some experience peanut allergies, peanuts and products made from peanut flour are gluten-free and widely consumed by Celiacs.  Finally, General Mills was on hand not only to promote their line of gluten-free cereals and snack foods, they recently launched GlutenFreely.com to provide consumer education on living with Celiac disease.

Profiles of all the participating companies can be found at www.foodfetepress.wordpress.com.

More than 40 food writers and bloggers interested in this specific product category were treated to some totally new products from companies they had not heard of as well as those from several familiar brands.  Food blogger and author Sloane Miller (a.k.a. Allergic Girl) also signed complementary copies of her new book “Allergic Girl,” set to hit stores in a week or so.

I’d like to extend a huge thanks to the participating companies and all the writers who came out last night.

Next up for us is our “Healthy Foods for Kids” press event on April 28 in New York.

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UPDATED (see new links to media/blog coverage below.)

Food Fête kicked off its seventh year on Monday, Jan. 17 in San Francisco with our annual West Coast media event.

It was our largest West Coast event in terms of exhibitors (26), with media attendance around 55 food writers and food bloggers.

Click here for the list of our exhibitors and their profiles.

Not surprisingly, dairy products continued to be well represented with 8 companies on hand including Tillamook Cheese, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, California Milk Advisory Board, Emmi Roth USA, BelGioioso Cheese, Chobani Greek Yogurt and Organic Valley.  I, fortunately, am not lactose intolerant, so…

I was glad to see some familiar faces among the media attendees including Amy Sherman (Cooking with Amy/BlackboardEats.com); Joanne Weir (JoanneWeir.com plus her numerous television cooking programs), Jolene Thym representing the Oakland Tribune and her ThePickyEater blog; Anna Wolfe from The Gourmet Retailer, Betty Teller (Napa Valley Register),  Jill Nussinow (TheVeggie Queen) and Richard Turcsik from Grocery Headquarters, among others.

Jane Maynard, one of our first-time blogger attendees, wins the prize for being the first to post her round-up of Food Fete and the Fancy Food Show.

UPDATE: Here are some additional posts:

I’ll continue to post links to coverage resulting from Food Fête here in the coming weeks and months.

We’re now shifting gears to our next two events, both taking place over the next  three months, and in New York City.  On March 1, we’re bringing together a collection of special products for the “Food for People with Food Allergies” event.  The “Healthy Foods for Kids” event takes place on April 25.

Here’s the link to the online application for all of our 2011 events: http://www.bit.ly/foodfete2011.

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It has been so long since I posted here, it’s almost embarrassing.  But a lot of good things have been happening over the past few months to keep me busy.

A quick recap.

We partnered with BlogHer to produce a special Food Fête event during their 2nd annual BlogHer Food Conference in October in San Francisco.  It was a big success with more than 230 food bloggers — all BlogHer Food conference attendees — stopping by to see new products and mingle with food producers.

Next, our regular winter Food Fête event, scheduled for January 17 in San Francisco, officially sold out yesterday, marking the earliest we’ve ever hit that milestone.  In fact, we’re already pre-selling exhibitor tables for some of the new health-focused events coming in 2011, which is also very encouraging.

Read all about our event plans for 2011 here.

So, what does all this tell me?

Food Fête, which turns seven in 2011, has been very fortunate to have not been negatively affected by the tough economy of the past couple of years.  In fact, our business has never been stronger, experiencing year-to-year growth.  I see this trend continuing into 2011, as evidenced by the early interest among food companies already contracted to participate in our events next year — some of which are more than six months away.

I’ve said this before, but I am continually humbled by how the specialty food industry, public relations agencies and the food media have supported Food Fête. We continually strive to create better events by learning from our mistakes, staying on top of what’s happening in the industry and operating our business from a position of integrity and delivering value.

Keep up with our progress by following us on Twitter at @foodfete and “like” our Facebook page.

Happy holidays!

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(UPDATE 9/27/10: We’re offering a $250 “early bird” discount off the exhibitor fee at our San Francisco event. Deadline to qualify is Nov. 15)

I announced our 2011 event plans a couple of weeks ago (see press release), which involve producing a total of five media events, three which are brand new and have a specific health focus. Four of the five events next year also will be held in New York City.

The brochure with information on each event is now ready for download by clicking here. Pricing and tentative dates are also included.

We’re now accepting exhibitor applications for all of our 2011 events. A single exhibitor application can be accessed at http://bit.ly/foodfete2011.

Favorable comments and feedback from the food press and PR agencies indicate we’re headed in the right direction, so I’m personally very excited about lies ahead.

I hope you are too.

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