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Posts Tagged ‘Food PR’

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:

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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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(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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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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Our sixth annual Food Fête media event in New York City is just over a week away, and it’s simply going to be our biggest and best ever. I’m so proud of how this event has become a permanent “pin drop” on the map of must-attend food events.

We have a room-busting 53 companies on hand this summer to exhibit new products they’ve been working on this year.

I’m particularly excited to say that a good number of products are making their media debut at Food Fête — always a personal goal that makes our event as meaningful as possible for the press.

Speaking of press, we currently have 180+ planning to attend — another record.  More importantly, some of the industry’s most respected food writers are on the list.

Interest among food editors and bloggers has been so strong that for the first time, we won’t be accepting on-site media registrations — a tough spot for someone in my position to find themselves.

Here’s just a sampling of what’s in store:

  • Lots of dairy and cheese
  • Chocolate and chocolate-based products
  • Sustainability-focused meats
  • Healthy snack foods
  • Gluten-free foods
  • Functional beverages
  • Regional, artisanal vodka
  • Boutique wines from Washington state
  • Inspired kitchen wares with innovative functionality
  • New twists on old classics
  • Ingredient-based products
  • Premium sauces
  • Convenience foods for the home cook
  • Non-dairy (but dairy-inspired) foods
  • Energy/nutrition bars
  • Fruit spreads
  • Soft drinks
  • Foods with eco-friendy packaging
  • Indulgence foods
  • …and more!

Though it’s only June, I’m already working hard on 2011, which I can promise will be a pivotal year for my growing company.  I’m not ready to announce anything just yet, but I can say there will be more opportunities and new services in store that I hope the food press, food PR agencies and food marketers will embrace to make their jobs easier.

I need to start packing.

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Food companies and their PR agencies who have exhibited at previous Food Fête media events don’t need a lot of convincing, but for those who’ve been weighing the pros and cons of joining us, here are five reasons why Food Fête is a terrific platform for launching new products.

1. Intimate & 100% Media-Focused: Trying to wrangle media at huge trade shows for a new product launch is tough and not getting easier.  It becomes a game of scanning name badges for “Press,” then getting their attention long enough to hear your micro-pitch.  Few editors will set appointments, and if they happen to stop by your booth when you’re speaking with a prospective customer, it’s a lost opportunity.  They’ve moved on. Food Fête is the opposite.  It’s 100% media-focused, so there are no distractions. We keep thing intimate so editors and bloggers have time to experience everything.  Our cocktail party setting also helps!

2. Relationship-building: I’ve read a lot lately questioning the future of face-to-face media interactions in the context of a changing media landscape and surge in social media. Regardless of how many Twitter media followers you have, real people are still hard at work creating content (traditional or otherwise), and having the opportunity to meet them in person to tell your (or your client’s) story can make all the difference in the world.

3. Economies of Scale: Food Fête typically attracts anywhere from 60 to 130 food media attendees, depending on location.  While media tours and desk sides are still a staple in the PR toolbox, they are becoming more difficult to book and more costly to execute. For a fraction of the cost of a media tour, Food Fête puts you in front of many of the editors you’d typically meet anyway, plus others (especially bloggers) who might never take a traditional meeting.

4. Product Sampling: The importance of getting food writers and bloggers to actually sample your products is a no-brainer. They can’t (or shouldn’t) review a product without trying it, and Food Fête accomplishes that and more. In addition to tabletop sampling, our Food Fête media sample bag puts your products directly into the media’s hands for potential review, saving you the time and expense of shipping individual review samples.

5. Credibility: As Food Fête enters its sixth year, it has earned a strong reputation for delivering quality new products at a well-produced event. A prolific food blogger for one of the country’s top food blogs calls Food Fête her “favorite food event of the year.”  Food writers get excited about attending each year, which adds to Food Fête’s event “personality,” creating added value for our exhibitors.

If you still need convincing, contact Jeff Davis at 503-719-4961 or jeff at foodfete dot com to discuss.

Our next Food Fête event is Jan. 18, 2010 in San Francisco, and we’re currently accepting exhibitor applications. Download the event brochure and application at www.foodfete.wordpress.com/forms.

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House Spirits

Last week (Oct. 18), was our very first regionally focused edition of Food Fete, where we showcased an intimate group of artisanal foods and beverages from my home state of Oregon.

On hand were 13 companies ranging from iconic Oregon brands like Rogue Creamery, Kettle Foods and Bob’s Red Mill to lesser known (but equally amazing) brands including Rose City Delicacies, Joel Palmer House, Dulcet Cuisine and Yogi. Rounding out the roster were Artisan Spirits Handcrafted Liquors, House Spirits, Erath Winery, Firesteed Winery, Pear Bureau Northwest and Lillie Belle Farms.

Not surprisingly, the Oregon wines and micro-distilled spirits were quite popular, but what can I say, food writers like to get their drink on!  (Just keeping it real.)

The media turnout was a very comfortable 50 or so, including food editors from Food & Wine, Epicurious.com, AOL Food, Woman’s Day, Parade, Parents and Metropolitan Home.  I heard lots of favorable comments about the passion demonstrated by the individual producers, who for the most part are small, entreprenurial operations.

The regional approach was so well received that plans are in the works for additional regional Food Fetes in 2010.

Pearr Bureau Northwest DSC02469

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