When the Specialty Food Association contacted the Sustainable Packaging Coalition looking for Summer Fancy Food Show (SFFS) speakers, I was pretty excited to grab the gig. Fancy food and a whole new group of faces to educate? I’m in.
On June 30, 2014, I attended and spoke at SFFS in New York City. The show was a mix of over 15 sessions and seminars, a show floor of 2,400 exhibitors, and over 24,000 attendees. It was also SPC’s first time working with the Specialty Food Association and the Fancy Food Show. I love fancy food as much as the next person, but it was more than just a tasty opportunity. SFFS was a chance to educate a new crowd and observe an industry with great sustainability potential.
SFFS14 Education Program
The day began with me teaching a one hour session, Sustainable Packaging: What’s New? How Does it Affect Your Business? SPC member Steve Mahler of Caraustar leant a hand during the session and Q&A, offering his unique industry and SPC member perspective. The group was diverse and inquisitive, sticking around to ask more questions. I spent the rest of the day walking the show floor, tasting samples, and talking to vendors.
Everyone has a story
From packaging to product, everyone had a story to share.
The creator of Energyfruits saw parents eating their children’s food products and decided to develop an “adult version.” Admittedly, it felt a little bit like my Capri Sun days, but I could get used to this. It was a convenient counterbalance to all of the sweet treats. Unfortunately, end of life recovery options for flexible pouches remain slim. This was just one of many pouch packages, highlighting the hurdle, and opportunity, in flexible packaging.
The Mason Jar Cookie Company uses their packaging as a defining brand identity. Cookie mix comes in a clear container, with layered ingredients creating an attractive display. As a consumer, it had a familiar “southern feel,” and I can never have too many mason jars. This company connected with me on a personal level, a great asset to creating brand loyalty.
A similar packaging-driving-brand-loyalty example is Salem Baking Company’s cookie tubes. I grew up eating Salem’s Moravian Sugar Cookies in the iconic tubes. It was uplifting to see so many flavors and products. It was icing on the cake for them to ask what I thought about the sustainability of their packaging.
The 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show was a great event, and I look forward to working more with this new group of faces.