Saturday, August 24, 2013
Here's the story about many of the specialty foods producers who exhibited at this year's Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo. These vendors, which offer products packaged for both foodservice and retail sale, had a lot to say about products that add gourmet panache to a meal without breaking the budget or help meet the needs of dinner guests who are increasingly likely to arrive with nonnegotiable dietary restrictions.
Market Street is a chain of gourmet supermarkets in north and west Texas, mostly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, that puts on month-long events to draw in the community for celebrations of Texas products, food and fitness, and an Entertaining Made Easy expo held in November to capture the interest of customers who are planning their holidays. Read more about it here on Gourmet News.
I visited the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo last week and returned with a couple of reports: this one, which just takes a walk around the exhibit hall, and another one, not written yet, that demonstrates that upscale restaurateurs are taking some cues from the producers of specialty foods. The specialty foods manufacturers generally make their products in small batches, so they face comparatively less risk as they experiment with innovative flavors. They're more likely to spend some time thinking, thinking and thinking about a new flavor profile and then just go ahead and do some experiments. Then they'll taste-test those experiments with family and friends and maybe even customers, and when they have a product that everyone likes, there's still a chance that it's just not going to go over with American consumers. But since they're making product in small batches, that's probably not going to take the whole company down with it. It makes for a lot of excitement at the Specialty Food Association's annual sofi awards presentation, which honors innovation in the specialty foods industry.