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10 things to know as you prepare for the Fancy Food Show

May 31, 2013

Envision an enormous convention center packed to the gills with every type of gourmet food you can imagine, from 30+ countries, all being given away for free. This, my friends, is the Fancy Food Show. If you’re not involved in the food industry, you may not have heard of the Fancy Food Show. The Fancy Food Show is held twice a year, on the east coast in the summer, and on the west coast in the winter. It’s a food frenzy. A sensory smorgasbord. An edible extravanganza! More importantly though, for food manufacturers and store buyers, it’s a place to network, network, network. My maiden voyage to the Winter Fancy Food Show was this past January, and wow, was it an experience. As a first time exhibitor and a first time attendee, I took away enough lessons to write a manual. Since you don’t want to read a manual (and I don’t want to write one), I’ve narrowed down my Fancy Food Show tips to a list of the Top Ten. 1. Wear comfortable shoes. If by default this means ‘ugly shoes’, that’s fine—no one is looking at your feet. 2. When networking, don’t blabber on and on and on. Don’t talk about your cats, what you ate for breakfast, or your mom’s boyfriend. Less is always more. 3. No time for coffee? Adrenaline > Caffeine. 4. There are a lot. Of foods. To taste. You can’t taste them all, you can’t taste half, and you certainly can’t even taste 1/8 of them. Choose your tastings wisely. 5. You have one shot to make a first impression. One shot. Aim high and make it count. 6. People’s faces speak the truth. Watch the first bite reaction to gauge what they truly think of your product. 7. You will be so exhausted at the end of the day that you’ll crumble into a whining pile on your hotel bed. You’ll be beyond excited to wake up and do it all over again in the morning. 8. Leaving your booth means leaving potential buyers. You won’t want to leave your booth. 9. These people are serious business and make seriously good food. Seriously. And finally… 10. If you make it to the last hour of the end of day 3, it will be like Christmas morning with the amount of goodies that are given away. Reward yourself for following tip #8 by stocking up on as many cookies, cheese logs, and fancy teas as you can carry!  

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