“We know through our research that the association was not viewed as much more than the Fancy Food Show. And, don’t get us wrong, the two shows, Winter and Summer, that we have been producing for decades are vitally important to us and to the industry. But we’re more than just the host of industry events,” SFA President Phil Kafarakis told FoodNavigator-USA.
“This rebrand confirms our commitment to bring the diverse communities of food makers, buyers, distributors, brokers and others together to build the specialty food segment and increase consumption of our products,” he added.
He explained the rebrand is doing this in part through a new vision statement to “Shape the Future of Food,” which he said is a “rallying cry” to show that SFA is a “a platform designed to define the specialty food industry for years to come.”
He added: “It is also an invitation to join with us in shaping the industry of tomorrow. SFA wants everyone involved in producing and distributing specialty food products to see themselves in this phrase, to feel that they are or can be a part of the mission, that they have a seat at our table.”
In particular, the association is inviting to the table smaller specialty brands and startups that could benefit from the support of a wider community.
“We know that our members view the SFA as a place to launch and grow their products, primarily through the trade shows. However, we are connecting with some of them a bit too late,” Kafarakis said. “As part of the rebrand, the SFA will get involved with early-stage entrepreneurs and better support our ‘emerging makers’ along their journey. With this addition, members will be able to utilize the SFA and its resources when starting their companies.”
To further support this group and the association’s mission, SFA will plans to expand its education and networking opportunities for members.
“The Specialty Food Association offers a variety of educational opportunities and research aimed at informing members and others about the industry,” Kafarakis said. These include “a seminar for those entering the food industry, a speed-networking program that brings buyers and companies together, and more.”
Actively seeking retail and foodservice buyers as members
'In addition to courting emerging brands and entrepreneurs, SFA also will be “actively seeking members who are retail and foodservice buyers and who come from the broker/distributor segment,” Kafarakis added.
To go along with the association’s new vision, is a new look in the form of a revamped logo that is an imperfect circle surrounding the letters SFA. The idea behind the slight wobbles in the shape is to capture “the constantly shifting and evolving industry and the limitless effects that food and drink have on our culture and everyday lives,” according to the association.
It added: “The logo also represents the association’s 360 degree approach to nurturing and introducing new specialty food products and companies in the marketplace.”
Taken together, the new look and vision will better represent the 3,800 “cutting-edge companies that make up our membership,” Kafarakis said, adding, “This rebranding process puts us in tune with our members’ goals and confirms our commitment to serve them well into the twenty-first century.”