Earlier this week, North Carolina Department of Agriculture hosted their Flavors of Carolina food show in Raleigh. North Carolina Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler was on hand to greet food buyers from across the south:
"Troxler: “Both shows have been absolutely wonderful. The show here in Raleigh, we have 100 exhibitors, and so many buyers have come in. everyone’s telling me how these shows are so important to them, stepping up to the next level, and going from maybe a mom&pop operation into an operation that’s actually hiring people and putting them to work.”
SFN: I can’t tell you how many of these shows I’ve been to, and I never see the same people twice, but I think there’s more new people here than I’ve seen before.
Troxler: I’ve noticed that at this show, and at the show in Charlotte, there are people out there with new products that want to have that breakthrough, and this is where it happens. There have been so many success stories that come out of these Flavor shows, and people are just really thankful for the opportunity to meet these buyers.”
SFN: One of the products that I’d never seen or heard of before, I saw here first, and just a few months later I saw in a convenience store.
Troxler: “You’ll see them at a convenience stores, but if you watch, and even go into major grocery chains in North Carolina, you’ll see the very products that you see at this show, and they’ve made a score, they’ve impressed people with their product and the chains and the restaurants want them in there.”
Earlier this year Flavors of Carolina was held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway to a sold-out group of NC food producers. Myrtle Early of the NCDA Marketing Department:
Early: “We had at the Charlotte event…I bet a third of the companies that we had at that show were new companies and they’ve come back to this Raleigh show. Some of them tonight…I’ve heard of one company that’s gotten in six grocery stores, so it’s been very successful for them.”
SFN: “Now, let’s talk a little bit about the requirements to be in this show. You invite all the big major grocery and restaurants.”
Early: “Qualifications for being here are that you have to produce or manufacture your product here in North Carolina. That’s it, just have to have products that are produced or manufactured here in North Carolina. You may grow cucumbers and may be interested in selling to a chef, or it maybe herbs, you can be in this show. So, very large companies like House of Autry, Texas Pete, Golden Farms. “
SFN: “You extend invitations to not only groceries, but also food service.”
Early: “Yes, we have restaurants, groceries, food service distributers, hospitals, nursing homes, anybody that buys food in large quantities.”
SFN: “Outstanding. Well, I know there’s a lot of success stories that have come out of this show.”
Early: “Yes, Golden Farm, and Texas Pete, or TW Garner was some of our first companies that participated 20-something years ago, and they’re still in this show. Actually some of these companies will attribute their success to these shows. You know, you get one-on-one experience, and conversation with some big-wigs, big buyers.”
SFN: “And it’s kind of my understanding that the buyers don’t miss it.”
Early: “No. No, it is defiantly by invitation only, and if they don’t get their invitation they call and request it.”
NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler and NCDA Marketing Specialist Myrtle Early.
image courtesy of info.ncagr.com