July 11, 2016

Sightings at the Fancy Food Show

Walking the aisles of the Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center at the end of June was far different than walking the show at Kosherfest. The latter is like a homecoming for me while Fancy Food is like arriving in a warm friendly country. Of the estimated 7,000 trade people who visit Kosherfest, I would venture to say that I know nearly half of the exhibitors and visitors. I guessed that I would know very few at Fancy Food. Or so I thought until I kept bumping into many people that I would typically see at Kosherfest. Of course, there were some of the better known names in kosher like Yakov Yarmove, Gittel Liebler from Quality Foods and Charles Herzog from Kayco/Kedem. But then there was Yoeli, a familiar face who I often meet at Kosherfest and many other Chasidic businessmen. Yoeli: “So Menachem, see anything exciting and new here?” OK, I quickly got the idea that Yoeli and all the others that didn’t exactly fit in with the majority of the other 47,000 or so visitors was looking for new products that he could incorporate into his portfolio as a food broker.

Now it was my turn to ask Yoeli: “But there are so many new products here. Haven’t you picked up any?” That’s when Yoeli explained that he was not prepared to take the risk on big quantities. “I can only guarantee a certain number of pallets. They want much more.” The bottom line for many of these visitors was that they were looking for good deals with manufacturers of products that are kosher or as Yoeli explained some products that he can make kosher under the certification of a Chasidic agency.” Despite being kosher, many of the manufacturers were not prepared to deal in small quantities and certainly not to sell on a contingency and take a credit risk. But if there was a common denominator it was the retaliation that new products spell new profits and to prove the point almost every one of the Chasidic and Orthodox trade buyers were there for one thing: to find new products to place on kosher shelves.