CHICAGO -- A wide array of specialty foods and wines was on display at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade's recent third annual Spring/Midwest Fancy Food Show at McCormick Place here.
The show boasted more than 800 exhibitors, with 100 new additions.
An estimated 13,000 specialty food and beverage buyers attended the show to sample over 40,000 products.
According to Ron Tanner, vice president of communications for the New York-based NASFT, the Midwest is fertile ground for the growing specialty food market.
"We went into the Midwest because there wasn't the exposure to specialty foods that there was on the East Coast and the West Coast. Buyers are more eager to try new products," he said.
The Midwest also offers additional opportunities for the wine and spirits category, as supermarkets and specialty food stores in the region are often permitted to sell these goods, said Tanner.
To that end, the NASFT hosted an international Wine and Spirits Pavilion as a complementary piece to the Midwest Fancy Food Show, attended by roughly 50 wine and spirits companies this year.
Next year, the Spring Fancy Food Show will be co-located with the Food Marketing Institute's annual trade show in early May.