The 66th running of the Specialty Food Association’s (SFA) Summer Fancy Food Show, set for June 28-30 in New York, will not take place as scheduled due to the deadly novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic that has swept the planet. Organized to showcase products from more than 2,400 exhibitors hailing from approximately 50 countries, the event joins a long list of cancelled and postponed food shows around the world, including the May 16-19 National Restaurant Show in Chicago.
New York City remains under lockdown and the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan, where the Summer Fancy Food Show was to take place, has been converted into a makeshift medical center set up to assist the emergency needs of area hospitals now overflowing with patients. It is being staffed by 917 medical staff, including US Army Staff Sgt. Patricia Thomas seen in the photo above donning gloves before conducting an examination.
As of April 14, the death toll attributed to the Covid-19 respiratory disease caused by coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China late last year had topped 6,500 in NYC, which is the epicenter of suffering in the Unites States. Globally the beastly bug has now claimed more than 123,000 lives and almost 2,000,000 confirmed cases of infection.
The immediate priority of the Specialty Food Association is to guide member exhibitors and registered attendees through a process of receiving refunds or credits for the show. An extensive outreach campaign is under way to all exhibitor members and attendees. More information can be found at the 2020 Summer Fancy Food Show Refund Center.
“As the leader in the future of food movement, our responsibility is to serve our members through good times and bad,” said SFA President Phil Kafarakis. “Our legacy is one of connecting the global specialty food industry – makers, buyers and distributors – and we’re assessing ways to create an engaging environment for that, outside of the Fancy Food Show.”
Toward that end, the trade association is evaluating alternative formats for later in the year that would help its members maintain their business footing during these unprecedented times.
“Our mission remains getting specialty food makers and their amazing products in front of buyers and consumers,” said Kafarakis.
The association is currently running webinars, including one recently that focused on the CARES Act, in an “Ask-The-Experts” series. All webinar content is recorded and available on the SFA online Learning Center where an extensive library of tools for business continuity are available.
The SFA is also further developing its Product Marketplace resource center of specialty food products that makers and buyers use to connect. This is especially important as everyone works to maintain business continuity in these times of slowdown and shutdown.
“We’re a community beyond the Fancy Food Show,” Kafarakis said. “We have a lot to offer our members and our industry.”
Details on SFA’s activities to support their members in response to the pandemic may be found in their online Learning Center at www.learning.specialtyfood.com.