JERSEY FOODS GET GLOBAL EXPOSURE AT FMI SHOW
Huge Trade Event in Chicago Brings Jersey Foods to the
(TRENTON) – From the famous Jersey tomato and
succulent sea scallops to lesser known foods like pretzel
crisps, New Jersey food products were on display for the
world at the 2005 FMI Show in Chicago, May 1-3.
five exhibitions into one mega-marketplace, the FMI Show
includes its namesake section, the U.S. Food Export Showcase,
Fancy Food Show, United Produce Expo and Conference and
All Things Organic, all under the roof of the behemoth McCormick
Place convention center in the Windy City.
Jersey companies filled an entire pavilion at the Food Export
Showcase, with two Jersey Shore seafood companies, Viking
Village and Black Tiger, drawing many visitors. Of course,
the three Chicago-area chefs cooking up sea scallops for
sampling didn’t hurt.
got these chefs in from The Fish Guy Market, which is one
of our customers here in Chicago,” said Ernie Panacek,
general manager of Viking Village. “I think the show
was worth the trip because we bonded with some of our existing
customers and made some connections to open up some new
exporters to Asia were looking for more quantity at the
sacrifice of quality, Panacek said, “I think our exporting
will be more to Europe and, possibly, the Middle East, because
they’re looking for the higher quality.”
familiar “Jersey Fresh” logo could be seen in
several locations, especially at the Produce Expo, where
Cumberland County farmer Bruce Cobb was showing off produce
from the Garden State.
really here putting a face on Jersey Fresh and getting these
guys out here to learn about marketing in the real world,”
Cobb said. “Every grower should have the opportunity
to come out to these trade shows. Some farmers will tell
you they can’t afford to take three days at this time
of year. But I’ll tell you, they can’t afford
not to do this.”
Feighey of Procacci Brothers Sales Corp., owners of the
largest tomato farm in New Jersey, said the shows definitely
help to broaden the market for New Jersey products.
always looking for new customers who haven’t heard
about us or seen us before,” Feighey said. “You
get to network with other growers and shippers, and you’re
always looking for new ideas for wholesale distribution.
This trip, it’s been very strong with New England
people and a lot of retailers from the Midwest. This is
the place where you’re looking to see the CEOs and
the top people.”
trends tended to dominate the shows this year, convenience
and health. America’s and the world’s consumers
continue looking for ways to combine their desire for healthy
foods with their time-crunched schedules.
Marrow, Salad Segment Director for Ready Pac, which has
a processing plant in Florence, Burlington County, said
the trend plays perfectly into the company’s diverse
line of bagged and prepared salads and pre-cut produce.
strongest interest is coming from the quick-service restaurants,
who are very much responding to consumer demands for healthier
choices,” Marrow said.
lesser known, products with a New Jersey connection also
could be found at the show, including beach plums. The white-flowered
plums -- about the size of a cherry with a sweet-tart flavor
-- grow wild on beaches of the Atlantic Coast from Delaware
to Maine, or, as Cornell University’s Bob Weybright
puts it, “from Cape May to Cape Cod.”
Al Murray with Ready Pac's Pamela Donnelly
plums have a short harvest season, from mid-August through
mid-September. Sweeter than the larger plums found on most
supermarket shelves, they are drawing intense interest from
chefs at high-end restaurants in major East Coast cities,
who use them for jams, jellies and sauces, Weybright said.
They are being developed for more commercial growth by a
partnership of Cornell University, Rutgers University, the
University of Massachusetts and the Long Island Agricultural
still very much a cottage industry,” Weybright said.
“We asked the chefs in New York for $6 a pound and
they didn’t even bat an eye. Then I knew I should
have asked for $8 or $9 a pound.”
food products offered new twists on old favorites. The Snack
Factory, a Mercer County company, showed off its Pretzel
Crisps, thin slices of hard pretzels marketed as the “first
spreadable pretzel cracker,” as part of the Export
Murray, Director of Marketing and Dvelopment for the New
Jersey Department of Agriculture, said the New Jersey Pavilion
at the Food Export Showcase offers smaller companies a chance
to reach a global market they might otherwise not have the
resources to connect to.
gives them a great opportunity to be out here where the
people who make buying decisions from all over the world
have gathered,” Murray said. “It puts New Jersey’s
fresh- and processed-food producers on a more equal footing
with the large, worldwide corporations.”