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Specialty Food Group Dishes on Special Sauce Behind Incubator Village

By / Jun 18, 2018 (via the Specialty Food Association's Facebook page)

The Specialty Food Association is increasing the space it’s donating to incubators at its Summer Fancy Food Show. This year, the former Incubator Alley has grown to an Incubator Village, spotlighting 11 incubators and 80 emerging food companies.

The Specialty Food Association is increasing its support of specialty food incubators at its Summer Fancy Food Show, which will kick off on June 30. This year, SFA is giving complimentary exhibit space for an Incubator Village of 11 incubators and 80 emerging food companies.

“Specialty foods are now a $140 billion industry,” said SFA President Phil Kafarakis in a press release. “Small emerging brands—innovative and totally focused on what consumers want—are leading trends, but it can be difficult to succeed in the food industry. Food incubators give new and passionate entrepreneurs a solid chance to enter the marketplace by providing them with opportunities to test concepts and create successful product launches. SFA is thrilled to showcase these incubators and give show attendees a deeper understanding of how they help grow our industry.”

To build out its village, SFA created a selection process. SFA first invited its nonprofit member incubators, then its for-profit member incubators, and lastly, it opened the village up to nonprofit nonmember incubators. “Within those first three categories, we filled up the village,” said SFA Vice President of Philanthropy, Government, and Industry Ron Tanner.

Along with donating the exhibit space, SFA is also hosting an education program, which will close out the three-day food show, to allow the incubators to share knowledge and stories and learn from each other.

But even though the interest in joining the Incubator Village has been tremendous, the work it’s taken to get it off the ground has been equally tremendous, Tanner said. Still, SFA is excited about the array of companies that will get exposure in the village.

“The ultimate goal is to really help these incubators and these companies be successful so they can eventually be members of the association.” Tanner said. “Our vision is to shape the future of food and we want to grow our membership, and we feel this is a very good way to get the companies before they’re too far down the road—to get them involved with us and have them be members of the association.”

Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. More »

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