Fancy Food 24/7 Education Lineup Features Trendspotting, Pitch Competition


8 Sep 2021

In addition to featuring specialty food products from makers across the world, SFA’s Fancy Food 24/7 digital event, taking place September 27 through October 8, will also include in-depth educational sessions from industry thought leaders on the latest trends and consumer insights.

Below is the full educational lineup for the event.

Kicking off Fancy Food 24/7 is On the Radar: What Will be the Trends of Fancy Food 24/7?, taking place Monday, September 27 at 11:00 a.m. This session will feature representatives of the SFA Trendspotter Panel and content team who have been watching consumer trends, new products, and category forecasts in the Association’s annual State of the Specialty Food Industry report. Join for a preview of what trends are on the radar heading into the event.

On Tuesday, September 28 at 11:00 a.m., join Mintel global food analyst Melanie Zanzoza Bartelme as she explores how convenience, health, and technology have become fundamental in the lives of today’s consumers in the session Understanding the Needs of the Evolving Pandemic-Era Consumer.

Retail architect and behaviorist Kevin Ervin Kelley of Shook Kelley will speak on The Bonfire Effect: How Physical Retail will Survive a Digital Future on Wednesday, September 29 at 11:00 a.m. During the session, he will share how his firm has helped retailers like Harley Davidson, Whole Foods, Kroger, Save Mart, Gelson’s, Nabisco, and Cadbury.

SFA’s 12 Under 35 Panel: Innovators Changing Specialty Food session will take place on Thursday, September 30 at 11:00 a.m. Three young entrepreneurs from the group chosen by our editors will share information about their projects and products during this exciting panel. Speakers include Giana Joseph, co-founder of Fuel the People, an organization that feeds protesters and voters as well as investing in underserved communities; Cara Nicoletti, founder of Seemore Meat & Veggies, maker of veggie-packed sausages; and Vanessa Pham, co-founder of Omsom, which sells pantry staple starters for Asian dishes.

Closing out the first week of Fancy Food 24/7 is Fast Pitch Friday, taking place Friday, October 1 at 3:00 p.m. During this fast-paced competition, pre-selected SFA members will make quick sales pitches to a judging panel and the whole audience will vote for their favorites.

The second week of education at Fancy Food 24/7 begins with a session on Scaling Your Business with Strategic Angel Investment, taking place Monday, October 4 at 1:00 p.m. Industry experts and investors will share their approach to early-stage investment consideration including deal identification, startup evaluation, conducting due diligence, valuations, and best practices in working with investors. Speakers include Suzanne Agnello, senior vice president at Devonshire Investors; Marcia Hooper, partner of Branch Venture Group, LLC; and Lauren Abda, founder and CEO of Branchfood and co-founder of Branch Venture Group LLC.

Private consultant David Lockwood and market research retail and brand consultant David Browne, will speak about SFA’s newly released research, Today’s Specialty Food Consumer on Tuesday, October 5 at 11:00 a.m. The session will cover who makes up the core specialty food consumer, their buying habits, preferences, and drivers, and how the pandemic has changed and influenced their behaviors.

On Wednesday, October 6 at 11:00 a.m., there will be a panel session on Sourcing with a Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. A group of retailers and e-tailers will discuss how buying decisions are made at some of the most interesting and important specialty outlets. Speakers include LeShaun Smedly, manager of corporate supplier diversity for the Kroger Co.; Kate Weaver, supplier diversity manager for Peapod Digital Labs, an Ahold Delhaize USA company; Rachel Krupa, founder of Krupa Consulting and The Goods Mart; and Jeremiah McElwee, chief merchandising officer at Thrive Market.

A session titled Will Foodtech Change What We Know About Making Food? will take place on Thursday, October 7 at 11:00 a.m. Larissa Zimberoff, author of “Technically Food: Inside Silicon Valley’s Mission to Change What We Eat,” will lead a discussion with Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Lab and CPG expert Sarah Masoni and Jonathon Deutsch, upcycling evangelist and professor at Drexel, to tease out what this means for our favorite foods, and the foods yet to be dreamed up.

Finally, on Friday, October 8 at 11:00 a.m., members from the SFA’s Trenspotter panel will discuss Trends from the Fancy Food 24/7 Show. Participating panel members include Letitia Moreinos Schwartz, author, journalist, and food personality, as well as Kantha Shelke, teacher of food safety regulations at Johns Hopkins University and principal at Corvus Blue LLC, a food science and research firm. Listen in to be among the first to learn about the hottest trends that will take us to 2022 and beyond.

More information on Fancy Food 24/7 here.

Related: SFA to Facilitate Fancy Food 24/7 Buyer PreviewInfinite Aisle to Facilitate Product Ordering During Fancy Food 24/7.