Specialty Food Magazine

FALL 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1156964

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Page 24 of 91

Message from President Phil Kafarakis Those who attended the 2019 Summer Fancy Food Show this year saw first-hand how diverse, creative, and expansive our industry has become. Food producers focus on quality and innovation to meet the needs of consumers who are seeking out specialty foods in greater and greater numbers. Right now, the industry is approaching yearly sales of $150 billion— over 16 percent of total food sales. The Specialty Food Association is committed to helping our industry succeed by helping producers get to market. We also work with distributors, buyers, and retailers—because without a strong, educated buying community, producers are at a disadvantage. Up until now, there has been no training specifically for specialty food buyers. Most buyers evolve into their positions from CPG or other retail buying jobs or are mentored within their companies to focus on specialty products. But buying specialty foods often requires a deeper understanding of the logistics of growing, packaging, storing, distributing, and marketing food items. For small, entrepreneurial companies, who make up most of the specialty food market, working with someone who understands their needs is critical for achieving success. The SFA Distributor Committee helped us identify the need for a specific training program for food buyers. It appointed an Advisory Council of distributors, makers, and buyers who then worked closely with Cornell University and SFA sta' to create a solution. Together, we've created The Professional Food Buyer Certificate Program, a joint online certificate training program for specialty food buyers. The course is available exclusively through the eCornell platform. (See details on page 23.) We're very grateful to all who participated in the creation of the certification course. We believe it will allow interested buyers and retailers the opportunity to strengthen their own skills and, in turn, benefit the entire specialty food industry. We are looking forward to celebrating our first set of "graduates" and plan to continue to build out SFA education programming to serve you. Thanks for helping us Shape the Future of Food! Phil Kafarakis President, Specialty Food Association Follow me @PresidentSFA Message from the President 22 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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