NASDA, together with USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), opened the American Food Fair at the National Restaurant Show at McCormick Place in Chicago on Saturday. The American Food Fair, featuring more than 90 small to large American food and beverage companies, will end today at 3:00 PM. NASDA has been organizing the pavilion in cooperation with USDA FAS for 16 years.
“The expansion of export opportunities for U.S. food and beverage producers is vital to the health of our economy,” said NASDA CEO Dr. Barbara P. Glenn. “The international trade partnerships established at this show are critical tools for the economic success of the U.S. food and agriculture sector.
Part of the larger National Restaurant Show, the floor was visited by more than 60,000 foodservice leaders from 50 states and more than 120 countries. The state departments of agriculture from Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin all participated to promote their state’s unique value-added food products to restaurants, institutions, hotels, and retail locations. The show was produced using funds from the congressionally funded Market Access Program (MAP), a top priority for NASDA in the next Farm Bill.
“For every $1 Congress invests in MAP activities such as our American Food Fair, $24 is returned in export revenue to our farmers, ranchers, and value-added food producers. We have a huge opportunity in the next Farm Bill to increase funding to MAP so that our international competitors do not continue to outspend and outcompete our critical food and agriculture sector. We look forward to working with Congress and the agriculture community to enhance funding to this critical program.”
In 2016, American Food Fair exhibitors reported over $19 million in projected and gross sales over the course of four days. Ten companies reported first export sales to a new market including three that made their first ever export sale. Companies looking to exhibit in NASDA’s 2018 American Food Fair Pavilion at the National Restaurant Show, May 19-22, should contact Janet Williams, NASDA Trade Show Management, at (703) 259-6120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.