News Article – 

It is with great regret that we announce the unavoidable cancellation of this year’s American Food Fair at the National Restaurant Association Show, which we had planned to hold in Chicago on May 16-19.

We recognize the critical importance of the American Food Fair to the food and beverage industry and we know that this will come as a disappointment to the exhibitors and attendees who had planned for months to participate. We appreciate the continued support and feedback we received as we explored numerous options to keep it on schedule.

This is not the outcome we wanted. This result is necessary given the accelerating pace of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Protecting the health and well-being of our exhibitors, sponsors, attendees, vendor partners and our own staff is paramount. This is our community. We all must be kept safe, and progressively stricter and more widespread prohibitions on public gatherings make clear that cancellation is the only outcome consistent with that goal. (Just as one example, the Governor of Illinois has issued an Executive Order prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 persons that will almost certainly extend into the period of the Show.)

COVID-19 is also putting our core attendee base—the worldwide restaurant community—under tremendous strain, as many are being forced to close their doors or furlough their employees. Most international registrants and many of our exhibitors are not engaging in business travel due to COVID-19, and would be unable to attend. The industry expects us to deliver a large scale, high-quality show full of robust activities, important education topics, innovative products and solutions offered by exhibiting companies and—perhaps above all—a large number of attendees. Based on how our attendee registrations have suffered since these developments came to light, it is clear that delivering the experience and attendance that our community expects will not be possible.

Although these developments resulting from COVID-19 require that the 2020 Show not go forward at this time, we are looking forward to partnering with you to make the 2021 Show the best ever.

What to do now:

  1. Please communicate cancellation of the show to exhibitors in your pavilion. We know each of you handle payments differently, so NASDA will not send an email about the show cancellation to your companies. Instead, we ask that you all communicate directly with your companies in order to minimize any possibility of miscommunication on our part. We are here to assist you in any way we can so please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or Janet Williams.
  2. If you booked your hotel reservations through the Show’s official housing partner—OnPeak—your reservations will be automatically cancelled; otherwise we suggest contacting your hotel to cancel it immediately to avoid any penalties.
  3. Exhibitors of the 2020 American Food Fair can:
    1. Credit paid exhibit fees toward the 2021 American Food Fair and receive priority space selection, or
    2. Request a full refund. 2021 rates will apply and exhibitors will re-select their space in the pavilion.

We ask that you indicate your preference by close of business, Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
There undoubtedly will be many questions as we work together through this unprecedented series of events. We will be connecting with you to discuss your pavilion at the 2021 AFF in May just as soon as our systems are updated. In the meantime, please email us at for answers. We check this account actively.

We thank you for your patience, understanding, and partnership.