Back in Person: The 2022 Winter Fancy Food Show

Frances Ferrante, Senior Editor

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of foodie buyers and purveyors descended on Las Vegas this week for the Specialty Food Association’s 2022 Winter Fancy Food Show, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the first time in two years. The show is traditionally the largest West Coast B2B-only specialty food and beverage show, and this year did not disappoint with 886 exhibiting companies. An outdoors opening night reception with food trucks drew thousands of participants.

The Fancy Food Show is known for its trend-spotter predictions, and this year’s included everything from a pasta comeback to plant-based comfort food.

“We’re entering our third year of the pandemic, and hopefully things are stabilizing somewhat, but people have been through the ringer and one of the ways that is coming out is a resurgence of comfort-type foods,” Denise Purcell, vice president of content and education for the New York-based Specialty Food Association, told Food Business News. A variety of pavilions included one for up-and-coming makers, an “Incubator Village,” and both International and State pavilions as well as educational programming, including a chocolate trends session. Being in Las Vegas, it was also a star-studded event, with John Legend, Chrissy Teigen and Giada De Laurentiis in the house.

There was a strong focus on safety, with all attendees, exhibitors and show staff required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours, and masks required for all participants. In a pre-show announcement, the association said that it would not penalize exhibitors who were unable to participate in the Winter Show, and instead would roll their participation forward to the summer show, to be held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City June 12-14.

“After a two-year hiatus, we were thrilled to bring our community back together in such a strong way,” said Specialty Food Association President Bill Lynch. “The 2022 Winter Fancy Food Show exceeded all our expectations, and we hope this is a positive sign for things to come in the trade show industry for 2022!”

Related. To read more about Lynch, click here.

Reach Bill Lynch at (212) 482-6440 or  blynch@specialtyfood.com; Denise Purcell at dpurcell@specialtyfood.com