On July 9th, the LCC team moved into Washington, DC and served up Vermont’s best chocolates to customers not only from the Mid-Atlantic region but from around the world. Washington’s multi-cultural, international spirit was alive and well at the 2011 Fancy Food show.
For the first time in LCC’s history of exhibiting at a show (nearly 25 years!), our booth was located right next to the International Pavilions, specifically Egypt. We anchored one end of the Vermont Paviliion, organized by the Vermont Specialty Food Association.
For three full days we gave customers a taste of our very best– visitors could sample all five varieties of our Five Star Bars, Sea Salt Caramels, and Truffles.
Attendees also garnered a sneak preview of the new Christmas packaging, which features a less traditional color palate. Feedback from customers coast to coast was overwhelmingly positive. They loved the fresh, contemporary hues married with the rural sophisticated imagery they’ve come to expect from LCC.
The Fancy Food Show offers much more than just chocolate – truly everything from soup to nuts. What stood out to me as trends this year were not only crackers, chips & snacks like we had seen in January at the San Francisco version of this show but the number of ice cream and gelato companies. Knowing the distribution and shipping challenges we face with chocolate, I admire so many folks who are attempting to bring a frozen product into the competitive specialty market.
While the show is hard work with long hours spent with customers, brokers, and the media – we do always make room for some fun. The National Confectioners Association hosted many friends & competitors at their offices in Georgetown for a cocktail reception that featured a huge candy buffet of ‘trick-or-treating’.
Robert Peck of the World Cocoa Foundation(WCF) spoke at our Sales Meeting on Monday morning to further educate our team on the outstanding work this organization does to improve the sustainability of cocoa. WCF focuses on economic and social development programs for the more than 6 MILLION cocoa farmers in the world who have very little infrastructure and resources available. Robert summed it up by stating that in order for us to have a sustainable cocoa industry, there must be an integrated approach with emphasis on profit, people, and the planet.
Our own Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy made a special appearance on Tuesday morning. You’d have thought that we had a rock star in our booth (besides the Grace Under Fire Bar) – our visitors in the booth from Colorado (who admire Vermont’s progressive approach to politics) were thrilled at the opportunity to shake hands and talk with the Senator about health care reform.
Being in the food business, a trip to a show isn’t complete without exploring some of the best restaurants we can find in a new city. Founding Farmers and 2 Amys Pizza were my two favorites. Both featured the freshest ingredients and simple preparation methods. We’ll definitely go back again next year. And of course, we had to be ‘tourists’ a little bit – with a quick walk to the White House and some playing in the waterfountain outside Founding Farmers on Pennsyvlania Avenue.
It was a truly successful show and we’ll head back to the nation’s capital, June 17-19, 2012!