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Ethnic Highlights at the Western FoodService & Hospitality Expo 2017

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(Gerry Furth-Sides) Ethnic highlights from The 81stAnnual Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, (Aug 27-29) at the Los Angeles Convention Center filled the chef and awards presentations, education sessions and  product demonstrations.


Over 10,000 restaurant and foodservice industry professional attendees took a look at new products and services from nearly 500 exhibiting companies at the event, sponsored by the California Restaurant Association.


New product awards presented at the Show featured ethnic-regional   2nd Place Runner Up, Big Mama’s Gumbo for their Creole Gumbo from a “secret” family recipe. Best New Product in the Food Trends Experience was Mommy Sauce for their Korean sauces.

Thousands of attendees took advantage of the 30+ education sessions offered, including Understanding the Latino Consumer.

We attended the session with Selectivor founders, Dr. Steven Tan and Daniel Lemin, since we have followed the brilliant Dr. Tan since he began practice.

Dr. Steven and Lemon created Selectivor   (http://(www.selectivor.com)because they strongly believe that,  “The Age of the Omnivore is over. People are increasingly selective about what and how they eat.  In fact, studies show that nearly two-thirds of Americans have at least one dietary restriction. Even more, this new majority expects – and often demands – that their selective preferences are met wherever they go, especially in foodservice and hospitality establishments, which has ..created challenges and opportunities for the foodservice and hospitality industry.”

The founders reviewed the implications of this trend to the food industry, from describing these selective eaters and their primary food concerns and eating behaviors to developing a comprehensive framework for this new, complex landscape.

Feature areas on the show floor included the Food Trends Experience where 75 companies displayed ethnic, healthy, organic sustainable, artisanal, fusion and more.

 

The Sabor Latino Pavilion focused on Latin and Hispanic products for the foodservice market.    Many of the booths used this as an opportunity to gain distributors for their products.


Jesus Lopes representing AVOSALC reminded us that when avocados are in short supply in the United States, they are available south of the border

Melissa’s Produce elaborate booth reminded us of the global pull of the company.  The local headquarters in Vernon have become international influencers.

Melissa’s is has become key in introducing new produce to the US consumer because of their policy of both supporting American farmers grow product that is out of season around the globe, or importing produce when it is not in season locally.

A showy Jackfruit from Melissa’s Produce

At the close of the Show, exhibitors donated thousands of pounds of food to the LA Regional Food Bank, to be distributed through the Salvation Army.

On Sunday afternoon the California Restaurant Association hosted the 6th Annual Culinary & Cocktail Clash: Battle Los Angeles raised more than $100,000, which will provide educational resources to ProStart programs in California high schools.

The 2018 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo is produced and managed by Urban Expositions, a Clarion Events Company (www.urban-expo.com) and sponsored by the California Restaurant Association (www.calrest.org).


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Author
Gerry Furth-Sides

Gerry Furth-Sides

Content Editor/Columnist

Photo-journalist Gerry Furth-Sides has been covering the ethnic and American culinary scene in California since it first came into prominence 25 years ago.