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CEO DATELINE – Food group changes event location; label manufacturers group postpones show

Sept. 23, 2021

By Kathryn Walson

The Specialty Food Association has relocated next year’s Winter Fancy Food Show from San Francisco to Las Vegas. It is now scheduled for Feb. 6-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. SFA did not give a reason in its Sept. 22 announcement, but a San Francisco tourism official reportedly attributed the move to the city’s COVID-19 restrictions.

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“We’re obviously disappointed the Winter Fancy Food Show is moving to another venue in 2022 because of San Francisco’s health mandates, one of which requires attendees of indoor meetings of 1,000 or more people to be vaccinated,” SF Travel President & CEO Joe D'Alessandro told the San Francisco Business Times.

SFA said it is working with Las Vegas to ensure that all safety protocols are in place, according to the statement.

“The Specialty Food Association continues to be focused on exploring new opportunities for our members, and safely continuing the growth of the $170.4 billion specialty food industry during the pandemic,” SFA President Bill Lynch said in a statement. “We are excited to be partnering with a premier trade show destination like Las Vegas, which has been the leader in the return of in-person events.”

The event typically drew more than 13,000 attendees to San Francisco each year, and its departure is a “blow to the city's hard-hit hospitality and tourism sector,” according the San Francisco Business Times. The show had been scheduled for Jan. 16-18 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

The association did not say in its statement whether it had committed to keeping the show in Vegas beyond 2022, but SF Travel, San Francisco’s destination marketing organization, said it looks forward to welcoming the Winter Fancy Food Show back in 2023, the news outlet reported.

Meanwhile, the Private Label Manufacturers Association has postponed its annual Private Label Trade Show by more than two months due to the resurgence of COVID-19, Supermarket News reported Sept. 22. The event has been rescheduled from Nov. 14-16 to Jan. 30-Feb. 1. It is still to be held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago.

The association expects the pandemic to improve by late January as more Americans get vaccinated, PLMA President Peggy Davies told Supermarket News.

“Beginning in the new year, more companies will return to the office, corporate travel restrictions increasingly will be lifted, and people will become more comfortable gathering in large groups,” Davies said, according to the news outlet. “And international borders will be reopened, an important factor for the large contingent of national pavilions that attend the Chicago Private Label Trade Show.”

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