SFA Live: Making Good Food Available for Everybody

The Summer Fancy Food Show offers a chance for innovators to share new flavors and products they hope will revolutionize the food industry. Host Paul Barron welcomed a number of leaders in the industry to the live stage this year during the signature Specialty Food Association (SFA) New York City event.

Two noteworthy interviews were with Dino Borri, the vice president of Global Partnerships for Italian marketplace and restaurant Eataly, and SFA President Phil Kafarakis. Barron chatted with Borri and Kafarakis about developing key partnerships and the ever-growing consumer demand for specialty products.

Dino Borri, Eataly VP of Global Partnerships

Born in a small town in Piedmont, Italy, Dino Borri has lived and traveled worldwide promoting high quality food and the Italian lifestyle.

Borri first joined the food industry in 2000 to work for Slow Food, an organization that branded itself as an Italian response to the growing popularization of fast food. The grassroots organization swiftly went global, campaigning to protect dying or forgotten local food cultures and traditions. Eight years later, Borri brought that knowledge to Eataly and began launching new branches of the combination store and restaurant in Japan and in multiple locations throughout the continental United States.

“We’re a window for small producers,” says Borri. “I’m happy when I see one of our original products in other chains and retailers. One of our goals is to expose the producer to other retailers — we’re not jailers about that. There’s so much good food in the world, and good food should be for everybody.”

Founder Oscar Farinetti designed Eataly to have the same products used by the restaurant available for purchase in its adjacent marketplace. At present, forty stores have been established worldwide — and according to Borri, another Eataly location in Texas is in the works.

Check out the video above to learn more about Eataly’s mission and Borri’s thoughts on the growing popularity of artisanal and specialty products.

Phil Kafarakis, SFA President

Phil Kafarakis handles the day-to-day operations of the SFA, overseeing the management of more than 3,400 member companies within the $120 billion specialty food industry. The Summer Fancy Food Show is the largest specialty food show in North America, with over 200,000 specialty foods featured. Hundreds of food companies were in attendance this year from states including New York, California, New Jersey, and Florida, and over fifty countries were represented. Germany was this year’s partner country.

“Our mission is to bring the community together to learn, network, and connect,” says Kafarakis. “When you leave here, we want you to feel like you did some business. There’s an outcome — not just information.”

Looking ahead, Kafarakis shares that the organization has seen “explosive growth” in the beverage industry. “Beverage is going to be a bigger part of what we do.” Specialty foods as a whole represent the fastest growing segment in the food business, growing at a rate nine times faster than traditional foods. In addition to expanding its membership policy, Kafarakis shares that the organization is eyeing international possibilities.

“You can’t do everything all at once,” he notes. “But the infrastructure has been built. We’re going to take some steps to see how the brand fits into the interests of our members.”

Check out the video above to learn more about the future of SFA and current specialty food trends!

Italy’s Slow Fish Comes to New Orleans

A takeoff of the Slow Food movement, Italy’s Slow Fish is a similar style movement that looks to preserve the fragile balance between human fishing and marine and river ecosystems. Held every odd numbered year, the Slow Fish festival in Genoa celebrates small scale fishing operations as well as those chefs and restaurants that encourage species diversity.

This year, for the very first time, the Slow Fish festival is coming stateside with a special visit planned for New Orleans. The visit will highlight the threats independent Louisiana fishermen face, as well as highlight fishing operations throughout the nation.  

Learn more about the Slow Fish movement and planned festival here

Seafood Conference Swimming into NOLA


During Lent season, seafood starts flooding New Orleans, but next year, this city may kick it up a notch by playing host to an international gathering called Slow Fish.

As a project by Slow Food, a global food advocacy group, Slow Fish encourages the use of neglected species and supports small fisheries around the world. This movement coincides with the topics of sustainability and bringing awareness to habitat loss and industrialization. While biannual fairs have been held in Genoa, Italy, Slow Fish hopes to make a new home in NOLA.

it is planned for March 10-14 and will include a conference for fisherman, chefs, researchers and advocates. The details for Slow Fish are still in the works, but local organizers are participating in a bycatch seafood happy hour called Fish Tails & Cocktails on July 13 as the first event leading up to the conference. Read More

Technology and the Slow Food Movement



Technology is pervading every aspect of our lives from calorie counting to sleep monitoring, and the idea of the 'quantified self' is, now more than ever, a reality. And yet as we advance technologically we find that we are are also looking backwards for inspiration. 

The idea that one day we will be eating food in pill form, or in liquid form as the company Soylent hopes, is no longer an option. We do not want technology to take over food in such a way that it is no longer enjoyable. Instead we are using our new found technological abilities to go back to the past, giving us the opportunity to reconnect with nature. In response to public demand. And it isn't just restaurants that are paving the way for slow food. AT&T park in San Francisco has recently installed a 4,320 square-foot garden - the first of its kind in a major sporting arena. Read More