North America’s largest specialty food and beverage event was held in NYC in the early summer, and it was where I was able to discover (and taste a few) thousands of products, including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, frozen treats, ethnic, natural and organic products offered by 2,400-plus exhibitors from 80 countries and regions.
A panel of “trendspotters” highlighted five trends for the year ahead: reinvented frozen treats, grains and seeds in new places, global meal starters, retro mania done new and be your own mixologist.
Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association, which is the producer of the event, said, “Our show celebrates the passion and creativity that fuels specialty food. This is our largest show ever, and center stage is the new and innovative foods and beverages that come directly from people who care about producing top-quality food.” One of those people is Mario Leite, founder of Norwalk-based Tea-rrific! Ice Cream, www.tearrificicecream.com, whose booth I visited. Leite’s entry into the food manufacturing business, coming from a completely different field, is common. Prior to founding the company in December 2011, Leite spent six years as a healthcare investment banker; and before that, he worked in the biotechnology industry for five years in several research and management roles. So how did a guy who holds a B.S. in molecular and cell biology from UConn and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School get into the ice cream business?
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