By: Jillian Raycraft, junior agribusiness major
In a world where consumers’ palates are ever-changing, those in the food-retail industry are constantly tasked with having to win over the taste buds and perceptions of their customers. Helping to showcase the hottest new products, producers, and trends entering the food-retail industry, the Specialty Food Association annually hosts the largest specialty food and beverage show on the West Coast. Last month, 55 Cal Poly students apart of the Agribusiness Management Club (ABM Club), including myself, traveled to San Francisco for the opportunity to network and explore what trends are coming down the pipeline in the industry. It is over the course of this three-day event that exhibitors hope to have grasped the attention of the individuals with the buying power of major retailers across the nation.
Through the 220,000 square feet of the convention center at the Fancy Food Show over 80,000 brand-new food/drink items were placed on display by both domestic and international based companies. Dominating much of the show floor were products of various cheeses, fermented beverages, and desserts; all with different marketing dynamics among cultures, companies, and competitors. With the temptation of wanting to try at least half of the new food items, it was safe to say I temporarily threw out my New Year’s resolution of eating healthier. As the weekend went on, hearing the stories and wisdom from industry professionals who were not so long ago in my shoes, only furthered helped to solidify my passion and pursuit for the industry of agriculture.
The opportunities that Cal Poly’s Agribusiness Management Club offers are entirely funded by the club’s two major fundraisers: Ag Showcase and barbecuing for the Open House Rodeo – relying solely on student volunteers for the success of these events. It is experiences like this that the ABM Club focuses on providing for its student members – connecting us to the industry of agriculture and revealing the extensive career opportunities that are available upon graduation.