Specialty Food Association

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Specialty Food Association
2019 Specialty Food Association Logo.jpg
MottoShape the Future of Food.
Formation1952; 68 years ago (1952)
Founded atNew York City
Formerly called
National Association for the Specialty Food Trade

The Specialty Food Association, Inc. (SFA) is a membership-based trade association in the United States representing approximately 3,800 member companies.[1] The SFA is the leading advocate for the $148 billion specialty food industry,[2] and was established in 1952 to foster trade, commerce and interest in the specialty food industry in the U.S. The association is a not-for-profit organization representing whose members are specialty food artisans, purveyors, importers and entrepreneurs, as well as distributors, retailers, and others involved in the specialty food trade.[3]


The association was founded in New York City in 1952 as the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc.[4] In 2013, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade changed its name to the Specialty Food Association.[5] Phil Kafarakis was named President of the SFA in July 2016.[6]

Rebranding: 2019 - present[edit]

In October 2019, the Specialty Food Association underwent a complete rebranding effort, with Kafarakis stating that they had a new vision to "Shape the Future of Food".[7] As part of the rebranding, the SFA began serving as an umbrella to provide various educational, networking and research offerings.[8] The redesigned logo is an imperfect circle, and was meant to represent the constant changes and evolutions of the specialty food industry.[9]


The Specialty Food Association is a source of industry information, educational events and in-person and online networking opportunities, and the Online Solution Center.[10]

Among the Association's programs are the annual Winter Fancy Food Show, traditionally held in January in San Francisco, CA, at the Moscone Center[11] and the annual Summer Fancy Food Show, traditionally held at the end of June in New York, NY at the Jacob Javits Center.[12]

The Summer Fancy Food Show is the largest show for specialty food in North America, featuring specialty food companies from around the world. The show boasts the largest state presence with more than 230 food companies. More than 50 countries will be participating in the show, with Italy as partner country for 2020.[13]

The Association's quarterly publication, Specialty Food Magazine, has a circulation of more than 30,000 trade professionals.[14] Its daily email newsletter, Specialty Food News, reaches more than 47,000 individuals every business day.[15]

Award programs[edit]

The Specialty Food Association produces the annual sofi Awards[16][17] which recognize excellence in specialty food products. The 2016 award winners[18] were selected from 3,200 entries across 28 product categories, including best chocolate, cheese and savory snack.[19]

The Specialty Food Association recognizes creativity and taste in multiple food categories through its annual sofi Awards. The SFA announces winners in four categories; Gold, Silver, Bronze and New Product, in the spring and highlights their achievements at both Fancy Food Shows.[20] At each Summer Show, a Product of the Year is announced.[21]

The annual Leadership Awards honor industry leaders who promote positive environmental, community, and business practices. Leadership Award winners are active members of the SFA, who meaningfully the specialty food industry. [22]

The Specialty Food Association's Hall of Fame inducts individuals whose career accomplishments, impact, community contributions, and product innovations have helped to advance the specialty food industry.[23] Multiple individuals are inducted into the Hall of Fame each year. The Association’s Lifetime Achievement Awards recognize and celebrate extraordinary specialty food industry pioneers.[24]


Specialty Food Association (formerly NASFT) is currently located at 136 Madison Ave in New York City.


  2. ^ For the SFA's roles in the US specialty food industry, see Albala, Ken (2015-05-08). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues. SAGE. ISBN 978-1-4522-4301-6.
  3. ^ "US specialty food sales topped $120bn in 2015, now account for 14.1% of total food sales".
  4. ^ Appelman, Joyce (2019-07-12). "Shaping The Future Of Food at the 65th Annual Specialty Food Association's Summer Fancy Food Show". Total Food Service. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  5. ^ "Specialty Food | Bakemag.com | March 05, 2013 10:56". www.bakemag.com. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  6. ^ :http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/specialty-food-association-names-new-president-300302185.html
  7. ^ foodnavigator-usa.com. "Specialty Food Association's new vision, updated logo invite more emerging brands, retailers to the fold". foodnavigator-usa.com. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  8. ^ "Specialty Food Association Unveils Rebranding". Progressive Grocer. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  9. ^ Association, Specialty Food (2019-10-01). "The Specialty Food Association Rebrands and Expands to Shape the Future of Food". Perishable News. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  10. ^ "Specialty Food Online Solution Center". Solution Center. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  11. ^ "Specialty Food Association Prepares for Winter Fancy Food Show". Deli Market News. 2020-01-16. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  12. ^ "The 2015 Fancy Food Show In New York, One Smorgasbord You Won't Want to Miss". 26 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Specialty Food Association Partners with Italy for Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows". Specialty Food Association. 2019-10-25. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  14. ^ "Specialty Food Magazine - WINTER 2016". specialtyfoodmagazine.epubxp.com.
  15. ^ "preview". emailactivity1.ecn5.com.
  16. ^ "Specialty Food Association". specialtyfood.com. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  17. ^ "These awards are like Oscars, but for artisan food - The Boston Globe".
  18. ^ "Gallery: Sofi winners reflect latest specialty trends". 6 June 2016.
  19. ^ "Slideshow: Top innovations at Summer Fancy Food 2016".
  20. ^ "SFA Unveils 2019 SOFI Award Winners". Progressive Grocer. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  21. ^ "The Specialty Food Association Announces 2019 sofi Award Winners". Deli Market News. 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2020-01-18.
  22. ^ "Leadership Awards - Specialty Food Association". www.specialtyfood.com.
  23. ^ "Hall of Fame - 2016 Hall of Fame Recipients Summer". www.specialtyfood.com.
  24. ^ "Specialty Food Association Names Lifetime Achievement Award Winners". 27 June 2016.

External links[edit]