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MDA to host 20 food companies at major Chicago trade events

Companies seek expansion to new markets, receive MDA support


ST. PAUL, Minn. – The New Markets Program at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will support 20 Minnesota food companies at three major food and beverage trade events in Chicago, May 21-26. The MDA’s Minnesota Pavilions will host the companies at the National Restaurant Association’s American Food Fair Pavilion, the Sweets & Snacks Expo, and Beverage Alcohol for Restaurants (BAR) 16 at NRA trade events.

A wide variety of food and beverage companies will exhibit in these Minnesota Pavilions, including makers of packaged meals and mixes, sweets and snacks, and craft alcoholic beverages and mixers. All exhibitors hope to connect with potential buyers and distributors to bolster sales in new markets.

More than 62,000 buyers are expected to attend this year’s tradeshows in Chicago, and the MDA Minnesota Pavilions offer a way for Minnesota companies to stand out.

“MDA has the enviable job of helping create a little competitive advantage for our creative food and beverage companies in regional, national, and international markets,” said MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson. That competitive advantage very often results in sales, new distributorships, and more. A recent Minnesota Pavilion event at Natural Products Expo West resulted in projected sales of more than $1.6 million, as reported by participating companies.

The MDA coordinates Minnesota Pavilions at many domestic and international food shows, in an effort to promote Minnesota food and agricultural products, create jobs, and support economic development in the food processing sector. Companies receive discounted booth space, additional marketing support, and assistance during the shows.

“There are many benefits in addition to the funding and discounted booth space, including connecting with other Minnesota food companies,” said Caleb Krienke, founder of Pop’d Kerns of Mountain Lake. Pop’d Kerns has exhibited their snack products with MDA’s Minnesota Pavilions in the past and will be present at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo.

The American Food Fair Pavilion boasts the largest gathering of restaurant and foodservice professionals in North America; the Sweets & Snacks Expo, which claims four acres of candy and snack products, will feature 20% more exhibitors than last year; and the BAR 16 show will feature demonstration lounges and educational sessions.


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