Chicago, Ill., June 18, 2019 — Nearly 5,000 industry professionals joined KeHE in the Windy City for the record-breaking 2019 KeHE Holiday Show, June 12-13. Filled with more than 750 exhibitors, Chicago’s McCormick Place was buzzing with innovative new items and tried and true favorites for retailers to purchase, learn and experience for the upcoming holiday season. Attendees explored innovative items featured in the OnTrend® Pavilion, which also highlighted items from fellow Certified B Corporations and KeHE’s 2019 CAREtrade™ partners including Bhakti, Nuttzo, The Soulfull Project, This Bar Saves Lives and World Centric.
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“The amount of innovation our suppliers have on display at our shows continues to raise the bar,” said Brandon Barnholt, President & CEO, KeHE. “Our retailers depend on our shows to taste and see OnTrend® items and to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to their category sets. We’re proud of the marketplace we’ve created at the Holiday Show that allows our attendees to experience and explore all KeHE has to offer in the specialty, natural & organic, and fresh arenas.”
Barnholt kicked off the show with his annual President’s Address about the state of the industry, where it’s going, and ways KeHE is growing and evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of their retail and supplier partners.
Day two of the show saw the exciting launch of KeHE’s Serving Goodness event, where thousands of attendees volunteered to help pack 50,000 meals for local, Chicago families in need, that featured products donated by show exhibitors – all in under 45 minutes. The event, aligned with KeHE’s servant culture, was a manifestation of KeHE’s business converging with the heart of KeHE Cares™.
“After partnering with the Children’s Hunger Fund for a similar event at Expo West, we knew we wanted to bring this experience to our own shows and create a community of goodness with our own attendees,” said Ari Goldsmith, Executive Director of Marketing, KeHE. “With nearly 5,000 attendees, many hands made light work, and we were able to make a tremendous impact before hitting the Exhibit Hall for day two! We’re very thankful for the big heart of the KeHE community who helped us SERVE to make lives better.”
Resounding feedback from attendees was that KeHE curated the best from the food landscape. Katie Paul, KeHE’s Vice President Category Management & Growth Solutions said, “Our team is out year-round looking for the next best seller, and this show allows us to share those findings, backed by trend data from our expert team, to create successful in-store solutions. We also took it one step further, using our Innovation Gurus’ expertise to sample, evaluate, and crown the first class of OnTrend® Award winners.”
Ten exhibitors were chosen to win OnTrend® Awards:
- OnTrend® Beverage: Vitacup
- OnTrend® Condiments: 4th & Heart
- OnTrend® Confections & Baking: Justin’s
- OnTrend® Fresh: Mush
- OnTrend® Frozen: Base Culture
- OnTrend® General Merchandise: The Bear & The Rat: Cool Treats For Dogs
- OnTrend® Health & Wellness: Good Goo
- OnTrend® Mission-Based Brand: Vital Farms
- OnTrend® Snack Foods & Bars: Artisan Tropic
- OnTrend® Staple Goods & Grains Nutiva
- OnTrend® Best of Show: Nuttzo
Following the show, the KeHE community donated nearly 40,000 pounds of food products to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
The 2020 KeHE Summer Show will be held February 4-5 in New Orleans, LA. The show is invite-only. For more information, visit KeHE.com.
With its nationwide distribution network, KeHE provides natural & organic, specialty & fresh products to chain and independent grocery and natural food stores and other specialty product retailers throughout North America. KeHE is an employee-owned, B Corporation certified, company with over 5,000 employees in the U.S. and Canada. Where KeHE Goes, Goodness Follows.® For more about KeHE, visit KeHE.com or check out our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & LinkedIn.