News Releases

May 12, 2016

Agency of Ag Connects Vermont Producers and Retail Buyers at Vermont Food Matchmaker Event

On Friday April 29th, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM), in partnership with the Vermont Specialty Food Association (VSFA), Vermont Retail & Grocers Association, and the Vermont Fresh Network, hosted its 7th Vermont Food Matchmaker event in Burlington. Featuring 54 Vermont producers and 40 buyers from 30 retail establishments, the Matchmaker event is a key component of the VAAFM's domestic export program, which focuses on assisting Vermont food and forest businesses in making and maintaining connections with buyers, brokers and distributors in both in-state and out-of-state markets.

The sold-out event was attended by Vermont producers from the dairy, maple, fruit and vegetable, meat and specialty food sectors and featured an exclusive 2-hour Vermont product trade show open only to buyers and media influencers, as well as pre-arranged "speed meetings" - the equivalent of speed dating for buyers and sellers. Participating producers were also eligible to attend a free seminar, How to Have the Most Successful Trade Show, instructed by Specialty Food Coach Deb Mazzaferro. The 30 seminar attendees learned a range of trade show-related skills, including how to create an elevator pitch, understanding qualifying questions, and how to evaluate the return on investment after exhibiting at a specific show.

Buyers looking for high quality Vermont products traveled from as far away as Virginia to meet with new and emerging Vermont businesses such as Black River Meats and Joe's Kitchen at Screaming Ridge Farm, in addition to some of Vermont's more well-known businesses such as Lake Champlain Chocolates and Butternut Mountain Farm. Impressed by the range of high quality of Vermont products, buyers left the Matchmaker event excited to introduce Vermont products to their customers.

"We greatly appreciated the opportunity to attend the Vermont Food Matchmaker Event," said Costco Wholesale Vice President Jim Stafford. "We were impressed with the quality and capabilities of so many of the Vermont suppliers. We look forward to bringing Vermont products to market both in our local Costco and other Northeast locations."

Vermont producers were equally pleased by the quality and variety of the buyers in attendance, noting that making buyer connections can be challenging. "It can often be difficult to get meetings with buyers due to their busy schedules," said Kate Weiler of Drink Maple. "Especially for emerging food and beverage companies. To have these meetings facilitated for us was priceless."

"Through the Vermont Food Matchmaker I have been able to meet with large multi-state buyers." Said Joe Buley of Joe's Soups at Screaming Ridge Kitchen. "I came away from this event knowing that state and association leaders are working to build market opportunities for Vermont companies, which are critical to helping us grow and expand our businesses."

The Matchmaker event was made possible by the VAAFM, in partnership with the Vermont Specialty Food Association, Vermont Retail & Grocers Association, and Vermont Fresh Network. For more information about the VAAFM's Domestic Export program, please visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/producer_partner_resources/market_access_development/domestic_export

Media Contact: Reg Godin, Senior Market Development Specialist, reg.godin@vermont.gov, 802.522.3648

Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Last Updated at: May 12, 2016 16:18:14