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Restaurant supplier readies trade show in Albany

Restaurant supplier readies trade show in Albany

Annual show by Ginsberg Foods showcases trends and techniques
Restaurant supplier readies trade show in Albany
Albany's new convention center was the reason for Ginsburg Foods' annual trade show coming to the Capital.

ALBANY — A regional food service supplier will be bringing its annual trade show to Albany this year, prompted by new convention space, lining up hundreds of exhibitors to show off (and perhaps influence) current dining trends.

It’s a trade show, open to Ginsberg’s Food customers (and potential customers) but not the public. The Hudson-based company’s entire list of 8,000 customers is invited to the March 26 event; the hope is that at least half will attend.

Ginsberg’s has held its Show & Exposition in Poughkeepsie the past eight years, but for 2018, it’s coming to the Albany Capital Center. There will be 300 exhibitors at 200 booths spread through the entire facility

CEO Suzanne Rajczi said the 1-year-old downtown convention center is better for her company’s purposes.

“Now we have the space, the infrastructure, the parking,” she said, adding, “I get the sense the capital … is more of a destination.”

Ginsberg’s is headquartered near Hudson, where it was founded in 1909. It supplies dining facilities in 49 counties in six states. 

About 3,000 of its accounts are active now, though the number rises in the summer. Its workforce averages 270, but that increases in the summer, as well. The company projects 2018 sales to come in around $170 million.

Rajczi said the exposition has grown to much more than the edible and non-edible supplies her company sells and delivers to food services, dining halls and restaurants. It’s also a showcase of menu trends and kitchen techniques, plus related non-food subjects as varied as insurance, linens and pest control.

“We’re not just about being the low-cost provider, we partner in their business,” she said.

Some of the trends to be featured this year include craft beverages, food to go, and fresh local ingredients.

Representatives from seven craft breweries and one cidery will be on hand, and “The Right Glass for the Right Beer” will be one of the presentations.

Food to go is increasingly popular -- and increasingly easy to arrange, with the help of apps like Uber Eats, Rajczi said. “You’re seeing the trend where the public is looking to get restaurant-quality food at home,” she said.

Fresh and local is huge for the industry and huge for Ginsberg’s, she said: “It’s a big part of where we see growth in our marketplace.” To that end, the company has its 1909 Label, featuring produce and meat from more than 50 local farms, some of which will be present at the show for a Meet The Farmers event.

Rajczi also expects to see a lot of “clean-label” products at the show — antibiotic-free, gluten-free and allergen-free items.

“Fresher, cleaner products really have become the trend," she said.

There should also be a few more-exotic ingredients on display, from charcoal and powdered crickets to seaweed and plant-based protein.

Elsewhere in the Albany Capital Center, chefs from food industry leaders including Campbell’s, ConAgra, McCain and Rich’s will be demonstrating ways to prepare their companies’ products.

Through all this, Ginsberg’s will try to boost its own business while helping customers boost theirs. Institutions serving students and senior citizens are two promising sectors, Rajczi said.

“Assisted-living facilities we see as a tremendous potential market,” she said. “They want surf and turf, they don’t want pureed peas in their menus.”

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