NEW YORK – Two food industry organizations have formed a partnership aimed at strengthening the specialty food segment. The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Specialty Food Association (SFA) have joined forces to strengthen business development, engage food safety training and raise awareness and understanding of the growing specialty food industry.

Setting the stage for the launch of the SFA-FMI partnership is the Summer Fancy Food Show, the largest specialty food industry trade show in North America, which is scheduled for June 25-27 at the Javits Center in New York. Members of FMI are invited to attend the show to participate in Biz Builders 1:1, a customized buyers program with SFA manufacturers. Biz Builders unites pre-matched buyers and sellers for one-on-one meetings before the show.

Additionally, attendees are invited to participate in FMI’s Safety Quality Foods (SQF) Institute Certification programs in which food safety experts from FMI lead educational seminars featuring trends in food safety and the impact of technology on food safety, brand protection and consumer confidence.

“Consumer trends point to continued specialty and organic growth, so it’s imperative that the food retail industry meet this consumer need, while making the necessary investment to secure the food supply by building trusting relationships with specialty product trading partners,” said Leslie Sarasin, FMI president and CEO.

SFA President Phil Kafarakis noted that specialty foods present retailers and foodservice operators with a unique opportunity to increase sales. “SFA looks forward to partnering with FMI in business-building programs with our respective members,” Kafarakis said. “We believe this strategic partnership will have a positive impact throughout the industry.”