Food Show Connects Vendors, Customers

Food Show Connects Vendors, Customers

A DIFFERENT TRADE SHOW FLOOR. Fauquier long-term care residents and their families sample the fare at its recent vendor food show.

Fauquier Health System of Warrenton, VA, recently held a vendor food show with a twist. Rather than foodservice staffers trolling the aisles looking for new products to consider when making out menus in the coming months, the show was opened to the customers—residents of Fauquier’s long-term care facility, as well as their family members. In all, up to 150 people showed up for the three-hour event, held on the facility premises.

The mastermind behind the idea was Vernon Rhea, director of nutrition and food services at Fauquier, who worked with prime vendor FoodPro and a network of food brokers to put together the event. Broker representatives manned the seven stations at the show.

“The residents asked questions and they got questions back,” Rhea says. The interactivity was augmented by comment cards attendees were asked to fill out, asking their opinions about the various foods they sampled at the show. The most popular selections will be added to Fauquier’s sixweek menu cycle.

Among the favorites were a tortilla-topped tilapia filet, flameroasted vegetables and sweet potatoes, orzo Toscano, roasted apple orzo and a fresh garlic roasted chicken breast fillet.

Rhea deemed the event a great success, a verdict apparently seconded by the vendors present, who got a chance to interact with real customers and get direct, unfiltered feedback. Rhea says he plans to hold similar events several times a year from now on.