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March 11, 2014

~Tradeshow connects buyers with Virginia food and beverage products on March 26 in Richmond~
Contact: Sarah Pennington, 804.786.1904

The Virginia Food and Beverage Expo returns to the Greater Richmond Convention Center on Wednesday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), this popular tradeshow connects buyers representing grocery stores, restaurants and gift shops directly with Virginia specialty food and beverage products. The Expo takes place once every two years to promote Virginia products and advance economic development.

With the theme “Timeless Traditions, Trendy Tastes,” this year’s Virginia Food and Beverage Expo will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Virginia’s Finest® trademark program, a designation proudly displayed by many exhibitors. Hundreds of Virginia foods and beverages will be on display, allowing attendees an opportunity to meet one-on-one with producers, select new items and place orders right on the show floor.

“The 2012 Virginia Food and Beverage Expo resulted in estimated one-day sale orders of $1 million, as well as invaluable connections between buyers and exhibitors,” said VDACS’ Marketing Director Charles Green. “This year we’re anticipating our largest Expo ever with more than 140 Virginia exhibitors, an anticipated record number of registered buyers and our popular Best New Product competition.”

Along with traditional Virginia favorites such as ham and peanuts, the event will present a variety of innovative products and creative fare including coffee, chocolates, confections, cheeses, beverages, baked goods, meats, seafood, pasta, snacks, cookies, condiments, dressings, sauces, seasonings, wine, certified organic products and much more. Exhibitors come from across the Commonwealth. Many of the products already have a huge following, while others are brand new to the marketplace.

The Best New Product Competition is a highlight of the show. This year there are more than 60 entries for awards in three categories – Best New Food, Best New Beverage and Best Product Overall. Members of the media and industry professionals serve as judges to select the winners, which are announced in a ceremony at 11 a.m. Past winners include a Bloody Mary drink mix from Virginia Beach, bacon steak from Surry and cold-brewed coffee from Virginia’s Eastern Shore. First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe will present the awards along with Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore.

Another highlight of the event will be the Virginia Commodity Resource Area at the trade show. Several commodity groups have registered to participate as exhibitors including the Virginia Wine Marketing Office, the Virginia Marine Products Board, the Virginia Peanut Growers Association and the Virginia Pork Industry Board.

Key times to note throughout the day-long Expo include:

Food and beverage buyers may register online at Registration is free and encouraged to save time at the show entrance. Members of the media who are interested in attending the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo are encouraged to reach out to Sarah Pennington in the VDACS Office of Communications for registration and the appropriate press credentials. This event is not open to the public and no one under 18 will be admitted.

Expo exhibitors will have an opportunity to donate all leftover samples to The Healing Place of Richmond, a part of Caritas, a nonprofit organization established to provide shelter for the homeless and a long-term residential recovery program for those who are chemically dependent. 

Participants in this year’s Virginia Food and Beverage Expo are encouraged to use the social media hashtag #VAExpo. Follow VDACS on Twitter and Facebook for show-related updates.

VDACS posts all of its news releases on Facebook and Twitter. To receive immediate updates, follow us on Twitter @VaAgriculture or like us on

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