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  • Turning Hurdles Into Opportunities

    Denise Purcell

    The annual 12 Under 35: Breakout Talent to Watch individuals are just what I needed right now.

    We’re all navigating a reality of business uncertainty, likely COVID-19 resurgence, brutal political division and social unrest, and discovering
    people who are making a positive contribution despite—and sometimes in response to—the tumult is even more inspiring in the calamity that’s been 2020.

    Among these enterprising young entrepreneurs you’ll read about, are a 16-year-old chef who challenged racial inequality in culinary reporting, a cultural preservationist whose CSA distributes products from Black-owned farms in North Carolina, a chef who turned his restaurant into a food bank in the early days of COVID-19, and a fifth-generation coffee farmer who is providing a more reliable income for Colombian growers. They and the rest of the members of this year’s list are a lesson in turning hurdles into opportunities.

    So, too, are the makers we highlight throughout this issue. In this Q&A Managing Editor Julie Gallagher talks with three companies who are shifting strategy in the age of COVID-19. Whether launching new items to gel with changing consumer buying habits or pushing through with initial product plans, these companies displayed agility during disruption.

    If you need more inspiration, peruse the list of 2020 sofi winners. As Ron Tanner, SFA’s vice president of education, content, and advocacy, points out, “The pandemic has challenged the supply chain, but specialty food entrepreneurs continue to show creativity in their kitchens.”

    These examples show an industry moving ahead, seizing opportunity, and innovating in ways large and small to keep competitive amid ambiguity. We have our own examples of the same here at SFA. I hope by now you’ve heard about and downloaded our new app, SFA Feed. It compiles all the useful content you are used to from us in one convenient platform. You’ll find the day’s news stories, features, Q&As, trends, the latest new product introductions from our online Product Marketplace, videos with industry leaders, SFA updates on programs and events, and the digital edition of Specialty Food magazine—all in one place to keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in our industry. And we continue to distribute our industry newsletter—renamed SFA News Daily—to showcase each day’s top news from the app.

    Our team is excited about growing this resource with even more original content, including an upcoming new podcast, to serve our audience. If you haven’t yet checked out SFA Feed, download it in the iOS App Store or in GooglePlay. It’s evolving into our main content platform for
    delivering the news, trends, products, and updates you need to know about, and the Association is proud to be innovating to bring you new and useful tools to help keep you informed.


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