Winter Fancy Food Show 2018 Registration – Everything You Wanted To Know (But Were Afraid To Ask)

The Fancy Food Show is currently the largest industry trade show in North America, with the 2018 Winter Show projected to host over 1,400 exhibitor booths at the Moscone Center in January. We at the SFA continue to refine the experience and deliver greater value to exhibitors and attendees alike by ensuring the most professional atmosphere for tasting, learning, and networking. With registration opening this week for the 2018 Winter Show, I wanted to take this opportunity to address some of the most frequently-asked questions from the past couple of Shows about some recent changes to the attendee registration process. Below is a quick guide to registering for the Winter Show as a non-exhibiting attendee:
Why has the process changed? The Fancy Food Show is a trade-only, business-to-business event. To provide the most professional, trade-friendly atmosphere and the most effective environment for buyers to buy and exhibitors to sell, we have made a few changes to the registration process to ensure that folks attending are, in fact, part of or affiliated with the trade. All you need to do is identify your type of business, and have one or two documents ready when you go to register. 
How much does it cost to attend? Prices vary on your business classification, and are also dependent on the type of pass you want to purchase.  Scroll down the registration page for pass options and pricing. 
Are there any discount codes? There are currently no plans for discount codes, but we are running discounted, advanced pricing through Friday, December 8, 2017.
What are the business classifications? There are five business classifications (SFA-sanctioned definitions of each below) and each requires certain documentation to qualify:
  • Manufacturer You manufacture products for sale. This category includes third parties that produce finished products for other companies (contract manufacturers) and brand owners utilizing a contract manufacturer. 
  • Retailer You own or work for a retail operation. This includes ecommerce, mail order, or web-based catalogs. Your store and/or catalog must sell more than one manufacturer's product line to an end consumer. If you only sell one manufacturer's product line, see Manufacturer. 
  • Distributor  You and/or your company buy and resell products to retail or foodservice operations. This category includes wholesalers, distributors, importers, and exporters of finished products. To qualify for the Distributor classification, you must be a third-party distributor of more than one manufacturer's line of products in addition to any brands owned by your company. 
  • Foodservice Your business and/or institution sells prepared foods to the end consumer. The Foodservice category includes restaurants, hospitals, caterers, cafeterias, and lodging establishments. 
  • Business Services/Other You or your company provides products and/or services that support the business functions of Retailers, Distributors, Foodservice, and/or Manufacturers. This category includes private and public companies, as well as government agencies that work for or represent the people and companies in the previous categories in areas such as advertising, public relations, banking, consulting, lab work, research, transportation/logistics, and warehousing. This category also includes brokers and independent sales representative.
What kind of credentials will I need to qualify? Depending on your classification, you will need certain documents to prove that are part of the trade. Here is the list, by category, of what you’ll need for registration:
Please provide one of the following:
Website describing manufacturing process
Product catalog
Letter of Intent from Lawyer or Bank must state business type as well as anticipated open date. (Only acceptable for new businesses.)

Buyers (Retailer, Distributor, Foodservice)
Pick 1 document from this list:   
Personal Business Card
Culinary Certificate or Degree
Company Identification Card
Company email address (i.e. Yourname@
Plus 1 document from this list:         
Business license or retail sales tax license (must be a copy of the document itself)
Active website link that directly sells products from multiple manufacturers to an end consumer, retailer, manufacturer, or foodservice 
Product catalog/specialty food order showing multiple product lines.
Letter of intent from lawyer or bank - must state business type as well as anticipated open date. Only acceptable for new businesses.
Invoices of specialty food purchases dated (within the past 6 months.) Purchase orders and handwritten invoices are not acceptable.
Business Services 
Please provide one of the following:
Website that provides information detailing Business Services
School ID
While we’ve listed documents above that are acceptable for each area, there are some documents we unfortunately cannot accept for any category:
Tax ID or EIN 
Seller's permit 
A photo or screenshot of your website
A photo of a dish created or you in the kitchen 
A menu
A generic store/restaurant business card
What if I have questions, or need help registering? For registration assistance, please contact the customer service line at 224-563-3141, or (Note: All registration, including badges, is handled via our vendor, Compusystems.  Inquiries sent to will need to be forwarded. Please use the other channels provided for a speedy response.)
Finally, be sure to stop by the SFA website, where you’ll find additional resources to help you plan your show, including a San Francisco city guide, and tips for attendees
We look forward to an outstanding Winter Fancy Food Show, and seeing you in San Francisco!
Posted by Justin Wollenhaupt on Sep 28, 2017 11:00 AM America/New_York