Anita makes yogurt. Chitra makes an Indian relish called Achaar. Pooja makes ice cream with native spices from India. And, Marisa makes salt water taffy. This year’s BROOKLYN EATS food and beverage showcase brings a variety of flavors and differing elements, but it also brings a unifying theme — female makers are making their mark on the food manufacturing industry. Sixty-one exhibitors will showcase their food and beverages, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 28 at BKLYN STUDIOS at City Point, and 21 of them will be women-owned businesses.
In Brooklyn, food and beverage manufacturing has grown by 31 percent since 2009 to 7,300 jobs, according to a new economic report from NY State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, women made up almost 42% of the food manufacturing industry nationwide.
The event’s popularity showcases the broader success of Brooklyn’s food and beverage manufacturing scene, an economic force that accounts for the greatest portion of manufacturing jobs in the borough. Brooklyn food manufacturing created over 6,000 jobs during the first half of 2015, and 35 percent of New York City’s food manufacturing jobs are located in the borough.
“Brooklyn’s food and beverage manufacturers are an industrious and spirited bunch of people who are really making an impression on the culinary sector throughout Brooklyn and beyond. Plus, they are environmentally conscious and making use of the borough’s many natural resources to sustain and grow their businesses. We appreciate their participation and thank our sponsors and the city and state legislatures for their essential support,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Acting President Rick Russo.
“BROOKLYN EATS is always a huge success, but this year will be especially successful due to the strength of women entrepreneurs who are manufacturing high-quality, artisanal products right here in Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Denise Arbesu. “It’s great to sample and purchase the results of their hard work, and passion, and to know their production has led to job creation and economic development in the borough.”
“Being in business in Brooklyn is extraordinary from the rest of the world because of the invaluable knowledge and collaborative spirit you can only get from others running businesses here. And, working side by side with fellow women entrepreneurs who started in their own kitchens and at pop-up markets and now have thriving, successful businesses – is so exciting to see. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by these tough, smart and resourceful women,” said Anita’s Yogurt Founder Anita Shepherd.
“It’s exciting to be a new business in Brooklyn. Not only is there support from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, but people are hungry for Brooklyn-Made new, healthy, and organic foods. At Norwegian Baked we are bringing our tradition of Norwegian nutrient-rich crispbread to modern-day Brooklyn with health-conscious quality food that tastes good. It’s even more meaningful to be able to be amongst like-minded women in this business who understand the challenges and are passionate about their successes,” said Norwegian Baked’s Founder and Baker Hedvig Bourbon.
“We have had great success with BROOKLYN EATS and this is our third time exhibiting. It has become a must-visit for everyone in town for the food shows that week, and there are an increasing number of buyers and media every year who focus on the Brooklyn brands and make a point to visit. In fact, we made the connection with our largest customer, who is a national retailer, at BROOKLYN EATS last year,” said Legally Addictive Foods Founder Laura Shafferman.
She added,“being a female founder has been nothing but an advantage in this community and I’ve made so many friends with other incredible women food entrepreneurs since we opened four years ago. New York City is definitely the absolute best place in the country to be a female founder.”
Shafferman was recently part of a panel discussion on women in manufacturing that took place on June 6 at The Noble Experiment as part of the Brooklyn Chamber’s Meet the Makers series. The well-attended event covered topics such as the challenges women face in the manufacturing world, why they located their business in Brooklyn and any advice they would give to fellow entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses. Other panelists included Kimmee Hoffman, co-owner of Greenpoint Trading Co. and Nina Nathel, Operations Manager at Nobletree Coffee. Both companies will exhibit at BROOKLYN EATS.
The Brooklyn Chamber has produced BROOKLYN EATS in some fashion since 1997, when it began as a trade show for Brooklyn restaurants. The aim was to encourage attendees to gain business to the restaurants after the show. Today, BROOKLYN EATS is aimed at local and regional buyers/distributors, restaurateurs and consumers with the aim of increasing visibility and sales of the variety of high quality foods and beverages that are made in Brooklyn. Exhibitors will provide samples of their products and for the first time, in the show’s history, will be able to sell their merchandise.
About the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is the largest and fastest-growing Chamber of Commerce in New York. It was named 2017 Chamber of the Year by The Business Council of New York State. The Chamber promotes economic development across the borough and serves as an advocate for its member businesses. Its mission is to promote a healthy and robust business environment throughout Brooklyn. This year marks the Brooklyn Chamber’s Centennial.