From left, Phil Kafarakis, Rusty Schwartz, Pradeep Elankumaran, Shannon Allen and Ethan Brown at the Winter Fancy Food Show.

SAN FRANCISCO — A number of concepts presented at the Winter Fancy Food Show challenge today's notions about food — how it’s made, how it’s purchased and how it’s eaten. The Specialty Food Association, which owns and produces the Fancy Food Shows, featured future-focused programming and leading-edge innovation from organizations and universities tackling issues such as food waste and sustainability.

Phil Kafarakis, Specialty Food Associaton
Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association

“Our heritage and legacy at the Specialty Food Association is about shaping the future of food,” said Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association, during a Jan. 23 presentation at the Winter Fancy Food Show.

Mr. Kafarakis hosted a panel discussion featuring four entrepreneurs who have created new platforms in retail, food service, product development and distribution.

“We’ve been hearing from these very clever people — different channels, different products, but it seems it’s the same kind of passion,” Mr. Kafarakis told specialty food manufacturers and retailers attending the presentation. “There’s always someone trying to fill their own personal need, which is why we are calling you the ‘food innovation nation.’ Because someone had a problem and took it upon himself to solve it for himself and for other people like them.”

Read on to learn more about how four individuals are transforming the industry.