On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, Maui Food Technology Center (MFTC) held their 1st Annual Supply and Service Expo at the Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani. The event, which attracted nearly 500 attendees, offered assistance to new or existing food producers working on developing a product and getting it into the marketplace, entrepreneurs planning to expand their network opportunities and resources, and consumers interested in attending the tradeshow and hearing the latest from experts in the food manufacturing, distribution and hospitality industries.

Nearly 50 exhibitors participated in the tradeshow which featured manufacturers and distributors of food, ingredients, equipment and packaging supplies; dealers, brokers and traders; business services and educational groups that work with the food and hospitality industries; and brand identity and marketing industry professionals.

Presentations were also made by industry experts: Dr. Aurora Saulo, Professor and Extension Specialist in Food Technology with the University of Hawaii Maui College on “Food Safety Certified: What Does That Mean?”; Marc McDowell, Executive Chef of Makena Resort on “Developing Local Products From Start To Finish”; Marty Parisien, Co-Owner/CEO at Singing Dog Vanilla on Social Media and Mike Abrams, MFTC Founder and Owner of Flavor Waves, on “Networking for Flavor Success.”

“I thought the Expo was very successful,” said Abrams. “My company’s booth was visited by a number of potential new clients, many of whom, I have never heard of before and right here on Maui. As a result, we are sending several new flavor samples out to be tried in new food products.”

The Maui Cookielady also posted on her Facebook, “Mahalo for an incredible convention. We learned so much, made awesome connections and found valuable services and ingredients we had no idea existed in Hawaii.”

Maui Food Technology Center is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to growing Hawaii’s food industry, connecting students, food producers and farmers through the practice of food science.

Major event sponsors included: County of Maui Office of Economic Development, Fred Baldwin Memorial Fund, Tri-Isle Resource Conservation and Development, The Maui News, KPOA-93.5 FM, MauiNow.com, and Maui Printing Company.