Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Taste NY sales increased to a record $17.8 million in 2018. Total gross sales of New York products from Taste NY events and locations last year, including the opening of six brand new Taste NY Markets in Welcome Centers across the State, increased by $1.7 million over the previous year. The continued year-over-year growth reflects increasing consumer demand for local food and beverage products.
"Taste NY continues to provide unprecedented support to our farms and food and beverage businesses, further bolstering the agricultural and tourism industries that are so critical to local economies across the state," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is proud to connect consumers across the globe with fresh, locally grown products and we will continue to empower our farmers, growers and producers to expand their businesses while promoting tourism in every corner of this great state."
"From maple syrup, to dairy, to fruits and vegetables, New York produces an amazing variety of high-quality agricultural products," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Our Taste NY program showcases the best we have to offer with sales continuing to increase, growing the tourism industry and supporting the economy of New York State."
Since its creation in 2013, the Taste NY initiative has seen steady growth as evidenced by the program's reported sales increasing from $1.5 million in 2014 to $16.1 million in 2017. Taste NY benefits both local farmers and New York's agricultural industry as a whole. Exposure from Taste NY has helped the farms and companies participating in the program to reach more customers, increase online sales, and expand processing capacity, while Taste NY's food and beverage businesses support the State's farmers by using New York grown and produced ingredients in their products.
In the past year, six new Taste NY Markets opened at Welcome Centers in the North Country, Adirondacks, Finger Lakes, Western New York, Hudson Valley/Catskills, and the Capital Region. These facilities build on the success of the centers that opened in 2017 and 2016, promoting the State's local tourism industry and encouraging the purchase of local food and beverages. In addition, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets identified ten core food and beverage categories that were highlighted in New York's regional Welcome Centers to further strengthen Taste NY branding and tell the exciting stories behind New York's businesses.
In 2018, the Department also coordinated with other State agencies on Taste NY locations at five newly revitalized train stations and airports across the State, including the Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Greater Rochester Airport, Plattsburgh International Airport, and Elmira Corning Regional Airport.
Additionally, the Department hosted five regional Business-to-Business Taste NY Networking events to help connect New York farms, food and beverage businesses with buyers from institutions, retail locations, restaurants, bars, and distributors. Events were held on Long Island, in the Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, Western New York and Capital Regions. Across all events, more than 550 vendors and buyers participated.
Taste NY has recently participated in major events such as the Saratoga Race Track and the New York State Fair, where it sponsored the Taste NY Food Truck Competition and the Taste NY Marketplace. Taste NY also continued its partnerships with sports venues and concessions across the state, such as the Frontier Field in Rochester and the Times Union Center in Albany.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Taste NY continues to successfully promote New York's tremendous agricultural community—from its farmers and producers to its innovative food and beverage companies that are using New York ingredients to create some of the best food in the world. Thanks to our Taste NY vendors, our stores and operators, and all our partners, we have strengthened the Taste NY brand, helping our businesses connect with new markets and our consumers discover great new products."
Senator Jen Metzger, Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee said, "The Taste NY program has had another successful year promoting the rich diversity of agricultural products grown and produced in our state, largely by family-owned farms. The exposure provided by Taste NY vendors, stores, and events has expanded the market reach of our farms as well as the opportunities for consumers to purchase high-quality, fresh local foods."
Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Donna Lupardo said, "Any time consumers have the chance to buy fresh products directly from their local farmer, they're going to take it. This increase in sales shows that customers are taking an even bigger interest in buying local. I commend my partners in state government for their continued commitment to promoting our agricultural industry."
Dr. Chris Watkins, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, said, "The excitement associated with the new stores around the State has enabled our local associations to expand their outreach to communities. CCE is focused on education and support of economic growth, and so Taste NY stores provide the opportunity for Cornell University and CCE to increase our roles with farmers, producers, and small business to help bring products to shelf. The economic impact of Taste NY on our local farms, producers, and businesses has a multiplier effect that yields more land use, job creation, and a strong, vibrant economy."
Chuck Rhoades, Owner of Willet Hop & Grain, said, "Taste NY has been a tremendous benefit for my maple business. Being able to supply our products at the beautiful Southern Tier Welcome Center is an amazing sales advantage. Our value-added maple products are flying off the shelves!"
Chris Wilson, Owner of LunaGrown Jam and Marmalade, said, "One of the more challenging aspects for small business manufacturers is brand recognition. Taste NY in Broome County has provided an outlet for us to reach new customers, grow our business, and increase our customer base."
Michele Bleichert, Owner of Water Street Brewing Company, said, "In 2018, we launched our packaged products business with gourmet mustards and sauces. We believe we have some amazing products and, coupled with opportunities to showcase them, our nascent business can and will grow exponentially. The Taste NY program and the support of their terrific staff has been especially helpful in giving us exposure that we may not have had otherwise, whether selling in the Taste NY stores, the Farmers Market, or at specialty events. The results have been terrific."
Sean Cook, Owner of Saucy Hog, said, "Taste NY gives our company increased recognition as a New York State business. With consumer demand for locally made products increasing every year, Taste NY puts our sauces right in front of consumers who support the local movement. We can't think of any other store that works so hard to benefit small businesses in New York."
For more information about Taste NY, please visit http://www.taste.ny.gov. Connect with Taste NY through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Contact the Press Office
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
10B Airline Drive
Albany, New York 12235
The Great New York State Fair
581 State Fair Boulevard
Syracuse, New York 13209