An estimated 20 to 30 thousand shoppers gathered at the Knoxville Convention Center on Oct. 15 and 16 for the opportunity to sample, and even take home, products from over 150 different vendors as supermarket chain Food City hosted its annual Food City Food Show.
Doors opened at 9 a.m. both days to customers whose arms were filled with bags and boxes ready to eat and take home a treasure chest of food ranging from chips and soft drinks to fresh potatoes and bananas.
"It gives the consumer an opportunity to come in and try new products, it gives the venders an opportunity to showcase their products, and it's just a festive event that we feel like the people of Knoxville enjoys," said Emerson Breeden, Food City director of community relations.
Amanda Love, visiting the show for the second year in a row, said that last year she got a sample of Duke's Mayonnaise and has bought Dukes ever since.
It gives the consumer an opportunity to come in and try new products, it gives the venders an opportunity to showcase their products, and it’s just a festive event that we feel like the people of Knoxville enjoys. Emerson Breeden, Food City director of community relations
Venders can be winners at the food show as well.
"We can promote our products to customers that shop at Food City, we provide coupons and product samples and try to get you to try something maybe you haven't tried before, and maybe you'll put it in your shopping cart the next time you're at Food City," said Scott Nichols, Gwaltney representative for Food City.
One booth showcased Food City's newly introduced system for scoring food, NuVal, which is based on positive and negative nutrition factors including: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, cholesterol, sugar and also the quality of those nutrients.
Lori Hamilton, registered nurse and director of Healthy Initiatives for Food City, explained the manufacturers submit their product to NuVal, who uses an algorithm developed at Yale University to determine the NuVal score from one to 100.
"Some companies have already changed their formulations after they saw that they scored lower. It's a great thing for the customers and it helps take some of the confusion out of reading a food label, but the food label is still the gold standard," Hamilton explained.
Tickets to the Food Show were $8 in advance and $10 at the gate, with proceeds going to the United Way of Greater Knoxville. Venders that had leftover food were given the opportunity to donate their food to Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, which feeds families across the region.