Albany, NY - December 30, 2015 - Governor Cuomo announced that Taste NY has achieved his goal of tripling gross sales of participating vendors in 2015. In less than one year, total gross sales of New York products from Taste NY events and stores have jumped from approximately $1.5 million in 2014 to over $4.5 million today.
"The momentum behind Taste NY continues and is helping to expand New York's thriving food and beverage industry faster than anyone thought possible," Governor Cuomo said. "I'm proud that our ambitious sales goal has been reached and that these efforts are helping to create jobs, support farmers and small businesses, and get the word out about the world-class products made right here in New York."
Last year, Governor Cuomo called for the further development of Taste NY in order to continue strengthening New York's growing food and beverage industry. This plan added four new Taste NY stores, increased marketing opportunities, established several new partnerships and strengthened connections to consumers across the globe.
The latest piece of this expansion includes a new Taste NY Café at Whiteface Mountain which officially opened its doors last week. This brand new agri-tourism attraction provides visitors the opportunity to try some of the best local food and beverages while enjoying some of the world's best skiing. The Taste NY Café offers a wide range of North Country and New York State agricultural products—from local yogurts, cheeses and baked goods to craft beer, hard cider and wine.
On Sunday, January 3, 2016, New Yorkers are invited to celebrate the Taste NY Café with a grand opening event. Skiers and riders will be able to enjoy New York food and beverages, and other treats and selections. In addition, those who bring a bag of groceries to donate to the local food pantry will receive as much as 50 percent off a lift ticket.
The Taste NY Café at Whiteface builds on the successful concession partnerships forged in 2015 with major venues and sports arenas like the Times Union Center in Albany, as well as Minor League Baseball teams across the State, including the Tri-City Valley Cats and Batavia Muckdogs. Additionally, more than 1,100 vendors and small companies participated in more than 43 Taste NY special events, ranging from the New York State Racing Association’s Belmont Stakes and the Saratoga Race Course to the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally, Summer Fancy Food Show and the Great New York State Fair.
Another key part of Taste NY's success was the addition of four Taste NY stores opened earlier this year bringing the total number of stores to 11. This includes the very first Taste NY store outside of New York State which was established in Old San Juan Puerto Rico and new stores inside travel plazas and rest stops along State highways. The 11 stores have been proving hugely successful with the Taste NY Market at Todd Hill having recently hit a major milestone and bringing in $1 million in sales, and the Grand Central Station store reporting having carried 3,500 different products and having served 53,000 customers in 2015.
Additionally, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets partnered with Empire State Development to provide New Yorkers and visitors worldwide instant access to a list of all the Taste NY agri-tourism destinations through the I LOVE NY mobile app, bringing greater exposure to New York’s food and beverage businesses across the state. The Department also worked with Food Export USA and Empire State Development this year to ensure Taste NY products were included in the Governor Cuomo's trade missions to Cuba and Puerto Rico.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "The Taste NY program is making a significant impact on our farmers and producers, helping to provide exposure for their products and grow their business. New York has some of the most unique and diverse food and beverages in the world, and I couldn’t be happier to see that consumers from across the globe are taking notice and responding to the Taste NY brand to support New York homemade products."
Olympic Regional Development Authority President/CEO Ted Blazer said, "These are healthier products for a healthier lifestyle. This, of course, will give our guests another food outlet, and with its natural food selection, all from New York State. The solarium seats another 100 guests, all of whom can enjoy the various Taste NY products that you would not normally have in the cafeteria. It’s a beautiful setting and it’s going to be a great place for that family member who may not ski to hang out and have a baked item, entrée, cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, and look out at the slopes and still enjoy the experience here."
Anastasia Karloutsos from Old School Favorites in New York City, said, "Working with Taste NY has been a huge blessing for our business. They strongly support local New York State products and small business owners. The Department helped us get our name out into the broader community and reach so many new customers throughout the state and even into Puerto Rico! We are truly thankful for opportunity to sell in their stores, markets and other retail spaces."
Brian Nicholson, president & CEO of Red Jacket Orchards in Geneva, said, "Taste NY has increased the visibility of our fresh cold pressed juices to consumers from across the country who've stopped at one of the Thruway stops. This access to a broad segment of consumers is helping build our brand from regional to national. In fact by the end of October we're excited to be in over 1700 Kroger locations nationwide. Thanks to Taste NY placement, we actually have a chance to reach those consumers as well as expand in our core regional area."
Abby Foster, Director of Marketing & Sales for Gatherer's Gourmet Granola of Schenectady, said, "Gatherer's has been a part of the Taste NY program for three years. During this time, the Taste NY program has afforded Gatherer's many opportunities to market itself like a much bigger company than it actually is, by reducing the upfront costs of attendance at high visibility events, such as the NYS Fair. The program has also provided Gatherer's with unique retail outlets, including the Grand Central Terminal in New York City, and thruway stops throughout New York State. Through my connection with the Taste NY program, I have been introduced to opportunities I would have never taken part in. My local business has improved because of these opportunities and I am very grateful to the Taste NY team."
Taste NY is an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries. It is overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and has created opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at large public events, such as the Great New York State Fair. The program has also opened stores at Thruway rest stops along the state’s highways and in transportation hubs, enabling travelers to buy New York State’s homegrown and homemade products. For more information about Taste NY, please visit www.taste.ny.gov. Connect with Taste NY through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.