$1.7 million increase over 2017 through Taste NY stores and welcome center markets, concessions and events
Gov. Andrew Cuomo 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," 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 Lt. Gov. 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 New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets identified 10 core food and beverage categories that were highlighted in New York's regional welcome centers to further strengthen Taste NY branding and tell the 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.