Sales of food and beverages made in New York state at highway rest stops, parks and special events increased 23 percent last year compared with a year earlier.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that his Taste NY program produced $16.1 million in sales of fruits, vegetables, beer, candy, baked goods and other foods from producers in the state. That’s a $3 million increase from 2016. The program’s results reflect increasing consumer demand for local food and beverage products, which supports New York’s agricultural and tourism industries.
“Taste NY has put local products on the map, boosting tourism, helping local craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries grow, and increasing opportunities for producers in every corner of this great state,” said Cuomo last month. ”By connecting consumers across the globe with fresh, locally-grown products, Taste NY continues to support the growth of farms and small businesses across New York.”
The Taste NY initiative has seen steady growth and recognition since it was started in 2013. The program reported sales of $1.5 million in 2014, tripled those figures to $4.5 million in 2015, and $13.1 million in 2016.
The exposure from Taste NY has helped the farms and companies participating in the program to reach more customers, increase online sales, and, in many cases, expand the processing capacity of their business. Taste NY’s food and beverage businesses also support the State’s farmers by using New York grown and produced ingredients in their products.
In the past year, Taste NY made products available at 13 new locations and participated in major, large events, such as The Northern Trust and the New York City Marathon. As part of Cuomo’s plan to construct a state-of-the-art Welcome Center in each region of the state, Taste NY is promoting local products at the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, New York City, and Central New York Welcome Centers, in addition to the Long Island Welcome Center that opened in 2016.
In 2017, Taste NY opened concessions in six additional state parks, bringing high-quality New York food and beverage products to park visitors. Guests can now find New York made food and drinks at a total of 10 properties. In addition, last year, Taste NY launched the state’s first-ever Taste NY Craft Beverage Week in New York City, hosted the Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge with celebrity and professional judges, and held the Taste NY Food Truck Competition and first-annual Craft Beer Competition at the Great New York State Fair.
“Expanded marketing strategies and diversified locations for Taste NY outlets are paying off as consumers show their appreciation by taking advantage of the availability and convenience of top quality, locally grown New York state products,” said Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Bill Magee, D-121, Nelson. “Building on the continued success of the Taste NY program will further promote products into new markets, benefitting agricultural producers and distributers as well as consumers.”
To build on the success of 2017 and further connect New York producers to new markets, Cuomo’s 2018-2019 executive budget proposes additional support for Taste NY. This year, the Department of Agriculture and Markets will identify 10 core food and beverage categories that will be highlighted in New York’s regional Welcome Centers to further strengthen Taste NY branding and tell the stories behind New York’s businesses.
The department will also coordinate with other state agencies on possible new Taste NY locations as infrastructure projects are developed across the state, including the reconstruction of train stations and airports
Additionally, the Department of Agriculture and Markets will host five regional business-to-business taste NY networking events to connect New York farms, food and beverage businesses with buyers from institutions, retail locations, restaurants, bars and distributors.
The Taste NY website, www.taste.ny.gov, will also be transformed to operate as a one-stop resource for residents, visitors, and businesses. The website’s presentation, functionality and resources will be improved to provide better information on New York’s agri-tourism destinations and better connect New York’s producers to new markets.