Food firms to meet in Rockport

Posted Oct. 26, 2010, at 11:33 p.m.

ROCKPORT, Maine — About 200 Maine food industry professionals will gather here Thursday to discuss products, distribution, marketing and more at the second annual Maine Food Means Business 2010 Summit.

“At the heart of the day is a speed dating opportunity,” said Valerie Geredien, the executive director of the Maine Food Producers Alliance. The speed dating allows food producers and manufacturers to chat one-on-one with buyers for seven minutes each.

“That will give buyers and sellers an opportunity to talk,” Geredien said.

Pepsi, Coke, Oakhurst and Gritty McDuff’s Brewing will be matched for networking with State of Maine Cheese Co., Lepage Bakeries, the University of Maine, MOFGA and more.

The purpose of the conference, which is sponsored by the Maine Food Producers Alliance and the Maine Grocers Association, is for food producers and distributors to connect.

“[The companies] are making this a priority of doing business together — one Maine business working with another Maine business,” said Shelley Doak, the executive director of the Maine Grocers Association.

In addition to the local connections, the food producers will have the chance to talk with some national distributors.

“We have many producers in Maine who want to sell their product nationally,” Doak said Tuesday. “It’s Maine Food Means Business — but it’s without borders.”

In addition to the speed dating, the conference will host several panel discussions, including “Distribution 101,” a talk about food safety and a discussion about how to access capital in hard economic times.

The conference runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, at the Samoset Resort. For more information visit mainefoodbiz.com.

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