Paul Tavilla puts out red onions at the Harvest Club booth at the Fun Fest Food Show. Photo by Ned Jilton II.
KINGSPORT — The inaugural Fun Fest Food City Food Show featured 55 booths with food samples from departments like produce, bakery, deli, snack and breakfast foods and more at the Civic Auditorium on Friday.
Sponsored by Food City and WKPT-TV, the event raises awareness of companies’ new items as well as locally grown produce available in Food City stores.
“It all goes to charity,” said Ron Bonacci, vice president of marketing at Food City. “Second Harvest Food Bank will benefit both with the products that are left over, if we have any, and the proceeds will go to Second Harvest. So it’s all about charity. It’s about supporting the community and getting the vendors to touch the customers who come in the doors who get a chance to try products that they carry.”
Some of the participating vendors are Kellogg’s, Smithfield, Smuckers, Valleydale, Taylor Farms, Campbell’s, Haddon House, Milo’s and Harvest Club.
Food City also hosted a cake decorating station featuring Rebecca Loughead, the first-place winner at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association national cake decorating competition. She works at the Greeneville, Tenn., location.
“We’re very proud to have her at Food City,” said Bonacci.
The show gives people an opportunity to try new foods to potentially change or improve their grocery shopping habits.
Martha Ewers said all the samples have been really good and that she thought attending the event would affect some of what she bought at the store.
“We’ve enjoyed it,” she said. “It’s been a pleasure.”
One way Food City is helping promote healthy shopping and disease prevention is with the NuVal System. A station at the show teaches people about it, and they also visit schools and host nutrition seminars. The system scores food on a scale of one to 100 based on nutrition facts. The scores are displayed on shelf tags, scale labels and signs throughout the store.
“We think it’s a great service to our community because we focus on helping in whatever way we can,” said Audrey Keslar, Food City’s registered dietitian.
Along with nutrition information, Food City and other companies are giving out coupons and hosting a non-perishable food drive for Second Harvest.
“Food City is really a good grocery store,” said Nancy Johnson, who was visiting from Morristown, Tenn. “They donate to a lot of things in Knoxville that I’ve been to. They always donate stuff to the races, they’re always there for the people. ... Really, they’re good for the community.”
The Fun Fest Food City Food Show continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.