Brooklyn, NY — The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce shattered records at its annual Brooklyn Eats event on Friday, June 23, hosting more exhibitors and attendees than ever before in the event’s 21-year history. Ninety-two vendors served Brooklyn-made food and drinks to more than 1,000 attendees. The event’s popularity showcased the broader success of Brooklyn’s food-and-beverage manufacturing scene, an economic force that accounts for the greatest portion of manufacturing jobs in the borough. Brooklyn food manufacturing created more than 6,000 jobs during the first half of 2015, and 35 percent of New York City’s food-manufacturing jobs are located in the borough.
The Chamber also conducted its first-ever survey of Brooklyn Eats manufacturers, which provided an insightful snapshot of some of the recent Brooklyn growth in that industry. Seventy-five percent of respondents to the survey indicated that they planned to hire more people in the future. In addition, respondents had a median income of $2 million and had been in business for a median of six years. The latter statistic varied; vendors had been in business for as little as two months and as long as 87 years. Respondents had an average of 14 employees. The survey also showed that a common difficulty Brooklyn Eats vendors face is the cost of commercial space in the borough.
Brooklyn Eats exhibited cuisines from all over the world, such as Brooklyn Delhi, which produces the Indian relish achaar, and Island Pops, which makes Caribbean ice cream flavors.
This year’s Brooklyn Eats also featured producers and purveyors of kosher foods such as Gold Star Smoked Fish, King Solomon Foods, The Matzo Project and others.
“We were incredibly pleased to be able to honor over 80 food manufacturers and over 1,000 guests at this year’s Brooklyn Eats,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Andrew Hoan. “Food-and-drink manufacturing represents a thriving portion of the Brooklyn economy; in 2015, more jobs opened up in the food-and-beverage industry than in any other retail segment in the borough. We’ll continue to encourage such spectacular growth by promoting the food-and-drink industry throughout Brooklyn and beyond. Many thanks to our sponsors and the city and state legislatures for their essential support.”
“Brooklyn Eats was a huge success this year, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our food manufacturers, buyers and Brooklynites,” said Brooklyn Chamber Board chair Denise Arbesu. “It’s great to see not just the delicious products that come out of the borough, but also the dedication producers show in making and manufacturing here, which leads to job creation and economic development.”
“Congratulations to Brooklyn Eats for another successful trade show,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Our borough has such a wonderful array of food and beverage producers and distributors ranging across all kinds of cuisines, products and tastes. The food industry employs thousands of people across the borough, fueling our economy and filling our stomachs. I encourage further collaboration among our culinary creators to grow more jobs, cross-pollinate innovative ideas and further cement Brooklyn as a global foodie destination.”
“One of my favorite times of the year is when I get the date for Brooklyn Eats. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce knows the importance of food and drinks to Brooklynites, which is why this event is such a great success. It provides an opportunity for all our local Brooklyn businesses to highlight their delicious food and drinks. While many people love Brooklyn because it’s “hip” or has a great music scene, I love it because of the food,” said Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol.
“Building on our successful Cinderella community-development program, National Grid is increasing its economic-development initiatives to help create jobs, stimulate growth and deliver new energy sources in the New York region,” said Ken Daly, National Grid New York president. “National Grid is proud to partner with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to showcase Brooklyn-made products. By working together we are promoting sustainable growth and creating an environment where businesses can thrive and grow.”
The Brooklyn Chamber has produced Brooklyn Eats in some fashion since 1997, when it began as a trade show for Brooklyn restaurants. The aim was to encourage attendees to patronize the restaurants after the show.
Today, Brooklyn Eats vendors represent a variety of types of businesses, from restaurants to food manufacturers. Some have production facilities in the borough, and others work out of smaller spaces.