Annual show offers local businesses opportunity to sell in commissaries, exchanges

News

When it comes to locally made food and products, Hawaii has a lot to offer.

On Tuesday, businesses got a shot at selling their goods in a bigger market.

Sixty-five companies showcased hundreds of products at the 2018 Daniel K. Akaka ALA Hawaii Food Show and Conference for buyers from the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) and the Military Exchanges.

Booths offered everything from chocolate, sauces, baked goods, produce, meats, fish, and coffee.

The hope is to get their products sold at military commissaries and exchanges first in Hawaii, then eventually on the mainland and around the world.

“I love the opportunity that we are able to take local companies and put their products into the commissaries and exchanges for service members and their families,” said Sharon Zambo-Fan, American Logistics Association Hawaii. “What happens is it earns a special place in their heart so when they rotate away from Hawaii and they see product in commissaries worldwide, it brings back memories. It’s wonderful.”

Last year’s show resulted in 500 new items selected for inclusion in the military system, including products from 23 new companies that had previously never done business with DeCA and combined military exchanges.

“This extends the reach, and because people do move around, word of mouth gets out and it takes off, so we’re happy to help support these business folks as they support us,” said Robert Bianchi, Navy Exchange Service Command CEO. 

The show was named after the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who helped get the show started over two decades ago.

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