The National Restaurant Association (NRA) show hosted their annual trade show at the McCormick Convention Center located in Chicago, IL. Their first show since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 had cancelled the show for 2 consecutive years making this comeback special as it served as a place to gather and converse after a long period of quarantine for many people. With hundreds of exhibitors, it was estimated that over 60,000 people had attended the event over the 4 day period of May 21 – May 24th.
It was our first time attending the NRA show and we were part of the JETRO Japan Pavilion located in the Lakeside Center of the convention center. The event packed 4 days allowed us to meet so many new customer and buyers, allowing us to educate many of our visitors the history and facts of the wasabi plant. We even had some freshly imported wasabi from Japan and demonstrated real wasabi grating methods and allows our visitors to try real wasabi. For those who thought wasabi paste often served in restaurants was real wasabi; this experience was an eye opener and allowed them to enjoy the real taste of wasabi.
As one of the largest food trade shows in North America, there were many attendees from around the country and around the world. It was a perfect opportunity to meet chefs, restaurant owners and buyers from many places. Our Yuzu Oil was especially popular with the crowd as it was a rare product with not much presence in the US.
Overall, the event was very eventful and delightful as we were able to meet so many people from both around the country and the world. We plan on attending more shows this year so if you see us at your next trade show, please stop by and say hello!