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October 15, 2007

Gov. Blagojevich Announces Trade Show To Promote Illinois Food Products
The Illinois Food Expo is expected to attract thousands of buyers from throughout the Midwest

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced more than 2,500 food buyers have been invited to the 4th Illinois Food Expo, a trade show sponsored by the Illinois Department of Agriculture to promote the consumption of Illinois food products.  The show will be held Wed., Oct. 17, at the Drury Lane Theatre Center in Oakbrook Terrace. 

“Trade shows like this are important to our agricultural economy because food sales create demand for our crops and jobs in our food processing plants,” Gov. Blagojevich said.  “The Illinois Food Expo offers an excellent opportunity for Illinois food companies to build name recognition with buyers who make purchasing decisions for restaurants, grocery stores and catering services throughout the Midwest.”

The list of invitees also includes representatives of wholesale food suppliers, food distributors, convenience stores, hospitals, colleges and universities and state institutions.  The Food Expo will allow them to sample and order products from 55 Illinois food companies.

“Marketing Illinois food products is an important part of our mission,” Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke said.  “Every event we sponsor that creates demand for our agricultural production helps to preserve jobs in an industry that employs nearly 90,000 Illinoisans.”

Illinois ranks third nationally in food processing employment.  It has about 1,500 processing plants, including at least one in 87 of the state’s 102 counties. 

The Illinois Food Expo is scheduled from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.  It will include an elegant buffet table in the center of the theatre and company booths around its perimeter.  The event is for food buyers only and not open to the general public.

A list of the participating companies follows:     
Ahruns Famous, Inc., Crystal Lake
al Gelato Bornay, Inc., Franklin Park
American Kitchen Delights, Inc., Harvey
Athena’s Silverland Desserts, Forest Park
Avatar Teas, Bloomington
Birdie Pak Products, Chicago
Bobby G’s Fine Foods, Milan
Caputo Cheese – Wiscon Corporation, Melrose Park
Chicagoland Foods, Park Ridge
Coffee, Tea & Me, Chicago
Country Bob, Inc., Centralia
Coupla Guys Foods, Chicago
Dell’Alpe Italian Foods – Rubinelli, Inc., Bolingbrook
Devanco Foods, Elk Grove Village
Doreen’s Gourmet Frozen Pizza, Calumet City
E. Formella & Sons, Inc., Woodridge
Elgin Dairy Foods, Inc., Chicago
Food Industry News, Des Plaines
Foulds, Inc., Libertyville
Georgetown Spice Company, Arlington Heights
Goldman’s Gourmet, Inc., Springfield
Green Mountain Flavors, Inc., Oswego
Gusto Packing, Inc., Montgomery
Hannah’s Granna’s, Charleston
International Meat Company, Inc., Chicago
J.D. Mullen Company, Palestine
Jemm Foods, Chicago
Koch Foods, Park Ridge
La Guadalupana Wholesale, Chicago
M & G Foods (Grandpa G’s Brand), Hamilton
Makowski’s Real Sausage Company, Chicago
Manny’s Delicatessen & Frozen Foods, LLC, Chicago
Marconi Foods, Chicago
Mellos Peanut Company, Chicago
Moo and Oink, Inc., Chicago
National Pasteurized Eggs, Lansing
New Packing Company, Inc., Chicago
Noon Hour Food Products, Chicago
Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc., Decatur
Pronto Foods Company, Chicago
Red Cactus USA, Quincy
Ropp Jersey Cheese, Normal
Rose Acre Farms, Germantown
Select Brands, LLC, Chicago
Simply Sno, Crestwood
Sokol & Company, Countryside
Steidinger Foods, Fairbury
Temptation Vegan “Ice Cream,” Chicago
The Puckered Pickle Company, Chicago
Torkelson Cheese Company, Lena
Uncle Mel’s, Inc., Wheeling
Vince & Sons Pasta Company, Bridgeview
Xcell International Corporation, Burr Ridge
Zafi Beverages, Inc., Bensenville
Zarlengo’s Italian Ice & Gelato, Chicago Heights

Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history.  Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges.  Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses.  It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs.  Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.


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