Connecticut Specialty Food Web Site Blazes New Trail With CtFoodTrail.com

Publish Notes: 

Taste Of New England Keene, NH 2004

Connecticut Specialty Food Web Site Blazes New Trail With CtFoodTrail.com
Connecticut Specialty Food Web Site Blazes New Trail With CtFoodTrail.com

WEST HARTFORD, CT. - Brian and Jennie Wittman, owners of the Connecticut-based Wittman Specialty Foods and Nip 'N Tang gourmet fruited horseradish sauce, are joining forces with the Connecticut Food Association (CFA) to launch CTFoodTrail.com, a web site designed to showcase specialty food companies throughout the state.


Photos courtesy of the Ct. Food Association

The focus of the Connecticut Food Trail is to enhance the marketing, promotion and sales of Connecticut-based specialty food brands both in-state and nationwide. The site will combine the talents and know-how of gourmet and specialty food producers, distributors, marketers, retailers, and restauranteurs, as to network together and promote the rich bounty of specialty food products the state has to offer.

The Wittman's originally entered the specialty food business by accident. "We had been buying Nip 'N Tang for many years," Brain Wittman said in a recent interview. "When we discovered it was no longer being made, we decided to buy the company and reestablish the brand.

"In January of 2005, my wife Jennie and I closed on the sale of the company, and from there we redesigned the packaging," Wittman continued. "Then we launched the web site, and brought the company to national recognition within a six month period."

Since reviving Nip 'N Tang, Brian and Jennie now have over a dozen representatives throughout New England and the mid west, and are expanding their territory westward on a monthly basis.

"After a feature in the New York Times, the exposure launched the web-side of the business to where we became Amazon.com's top-selling gourmet food for several days," Wittman said. And now here the Wittman's are, readying the new CTFoodTail.com site that will offer free listings to participating specialty food companies, and other advertising and sponsorship opportunities as well.

"I presented the web site idea to Grace Nome, president of the CFA, as a member-benefit program to her associates. There is no cost for Connecticut-based specialty food manufacturers to be listed on the site and Wittman Specialty Foods is funding the entire program."

The CFA is a food industry trade association that works on critical industry issues that effect both state and public policy. Their membership includes major food chains and independent grocers, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and specialty food producers.

In addition, joining members of the CFA who participate in the site will have a listing upgrade to include a minister web page to showcase their product or establishment in full color. Members of the Connecticut Food Trail will also be included on the 'food trail map', and in all outgoing correspondence to help increase exposure.

Visitors to the new site, which is due to go live on January 1, 2006, will be offered a "menu" of services which includes profiles from various specialty food companies throughout the state. Visitors can explore lists of these companies by name, category or special interest.

The CTFoodTrail.com site will be utilized by not only specialty food consumers and manufacturers, but also retailers, restaurant owners and distributors alike. The site will provide a creative, alternative venue for these Connecticut-based food businesses to advertise their product and services to the world, as well as helping consumers to discover the many flavors of this ever-growing industry.

Retailers can also utilize the promotional opportunities to showcase various Connecticut-based specialty food products, and also offer specials through a coupon mechanism built into the web site. This is an innovate tool to measure the interest consumers have in particular products.

In exchange, these various companies, retailers, and restaurant will help to promote the web site program. Participating retailers will carry at least five Connecticut-based specialty food products in their store, and restaurants will offer two dishes per week that utilize a Connecticut specialty food product. Stores and restaurants will also display a window seal and brochures promoting the CTFoodTrail.comsite.

"I love this program," Nome stated in a recent Wittman Specialty Foods press release. "All of CFA's members and visitors to CTFoodTrail.com will certainly benefit from the site's contents. This will put our membership base of fine specialty food makers 'on the map'."

"I founded the web site in order to assist my fellow manufacturers in the marketing and promotion of their fine products," Wittman states. "The Connecticut Food Trail is the 'gateway of New England's finest specialty foods'- and the portal for tourists and 'foodies' alike, visiting the state to discover where to buy our products."

The main attraction of the site will be an interactive map that the visitor creates, after indicating what counties they will be travelling through. Once the information is submitted, a "roadmap" will be printable from the users' browser. The map will indicate participating retailers and restaurants by location, as well as special promotions that are available. "The site will also contain news and events, menus and recipes, and a blog for foodies," Wittman says. " Also, restaurants and retailers will be able to post help wanted and special interest listings on the site as well.

To learn more about this up and coming specialty food site, visit www.CTFoodTrail.com. You can also visit the Connecticut Food Association web site at www.ctfoodassociation.com., and for Wittman Specialty Foods
visit www.nipntang.com