From pizza and hot sauce to skin care and bird seed, several new exhibitors will be among the more than 50 Illinois food companies, wineries, and agricultural associations taking part in the 21st annual Illinois Products Expo this weekend, March 2 and 3, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
The Illinois Products Expo has grown and expanded each year to become a premier showcase of what Illinois companies have to offer, said John M. Sullivan, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Illinois ag is more than rows of corn and soybeans in the fields its also about the thousands of food processing companies that call Illinois home. And this Expo is the perfect opportunity to learn about those operations and support small agribusinesses across our state.
Illinois ranks first in the nation for food processing sales ($186 billion/year), and it is one of our states top manufacturing activities. The 2,372 food processing companies in Illinois support more than 71,000 jobs.
The food offerings, which can be sampled for free as well as purchased at the Illinois Products Expo, include fresh meat products, pizza, sauces, honey, cakes, cheeses, gourmet seasonings, and so much more all produced, packaged, or processed in Illinois. There will also be non-food items, such as soy candles and agricultural-based soaps and lotions on display and available for purchase.
The Illinois Products Expo will be open on Saturday, March 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Admission is $5 per person; children 10 and younger will be admitted free of charge. While food sampling will be free, the beverage tastings are offered at a small cost $5 gets you five tastings and your own wine glass to take home.