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ANAHEIM, Calif. — “To be more than a trade show.”
That’s how Mike Eardley, president and CEO of the Madison, Wis.-based International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA), explained the evolution of the trade group’s annual expo, IDDBA 17, which wrapped up Tuesday in Anaheim.
Rather than being a mere gathering of buyers and sellers, the show is aiming to educate retailers and their trading partners on new and better ways of serving consumers in search of delicious, wholesome and convenient retail meal solutions.
“If we’re going to be a resource for the industry, we’ve got to bring in people that are resources,” Eardley told trade press Sunday morning as the event kicked off.
This year’s expo featured several new initiatives designed to meet that goal:
Expert Neighborhood: 25-minute by-appointment sessions that matched attendees with experts to discuss questions, industry challenges and business problems.
New Product Showcase: A way for exhibitors to highlight items that might otherwise be overlooked in large show booths.
“Social Wall:” Collects attendees’ social media posts about exhibits, new products and session speakers. “We’re excited by the future potential of this,” Eardley said.
Show & Sell Express: An adjunct to the expo’s annual Show & Sell center, geared toward convenience store operators, which Eardley said have been attending the show in greater numbers as they enhance their fresh food offerings.
The Show & Sell exhibit has undergone some changes as well. In addition to the workshops led by celebrity chefs that have been added in recent years, the area is striving to feature merchandising solutions that Eardley said are not only innovative, but also easily executable by retailers.
The IDDBA is a nonprofit membership organization serving the dairy, deli, bakery, cheese, and supermarket foodservice industries.
Click here to see the full story from Convenience Store News sister publication Progressive Grocer.