Networking is a critical factor in the long-term success of your business. In fact, over 90 percent of professionals agree. Whether it be B2B or B2C, networking isn’t only about connecting with others but about opportunities for growth, strategizing, and sales. For our industry, both food and beverage trade shows and expos are excellent resources for businesses to engage in all of these possibilities. Together let’s define what they are and explore key advantages of attending food and beverage trade shows and expos in 2022.
- Food and beverage trade shows are a highly efficient marketing tool.
- Food and beverage expos are opportunities for your company to utilize unique approaches to branding
- Educational value can be mined from food trade shows by way of competitive analysis and product demonstrations
The Benefits of Attending Food and Beverage Trade Shows
To become one of the leaders in the food industry, learning to more effectively leverage both types of events is critical for increasing your likelihood of succeeding in the long term. Oftentimes, trade shows and expos are used interchangeably. However, there are key advantages and differences that you’ll need to consider before you participate.
A fourth of companies have faced sales losses of at least 50% due to adjusting business models amidst the pandemic. With food trade shows projected to rise in necessity again, it may behoove your company to attend them to secure clients who are seeking different vendors due to sweeping changes brought forth by the pandemic.
For growing and established businesses, attending a trade show is an effective way to connect with other industry professionals. Attendance for food trade shows in 2022 is projected to grow from last year with some of the factors below serving as fuel.
1. A Highly Efficient Marketing Tool
Consider this, food and beverage trade shows are the only place where other companies go to actively search for new vendors and products. In this sense, they serve as a highly efficient marketing tool because there is a higher likelihood that most of the personnel who paid to attend are in your target audience. For startups and smaller businesses with fewer industry contacts, these events can serve as prime opportunities to connect with big-box retailers or well-known distributors who are difficult to meet through alternative marketing strategies for lead generation.
2. Competitor Analysis
Businesses should routinely perform competitor analysis to gain insight into how their competitors operate. What better place to do this than a food and beverage trade show? You can observe your competitor’s products, sales, and marketing strategies in real-time.
The proximity of brands in this setting allows you to conduct your analysis using side-by-side comparisons. Take note of which booths are having the most success and adapt their strategies to your own. Conversely, observe the struggling competition and identify the common denominator between them to avoid incorporating their mistakes into your strategy.
3. Industry Education
You may learn new information about innovations in technology that will change the food industry. Trade shows are filled with product presentations and demonstrations that can provide your business with a competitive edge over your competition who did not attend the trade show. The food industry will continue to face challenges this year due to prolonged supply chain shortages. By attending food and beverage expos in 2022, you’ll be able to discuss strategy and solutions with other professionals representing companies of all sizes who are dealing with the same issue.
4. Product Testing
Trade shows provide one invaluable benefit: product testing. For example, businesses could offer samples of an experimental product that you have not committed to mass-producing yet. Other industry professionals can try your product and provide feedback from an insider perspective. Perhaps you are not sure about how to properly package the product from a marketing perspective. Again, trade shows are full of other industry professionals who have the experience to consult your business about industry best practices for new products.
The Benefits of Attending Food and Beverage Expos
Although expos are for both food professionals and consumers, they provide their own advantages on the consumer side of the equation. Expos may include some of the same industry professionals that you would encounter at a trade show, but your booth display shouldn’t stay the same. Expos will have potential customers present, providing you with an opportunity to utilize alternative marketing strategies to capture a different audience. Despite this key difference, expos still provide opportunities for education, connection, and analysis.
1. Educate Your Customer
Because food and beverage expos are live events you can leverage the face-to-face experience by educating the customer about your product. You can answer questions that your customer wouldn’t get answers to if they simply saw it on a shelf in a grocery store. Additionally, you can provide them specific information that may not be available on your product packaging or website.
2. Improved Customer Feedback
Expos allow your company to interact with customers in unique ways. For example, an energy drink company could ask customers to participate in a survey that tracks their energy levels after using the product each day of the expo and follow up with them on the last day of the event. In this scenario, the company doesn’t have to wait on a potential customer review to get feedback. The types of questions your company receives about its products are important too. If you notice repeated questions, then it could mean your brand identity or intent is unclear, which may require adjustments to product packaging.
Network at SIAL Food Trade Shows & Expos
SIAL is the only generalist food and beverage event + trade show in the United States. Our events feature food industry professionals from every spectrum of the supply chain and endless opportunities to form critical connections in the industry. Whether you are a growing business or an industry veteran, you’ll find value in attending our unique events.
To network with the industry’s brightest, join us in the upcoming SIAL America 2023 conference.