A few weeks ago, we attended the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2014 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta, also known as the largest meeting of food and nutrition experts in the world. With more than 350 exhibitors, the conference is a health and lifestyle expert’s dream. Since many of our clients have either exhibited at FNCE in the past or plan to in the future, we think it’s important to attend and walk the floor to learn about the latest and greatest in food and nutrition trends. We also like to see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to raising brand awareness through exhibiting. Exhibiting is an investment and we want to make sure our clients get the most out of it.
From elaborate exhibits like a Kellogg’s food trailer dedicated to cereals – with your choice of fruit and milk – to a smoothie and Avocado bar by the Haas Avocado Board, to smaller exhibits that still made quite an impression with the tasty food and drink samples, exhibitors really did a stellar job of promoting their product and/or service. We talked to dairy and pig farmers, pharmacists, company owners and of course, loads of nutritionists – who all were incredibly knowledgeable about the brand they represented. The booths with samples had the most people stopping by (it’s a food and nutrition conference, so of course there was a lot to sample!). And boy, were there some really creative ways to get samples into mouths. One that stood out in particular was Ensure – they put their drink in an ice cream machine as a new and different way for patrons to sample the product. Super smart and super yummy!
Many exhibitors had an interactive aspect to their booth. We got to write down what was on our Pork Bucket List and take our photo with avocados while showing off our favorite food avocado combo. We even had our picture taken with a 7-foot peach and a life-sized cow. And, after learning about each product, we answered multiple-choice questions at all four corners of the Campbell’s booth to get a complimentary apron (that has measurements, conversions, and other tips that are helpful while cooking – every foodie’s dream!). These may seem like silly ways to get people to interact with your brand, but it left a memorable and positive impression.
After six plus hours of walking the floor, we made it to all 350 exhibitors. We left with loads of SWAG, food samples, marketing collateral and a lot to think about and do – follow-up after the show (for us and for exhibitors) is crucial to ensure it was time and money well spent and it’s time to start strategizing for how our clients should be involved in FNCE 2015.