The 2020 Winter Fancy Food Show promised and delivered on innovation as well as new and emerging trends in the specialty food industry.

With over 80,000 specialty foods and beverages, thousands of new products, and over 1,400 exhibitors from around the globe, the 3-day event has become one of the industry’s top networking gathering.

But with thousands of exhibitors all vying for attention, brands need to maximize their messaging and booth design to capture interest and begin to build equity with buyers and customers.

Here are 5 Ways brands stood out from the crowd from this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show:

1) Showcase Innovation.

What’s new? What’s on-trend? What’s the buzz? The best of the best at the show put new innovative products front and center in their display and created buzz and interest in their brand by aligning product innovation with key show timing.

For specialty food brands, the Winter Fancy Food Show is THE show to showcase or test-drive new products, brands, and innovations before they hit the market. One of the highlights from this year’s show was all the plant-based, vegan, and non-dairy innovation.

So, what’s your most buzz-worthy product?

Whether it’s unique food combinations, a one-of-a-kind product, or a different take on the classics, find a star product from your product line up to showcase. Make good use of your booth space to introduce customers to your products. Give out samples and be ready to answer queries from prospective buyers. 

2) Strong Brand Message.

The best booths at the show were the brands that communicated a strategic and consistent brand message. These brands communicated something meaningful and unique on their products, their booth, their handouts and even the energy from the reps working the booth. Clear, consistent, authentic.

You have 5 seconds to capture a passerby’s attention. Make it count with strong, clear brand communication and follow through. Your booth design should scream what you are about and communicate your brand message in an instant. So, the next time you design your booth displays, ask yourself this question: “Does this pass the 5-second test?”

3) No Barriers.

The best booths at the Winter FF Show were the booths that were open and inviting to attendees.

Say it with me, “I will not put a table between me and the buyer”.

Make your booth as open and inviting as possible by eliminating barriers to entry. Display what needs to be displayed on neat tables around the edge of your booth. Edit and eliminate clutter. The less clutter, the more space for relationship building and engagement with customers!  

4) Distribution Maps.

Creating visually appealing distribution maps with current US distribution is the key to getting the audience interested. Allow your potential new customers or broker partners to see what they are missing out on if they aren’t currently carrying you.

For many emerging brands, distribution growth is huge validation. If possible, put together a one-pager takeaway for people to take with them! 

5) Samples. Samples. Samples.

At the end of the day, the best way to drive excitement and traffic is sampling product! Make sure you have plenty of samples and giveaways. The more samples and coupons you can give away, the more people will brag about your brand. Make them unique and interesting so your product is at everyone’s top-of-mind recall at the end of the day.

Take a look at this article highlighting some of the favorites from the show.

These products stood out because they were unique, memorable, and new to the market.

The Final Takeaway

This year’s Winter Fancy Food Show proved that the specialty foods industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in food. In this area, there are plenty of opportunities for emerging brands to disrupt; and for established brands to innovate & grow. What makes your brand stand out from the countless other companies is your focus on strong branding and messaging.  Strong branding, innovation, attention to detail, and knowing & delivering on what your core audience wants is the key to standing out and developing deep relationships with partners in the industry.