Anderson Partners Logo

We are a full-service, B-to-B marketing communications firm specializing in the global food ingredient industry and the unique marketing needs of food ingredient companies.

402.341.4807 | 800.551.9737

Customer Engagement at IFT16

Food ingredient marketers know what it takes to have a successful trade show exhibit. Strong branding, the right messaging, customer engagement tactics, a well-designed booth space and a knowledgeable team are all essential to make a company’s trade show presence a successful one. And the best gauge of how well all these pieces are working together is by witnessing them “in action” at a trade show; seeing how engaged attendees are with a company’s booth space and team.

At the IFT16 Expo in Chicago, I walked the floor and observed the world’s top food ingredient companies and their trade show teams in action. I saw how industry trends are affecting the design of the booths and their graphics, as companies strive to show how their products align with the demands of a new generation of consumers. I also saw some very effective strategies to help exhibitors increase engagement with customers and attendees.

White Space, Bright Colors
The combination of vibrant colors and simple imagery on clean, white backgrounds was something I saw everywhere. This graphic style was clearly influenced by the clean-label movement as companies continue to move toward simpler and better-for-you ingredients. It gave many of the booth designs a clean, modern look and was the perfect graphic solution to convey the purity and transparency consumers are seeking. These shots show just how much this look permeated through many of the designs this year.

WhiteSpacesBrightColors2

Natural Colors
Likewise, the ongoing movement toward more natural color sources had an impact on the messaging and tactics of several of the booths this year. Land O’Lakes Ingredients sampled cheese powders made without FD&C colors and featured a daily presentation about the history of coloring foods. I also saw several color houses creatively communicating the natural sources of their products through their messaging and graphics. GNT and DDW both had great examples of this with creative expressions that made me take a second look.

NaturalColorsImagery_0315

Open Spaces
The last few years, there’s been a substantial move toward more open trade show spaces and floor plans, with companies utilizing all sides of their area for customer engagement. Without “big walls” blocking off entire sides of a booth, a trade show team can have its people on all sides to initiate customer engagement or offer product samples. Corbion did a great job of this with an open floor plan that clearly defined their area and allowed attendees to easily scan across it to absorb everything that was going on. Its team was positioned throughout the space to engage with customers from all sides, and it generated a lot of attention.

Corbion_0188

Going Outside the Box for Engagement
Something that made an impression on me was how aggressively some companies went to initiate customer engagement. Kerry and Mintel were among the exhibitors that not only had several team members working within their booths, but also had additional members stationed in the aisles nearby to approach curious attendees and make the first move. It was an effective way of removing those invisible boundaries that always seem to separate the attendees from the exhibitors and help start the conversation with customers.

Hats off to IFT for another impressive expo and to all the volunteers who, year after year, make this event so successful and so beneficial to professionals and students throughout the food ingredient industry.

What kind of overall impressions did you get from IFT16?

An Active Voice in Food Ingredients

The Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo is quickly approaching and this year’s event looks to provide a lot of opportunity for those in attendance as more than 1,000 exhibitors and 23,000 professionals from all over the world gather in Chicago. One of the largest food ingredient trade shows of the year, IFT gathers the most prominent names in the industry in one place and offers more than 100 breakout sessions that address and discuss the challenges impacting today’s ever-changing environment.

In the video below, Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing president, Mark Hughes, discusses our involvement in trade associations like IFT, how our involvement keeps us informed of everything affecting the food ingredient industry and how that knowledge impacts the work we deliver to our clients.


Attending IFT this year and want to learn how we can help your company’s marketing communication goals? Click here to schedule a meeting with our team at the show.

How to Communicate the Food Science Message

One of the hottest topics at IFT15 in Chicago last July was the serious concern throughout the food industry around how to communicate the food science message to an increasingly skeptical consumer audience. In the age of the Food Babe and other opinion-driven food advocates, the food science message is increasingly lost inside the clutter of fear mongering and unfounded opinions that seem to surround otherwise healthy food ingredients and the food science that helps feed a hungry planet.

We have written about this subject often in recent months. Our infographic series on “Food Science vs The Food Babe – Who Controls the Story?” received a lot of attention and comment from the food science community. Food ingredient manufacturers want to know how to defend its products from attack and how to use sound food science to communicate the value of its products.

One of the most interesting sessions at IFT15 was the well-attended “Communicating Food Science to the Masses” panel discussion. Experienced food communication professionals joined in with accomplished food science academics from leading universities to discuss the current environment and how food manufacturers can help effectively communicate the food science message. Kim Essex, the director of the food and ag practice at Ketchum, a public relations firm, talked about the rise of “food evangelists” and their opinion-driven advocacy that regularly attacks processed foods and ingredients through social media. She addressed the need to engage with these advocates, understand their concerns and join the dialogue with them on the same social media platforms they regularly use.

We think that directly engaging with these “evangelists” is an important first step for food ingredient companies that want to successfully communicate the food science message. The top communication strategies we see being employed could be summarized in five key areas:commun.inside

  1. Speak Up – Don’t be silent, engage with the food activists on their own terms
  2. Be Swift – Responding quickly to negative claims is essential
  3. Have a Strategy – Use the same media channels as the activists to reach their audiences
  4. Use Science – Use facts and objective information to set the record straight
  5. Make it Simple – Make your scientific evidence clear and concise

As the clean-label movement continues its momentum, communicating the food science message will be essential as food companies re-evaluate its product labels and the need to justify the inclusion of certain functional ingredients that are essential to the quality of an application. In fact, I will be speaking at Fi Europe in Paris in December as part of a panel discussion on the topic: Improving the reputation of the food industry: How can consumer engagement help?

Have you seen any examples from food companies or food ingredient companies supporting the food science message?

Branding Your R&D Capabilities

Recently, we wrote about the impact that the clean-label movement is making throughout the food ingredient industry and how that impact influenced a lot of the messaging we saw at IFT this year. As the food industry continues to ride the wave of reformulations and better-for-you product rollouts, a flurry of action is taking place within one of the most important parts of many food ingredient companies—the R&D division—whose talents and innovative thinking make ingredients come to life in customer applications.

Companies that promote the resources and capabilities of its R&D is nothing new in food ingredients. However, we’re seeing more and more companies going beyond simply giving this team of experts a brief write-up and taking the extra step to fully brand this part of its company.

Here are some of the more memorable ways companies are creating a brand around its R&D—tactics that include memorable monikers, logo treatments, dedicated websites and unique characters:

Anyone who’s familiar with TIC Gums has seen the Gum Guru who represents the expertise and accessibility of the company’s team of food scientists. The frequent and consistent use of this character through all of the company’s branding has made the Gum Guru not just the symbol of its R&D but the symbol of the entire company, as demonstrated by its official tagline—We’re your Gum Guru. Its blog, video library and trade show mascot are just a few of the many ways TIC Gums has put the Gum Guru character in action to define the brand of the company.

Bungebiic.com is a website devoted to the Bunge Ingredient Innovation Center, and you’ll see how it’s designated its innovation teams “the oil experts” and “the milling experts,” along with accompanying logos. It’s also named its mobile food truck MOE for “mobile oil experts” and has even given the truck its own twitter feed: twitter.com/bungemoe.

oil-side-MOE-2-TRUCK

Naturex has a network of seven regional application laboratories around the world to support clients in its transition to applications made with natural ingredients. In a smart branding move, it’s named this network SPRINGlab for Sharing Product Ingenuity.

Chef’s Corner is a robust area of the Red Arrow website featuring several videos of its corporate chefs sharing tips and techniques on enhancing the flavor of various products, as well as a library of recipes organized by product category, food source and cooking method.

As you can see, food ingredient companies know that selling the capabilities and knowledge of a team tasked with making the R&D process a positive experience for food manufacturers is just as important as selling products. Branding these teams is a great way to bring personality to people who are key to a successful customer relationship.

How to Communicate the Food Science Message

One of the hottest topics at IFT15 in Chicago in early July was the serious concern throughout the food industry around how to communicate the food science message to an increasingly skeptical consumer audience. In the age of the Food Babe and other opinion-driven food advocates, the food science message is increasingly lost inside the clutter of fear mongering and unfounded opinions that seem to surround otherwise healthy food ingredients and the food science that helps feed a hungry planet.

We have written about this subject often in recent months. Our infographic series on “Food Science vs The Food Babe – Who Controls the Story?” received a lot of attention and comment from the food science community. Food ingredient manufacturers want to know how to defend its products from attack and how to use sound food science to communicate the value of its products.

One of the most interesting sessions at IFT15 was the well-attended “Communicating Food Science to the Masses” panel discussion. Experienced food communication professionals joined in with accomplished food science academics from leading universities to discuss the current environment and how food manufacturers can help effectively communicate the food science message. Kim Essex, the director of the food and ag practice at Ketchum, a public relations firm, talked about the rise of “food evangelists” and their opinion-driven advocacy that regularly attacks processed foods and ingredients through social media. She addressed the need to engage with these advocates, understand their concerns and join the dialogue with them on the same social media platforms they regularly use.

We think that directly engaging with these “evangelists” is an important first step for food ingredient companies that want to successfully communicate the food science message. The top communication strategies we see being employed could be summarized in five key areas:commun.inside

  1. Speak Up – Don’t be silent, engage with the food activists on their own terms
  2. Be Swift – Responding quickly to negative claims is essential
  3. Have a Strategy – Use the same media channels as the activists to reach their audiences
  4. Use Science – Use facts and objective information to set the record straight
  5. Make it Simple – Make your scientific evidence clear and concise

As the clean-label movement continues its momentum, communicating the food science message will be essential as food companies re-evaluate its product labels and the need to justify the inclusion of certain functional ingredients that are essential to the quality of an application. In fact, I will be speaking at Fi Europe in Paris in December as part of a panel discussion on the topic: Improving the reputation of the food industry: How can consumer engagement help?

Have you seen any examples from food companies or food ingredient companies supporting the food science message?

Innovative Booth Spaces Lead the Way at IFT15

As creative director at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, designing and developing booth spaces for major trade shows are some of the most exciting and high-profile projects we work on throughout the year. These are important events for our clients, and as ambassadors for their brand we always strive to create a space that not only is the strongest extension of their brand, but also makes for an engaging and impactful experience for trade show attendees.

Once a trade show booth design is complete, the only way to properly experience it “in action” is by attending one of these shows to see for yourself how visitors react to and engage with it.

As an IFT15 attendee, I had the opportunity to see how the most prominent companies in the food ingredient industry were vying for the attention of over 23,000 attendees, and I walked away with a ton of inspiration and insights for future projects. I was able to experience firsthand some of the most highly sophisticated trade show exhibits in the industry, all gathered together, and see what was working best in capturing the attention of attendees and creating a space that allowed sales teams to best engage with customers.

Here are some things that stood out for me on the expo floor at IFT15:

Emergence of infographics

In the world of B2B social media, infographics are one of the most effective ways to engage with visitors to share relevant content. This tactic also seemed to work very well on the trade show floor. Exhibitors like Mintel, Ingredion and Innova Market Insights (Innova) used prominent space on their booths to feature valuable content to attendees through giant infographics. And every time I walked by the Innova display, I saw attendees studying these infographics or grabbing photos of them with their phones.

Innova Booth IFT

The “wholesome” look

With clean and clear label dominating industry news today, I saw a lot of trade show imagery styled to convey a sense of what I call “wholesomeness.” Design cues like: white space, close-up shots of raw ingredients, vibrant colors and hand-drawn typefaces all had the effect of portraying an industry committed to addressing the needs of customers facing the ongoing challenge of consumer demand for clean and clear label.

Kitchens on wheels

When product sampling is a vital aspect of your trade show appearance, do it right. Companies like Ardent Mills, Bunge and David Michael and Co. all made quite a presence at IFT with branded mobile kitchens being an essential part of their space. It’s a great vehicle—pun intended—to extend a brand’s presence and engage customers beyond the trade show floor. When the show ends, these kitchens on wheels can then be driven anywhere so R&D can work side-by-side with a customer’s product development team.

David Michael IFT

Transparency/Openness

Innovations in printing and production capabilities have led to some very unique materials being used for trade show spaces. I found it particularly interesting that many exhibitors, including Mercer Foods, were utilizing semi-translucent materials for prominent branding, making their space seem larger and less confined. Other exhibitors were taking a less-is-more approach by limiting the amount of hardware and giving plenty of walking area for visitors entering the booth space.

Mercer Foods IFT

It was great to experience all of the action at IFT15. Walking the expo floor, you fully realize how much time, effort, planning and teamwork—both by the exhibitors and IFT—goes into this event to make it a success each year.

What from the IFT15 trade show floor made an impression on you?

Ardent Mills Mobile Innovation Center: Driving Grain Innovation to Customers

Ardent Mills IFT Booth

As mentioned in our IFT ҅14 Round Up blog post, Ardent Mills unveiled their newly formed company that combines the operations of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling and introduced their new customer engagement vehicle, the Mobile Innovation Center (MIC).

At 57-feet-long, the MIC is a state-of-the-art culinary center with a multipurpose platform designed to bring on-site culinary creativity, hands-on education and interactive R&D support right to customers’ front doors. A converted NASCAR truck featuring two levels with plenty of storage, the MIC has the flexibility to change out equipment to fit the needs of customers at their locations or at community events that it travels to. The Mobile Innovation Center carries a wide variety of ingredient products, a full suite of culinary and commercial baking equipment and a multipurpose meeting space with audiovisual capabilities to aid in education and ideation when onsite.

Ardent Mills Rig and Trailer BackWith the Mobile Innovation Center, Ardent Mills has a great tool to further engage with customers, helping them turn their next great idea into a reality—right at their doorstep. The Mobile Innovation Center will be driving grain innovation across North America when it goes on the road beginning in the fall of 2014.

IFT ’14 Roundup: New Product Launches, Trends, Introduction of Ardent Mills

IFT 2014From June 21-24, I was in New Orleans at the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo with more than 16,400 food professionals from all over the globe, to learn about the latest product and ingredient innovations, as well as identify trends that will shape the industry. This year’s show featured 1,120 exhibitors and more than 100 educational sessions and 1,000+ poster sessions.

This year’s IFT showcased a variety of trends in the food ingredient industry. Ingredion was one of several food ingredient companies talking about authenticity, better-for-you snacking and global variety as trends that are driving ingredient research and product development around the world. Similar to previous IFT shows, sugar reduction, salt reduction and fat reduction were still hot topics. According to Innova Market Insights, a rise in home cooking, emerging superfood ingredients and clean-label concerns are also leading trends in food and beverage innovation.
In addition to top trends at IFT, many food ingredient companies were showcasing new products.

Cargill unveiled their new soybean oil made from identity-preserved, conventionally bred soybeans for customers interested in exploring a non-GMO claim on their product label. Land O’Lakes Ingredients demonstrated their expertise in dairy-based ingredients by showcasing their Sea-Salted Caramel dairy seasoning that they launched earlier this year.

Ardent Mills IFT Booth

One of the biggest, and most talked about, unveilings at this year’s IFT Food Expo was Ardent Mills—the newly formed company that combines the operations of ConAgra Mills and Horizon Milling. As part of their debut, they used a state-of-the-art vehicle for their introduction—the Mobile Innovation Center (MIC). The trailer truck-sized MIC served IFT attendees an array of New Orleans-style food applications that incorporated the Ardent Mills portfolio of all-natural traditional and specialty flours and whole grain products like fried alligator po’boys and dirty rice to whole grain beignets and muffuletta.

In our next blog post, we’ll share more insight about the Ardent Mills Mobile Innovation Center and how it plans to help drive grain innovation for its customers. In the meantime, feel free to leave us a comment below and share your thoughts and insights on what trends and new product launches you saw at the Food Expo that you think will shape the industry moving forward.

IFT ’13 Round-up: ConAgra Mills, Nu-Tek Food Science, Bioenergy Life Science and Land O’Lakes

From July 13-16, over 23,500 of the world’s top food professionals attended the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Chicago, Ill. At this year’s Food Expo, there were over 1,100 exhibitors showcasing their products through a variety of samples and product literature. I had the opportunity to walk the Expo floor all three days. While I wasn’t able to visit all the booths, I did get to visit quite a few that allowed me to sample their products in unique and flavorful applications. In the list of booths I was able to visit, there were a few exhibitors that really stood out:

Next-thing Thinking

  • ConAgra Mills—the go-to-source for innovative grain ingredients and Next-thing thinkingSM—had a team of experts available to guide attendees through four focus areas around their sampling counter: Fiber & Nutrition, School Foodservice and Kids’ Menus, New Ingredient Innovations, Food Safety & Cost Savings. With an impressive online culinary menu that was displayed on monitors around the booth and accessible by scanning a QR code, attendees had the opportunity to sample a variety of applications, such as Southern-style Biscuits and Sausage Gravy made with 51% Ultragrain® Whole Wheat Flour and Sustagrain® Flour; Puebla Macaroni & Cheese featuring Ultragrain Pasta PlusTM Elbows; and Chocolate Chip Cookies featuring SafeGuardTM Ready-to-Eat Flour.

Mini Chicago-style Hotdogs

  • Nu-Tek Food Science—the world leader in sodium reduction—invited attendees to taste the technology that’s winning over the experts. At the top of every hour during the Expo, reduced-sodium mini Chicago-style hotdogs, with a 35% reduced-sodium bun, 50% reduced-sodium hotdog and a Chicago-style giardiniera made with their new retail and foodservice product Salt for LifeTM Sea Salt Blend, were available for sampling. Through patented, single-crystal technology, Nu-Tek Food Science offers food manufacturers, foodservice operators and the food industry a cost-effective, clean-label solution to help meet the growing demand of sodium reduction.

Bioenergy Ribose

  • Bioenergy Life Science brought the sweet taste of innovation to IFT with their all-natural functional ingredient, Bioenergy Ribose. Visitors at the booth were able to sample a variety of energizing applications containing Bioenergy Ribose such as fruit chews, granola bars and dark chocolate truffles. Perfect for formulation in a variety of food and beverage applications, Bioenergy Ribose helps accelerate energy recovery, reduce muscle stiffness and provides greater endurance.

 

  • Land O'Lakes Team at IFT 13Land O’Lakes—the trusted name in dairy ingredients—brings food manufacturers the resources and dairy solutions that provide a real competitive advantage to the marketplace. During my visit with the Land O’Lakes team, they had me sample what I consider my favorite tasting of the entire Expo—hot buttery, cinnamon-flavored puffs. The hot buttery cinnamon flavor was fantastic and left my taste buds wanting more.

 

In our next blog post, we’ll share with you what we thought were the trends that dominated the Food Expo. In the meantime, feel free to leave us a comment below and share your thoughts on which exhibitors you think are bringing innovative ingredients and solutions to the food industry.

Top Trends at IFT12

The IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo was once again the year’s leading showcase for the top trends in food ingredient marketing. Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in late June, the annual trade show of the Institute of Food Technologists featured over 1,000 ingredient manufacturers exhibiting their latest products and solutions for the food industry.

This year was dominated by a single leading trend: reduction. Keith Nunes, executive editor of Food Business News, called this year’s show, “The Reduction Show.” Indeed, it seemed like nearly every exhibitor offered an ingredient product or solution to help food manufacturers reduce at least one or more of the “unholy trinity” of salt, sugar and fat from their food products.

Nu-Tek Booth CroppedLeading the show were ingredient solutions to reduce sodium in manufactured and processed foods.  One of the clear leaders in sodium reduction was Nu-Tek Food Science, who’s Advanced Formula Potassium Chloride provided customers with a sodium-reduction technology that promised a clean label and cost-effective benefits along with consistent manufacturing results.

Exhibitors also showcased prominent ingredient offerings for reducing sugar and fat. Spice companies and ingredient blenders led the way with multiple offerings that often combined several ingredients in one package to reduce sugar, fat and calories from existing formulations.

Expect to see these trends dominate food ingredient marketing during the remainder of 2012. As in year’s past, the annual IFT show will set the major trends in marketing and communications for the year ahead.

Pre-IFT Email Campaign From Corn Products/National Starch

With the 2012 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting and Food Expo around the corner, many exhibitors have started promoting their booth presence and what products they’ll be featuring at the trade show.

National StarchAs part of their IFT promotion, we’ve received weekly emails from Corn Products/National Starch. Each email features one of the samples they will be offering at their booth and highlights their ingredient products they are using.

A great attribute of the email is a link that takes you to a landing page where more details are provided about the Corn Products/National Starch booth along with their roster of presenters for the technical sessions. The website not only provides details about the show, but its main page showcases an image of the Corn Products/National Starch booth. This is a nice element and it gives attendees an idea of what to look for when they arrive at the show.

Corn Products/National Starch has done a great job of marketing their presence at the 2012 IFT Expo. As we get closer to the show itself, it will be interesting to see what tactics other food ingredient companies use to promote their show presence.

QR Codes Grow Up at Food Trade Shows

The use of QR codes at food ingredient trade shows and manufacturer expos has increased dramatically over the past year. Mobile apps offered and promoted by the actual show presenters and producers have proliferated. More mobile use overall has increased the audience demand for apps like QR code readers, and as a result, more food ingredient marketers have begun to use the Quick Response codes to drive traffic to their traditional websites and to new mobile sites and landing pages.

Last June, the 2011 IFT Show in New Orleans showcased IFT’s latest generation trade show app with IFT11, which allowed users to access all the conference information, schedules and literature on one easy platform. Yet despite featuring convenient conference access and tools for managing appointments and exhibitor contact info, the IFT11 app only attracted about 500 users from a conference with over 15,000 attendees.

One reason for the low numbers may be slow adaptation of mobile app technology by many corporate IT customers. Our firm introduced a QR code promotion at IFT with limited results. Many food company executive told us that their corporate IT department didn’t support iPhone or smart phone technologies, or told us, “My IT guys won’t let us have apps like QR code readers.”

However, at the August PMA Food Service Conference and Expo in Monterey, it seemed like nearly everybody had a smart phone with a QR code reader app. The produce industry has been more active in using bar code and QR code technologies on their packaging and in their traceability systems, so it makes sense that there would be greater adoption of mobile technology in the produce channel.

IMAG0084

IFT and PMA, and nearly every other food expo this year, have also seen an increasing number of exhibitor booths using QR codes on their trade show literature and even on their booth designs. Charles Shafae, of dProduce Man Software from California, has a large QR code prominently displayed on his booth. dProduce Man Software sells packaging codes and software for the produce industry. Shafae said that having the QR code on his booth helped customers “go straight to all our information online.”

As adaptation of mobile technologies continues to grow among executives and professionals in the food ingredient industry, the use of QR codes, landing pages and other mobile apps will continue to gain traction and quickly grow to become important marketing communication tools for ingredient marketers.

Top Food Ingredient Trends at IFT 2010

At this year’s IFT show in Chicago, I had the opportunity to talk to dozens of food ingredient companies and their customers. Generally speaking, the conversations were mostly upbeat about the economy and about recent signs of business rebounding. All of the ingredient marketers were excited about the new products and new applications they had to offer their customers. Based on these discussions, I saw three main ingredient trends emerging for 2010:
1. Low-sodium initiatives and salt-replacement ingredients
2. Gluten-free products and gluten-free ingredients
3. Clean-label products and simple-ingredient solutions
Each trend represents major marketing issues for food manufacturers and processors, as well as for customers in food service, bakery and beverage channels. As a result, ingredient marketers are aggressively pushing new offerings and new ingredient platforms to their customers that address one or more of these issues. These products dominated the marketing messages at IFT exhibitor booths and at a variety of customer-relations events.I posted these trends on LinkedIn recently and asked what major trends and issues had emerged for other IFT attendees. Jeff Gomper, president at OntheRise Bakery & Pizza Solutions in Milwaukee, wrote, “I would agree that low sodium is the #1 topic. Bryan Stevens of Kansas State University added, “I saw lots of encapsulated Omega 3s on the floor and in the poster presentations.”

Dean Lusting, vice president at Philadelphia Macaroni Company posted, “Agree with above. Although not trends, I saw multigrain, vegetable, fiber and other pro-nutrition inclusions into pasta and meals.” Peter Clark, who writes for Food Technology about processing innovations said, “…two trends I noted are concerns about sustainability and the emergence of competition in heat transfer devices.”

I am very interested in what other’s saw at this year’s IFT show, or at other food ingredient trade shows during the year. What do you see as the major food ingredient trends for 2010?

IFT Online Tools Generate Buzz for Ingredient Marketers

IFT 2The 2010 IFT show in Chicago presented its widest range of online tools yet, providing attendees with multiple opportunities to connect and communicate. Savvy food ingredient marketers took advantage of the IFT online presence to promote their show offerings, and drive traffic to their booths.

In a previous blog post we reviewed the IFT’s tools that helped attendees prepare a personalized show guide and send e-mail meeting invitations to exhibitors and other participants. Several major food ingredient companies told me that they had received multiple meeting requests from the ChripEvite e-mail tool.

In addition to the preshow planning tools, IFT offered a full suite of social media sites where attendees could post information, comment on presentations and exhibits, and communicate with one another. The integrated social media platform included sites on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and LinkedIn. The LinkedIn discussion group included over 3,700 members who actively posted and discussed their IFT experiences.  A steady stream of Twitter posts and Flickr photos was prominently displayed on a large video screen kiosk just outside the main entrance.

Several food ingredient companies took advantage of IFT’s online platform to actively promote their presence at the show. Companies announced giveaways and demonstrations taking place at their booths. There were also multiple posts with announcements on new products and ingredient applications that provided links to additional content and information. Prominent ingredient marketers using the tools included National Starch, Monsanto, Innova and David Michael & Co.

All of these tools and examples of food ingredient company activity can be accessed through the IFT portal site.

Personalized Show Guide for IFT Food Expo

If you’ve visited the IFT Food Expo before, then you know just how large and busy it can be—more than 1,000 exhibitors attend the conference. n107135219319992_8356But this doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours searching through a cluttered sea of people, brands, products and services. IFT has created an online reference tool called networkNow! where you can search for specific products, services, sessions, attendees and exhibitors. You can view exhibitors’ booth locations and communicate directly with them via e-mail. NetworkNow! even offers a feature allowing you to save and reference all of the meetings you’ve scheduled with attendees and exhibitors, as well as sessions and events. The problem is, you save that information under multiple agendas—My Appointment Calendar, My Appointment List, My Itinerary, My Planner, My Meetings, My Sessions … sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? While “networkNow!” offers you the convenience of planning your attack on the expo floor beforehand, there’s a lot of information, and all of these agendas seem to add more confusion. But you be the judge. Let us know if you use this tool and how it worked for you.

Study: build successful business relationships with the next generation of customers

New Study

Strengthen your communication with the growing millennial workforce by understanding what they’re seeking from their ingredient suppliers
MORE>>

Join our mailing list to receive the latest in food ingredient news delivered right to your inbox. MORE>>

Industry News – Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing

In The News

1