Talk about a sensory experience. While the 2022 International Dairy Deli and Bakery Association’s (IDDBA) annual event has officially wrapped, it is far from over! After a whirlwind exposition of this magnitude, attendees will be reveling in the insights gleaned, products revealed, stories shared, and strategies blueprinted for weeks and months to come.
Hands down, this was an event not to be missed, and the timing could not have been more essential with today’s ongoing challenges and strong desire for solutions-driven thinking. Mike Eardley, President and Chief Executive Officer, International Dairy Deli Bakery Association, made the quintessential point quite clear, addressing the linchpin in today’s efforts and where the value in today’s specialty foods industry lies.
“We need to be planning for our future, and it is an uncertain future, but the speed of change that we will be experiencing and living through, will be certain,” Mike shared during Monday’s keynote lineup. “People—the best and most important investment for us to make is in our people. The people who buy, merchandise, and sell our products. And today, the challenge includes both attracting and retaining those people that we will rely on to grow our future.”
What also made this year’s IDDBA a bucket-list event—for me, at least—was the coveted guest appearances from Tim McGraw, Nichole Kidman, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. In other words, the show was brimming with the best-of-the-best from the supply-side to the celebrity-side.
Pure delight and elation were felt across the three-day extravaganza where the common topic of conversation was how amazing it was to be back in the same physical space, shaking hands, and catching up across inches instead of screens.
“From this year’s attendees and exhibitors to the IDDBA staff and support team—all had a role to play in IDDBA’s success. It was their contributions and support that made the show even more special than I could have imagined,” Whitney Atkins, Vice President of Marketing, International Dairy Deli Bakery Association shared with me. “Every IDDBA has had its special moments. IDDBA 2022 will forever be one of if not the most memorable. Our community was able to come back face-to-face after two of the hardest years any of us are likely to face. We all face challenges every day, but we will all leave IDDBA 2022 with a greater sense of overcoming them.”
With a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, IDDBA kicked off on June 5 and ran through the 7 with a schedule packed with a 1,600-exhibitor show floor, approximately 1,200 retailers, a new product showcase, keynotes, Visionary Pavillion (a show first) and What’s In Store Live sessions and workshops that spanned a multitude of topics. The diverse subject matter covered everything from aspirational merchandising, demos, and reinvigorating brunch boards to department outlooks; today’s shopping behaviors; and how cheese, charcuterie, and beer pairings are not only a popular space for the imagination to take root, but a mark of progressive and forward-thinking innovation.
Whitney also shared in a recent update that attendance was 79 percent of IDDBA's 2019 attendance.
As the show looked toward the finish line, the What’s In Store Live workshops on Tuesday brought a top honor to the forefront of the IDDBA event, with Brandy Gosselin of Fareway Stores chosen as the recipient of the IDDBA 2022 Cake Artist of the Year award. The award was presented in front of a crowd of attendees that were galvanized by Brandy’s dedication to continuing to learn, perfect, and execute new techniques. The award was presented by Mike Eardley and Dotty VanderMolen.
While some trade shows end in an exhausted frenzy, IDDBA concluded with a reenergized crowd of industry professionals with their tanks full and their sights set on the opportunities ahead.
Photo credit: IDDBA
But enough of my attempts to convince you, here are what some of our friends had to say about their IDDBA experiences and takeaways...
Joseph Piraino, East Coast Regional Manager, DePalo Foods
“This year’s show stood out compared to previous years at the IDDBA. To be back in person and meeting people face-to-face has been something all businesses have been looking forward to for a while. Attendee engagement felt different this year as well, and for the better. I feel this had to do with the multiple challenges companies faced over the past 24 months.”
Tom Orlando, National Sales Director, Conroy Foods
“I hope that everyone that has attended the show took the time to appreciate and acknowledge all of the companies, booths, retailers, and support folks that are the lifeblood of the business. After the pandemic interrupted the show, I was really looking forward to seeing our current partners, catching up on both a business and personal level, as well as meeting new customers and highlighting our products and services, and I was not disappointed! See everyone next year in Anaheim.”
Elle Fearing, National Sales and Marketing Representative, Carr Valley Cheese Company
“When it comes to fun and success, IDDBA delivered! We had some much fun catching up with customers and debuting our Black Truffle Blue! We are excited for the road ahead and what being able to meet in-person means for our growth and relationships.”
Brittany Requejo, Marketing Manager, Pine River
"It was wonderful to be back at IDDBA this year! This is always one of the best trade shows of the year for us, and 2022 was no exception. We were able to sample our newest cold pack cheese spread flavors, Cranberry Cheddar and Mango Habanero, as well as showcase our new size offering, 2.5 oz single serving cups of Sharp Cheddar, Spicy Beer, and Garden Vegetable. We had great engagement from everyone that stopped by our booth and are already looking forward to next year!”
Any way you slice it, the 2022 IDDBA show was a success both palpable and unique, which is only one of the reasons why this dynamic association continues to lead the charge in building, fostering, and elevating the dairy, deli, and bakery industries.
As Dennis Snow, one of the event’s speakers said when talking about leadership, know your “true product.”
For an industry like this, it is, yes, in part, the product in hand, but it is even more so the people. And IDDBA knows this and gives this.