Back from the Road: How 2022 Trade Shows Rebounded

It was a year ago when I first wrote about returning to the trade show travel circuit. I was eager to get some mask-to-mask time with the people I’d been emailing and calling all year. Some may even say I was like a pitbull, but in a nice way…you know who you are 😊. My eagerness turned into disappointment early on with the realization that many were not as excited to jump back in full force.

Shows like Natural Products Expo West, which saw 57,000 attendees, was still far short of 2019’s 85,000 or IFT and their hybrid offering which saw only 14,000 to 16,000 walk the show floor.

For my clients and hopeful clients, it meant re-evaluating the worth of exhibiting to a smaller audience than usual. For me, it meant showing up to find a portion of the companies I had hoped to see did not exhibit, nor were the “right” people in attendance if they did have a booth.

Yet looking back, I find that for each show that did not perform well, there were two to three that did. For example, IDDBA may not be back to their lofty 2019 numbers just yet, but in 2022 they did see an increase to 79% of their pre-COVID highs while NRA showcased a solid 51,000 attendees.

The two largest leaps help prove the adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Returning in its three-year cycle, IBIE saw an increase of 25% over their 2019 numbers while PACK Expo International in Chicago surpassed its 2018 attendance (the last time the show took place) with 44,000 walking the floor.

Many of our clients at ColinKurtis Advertising agree that the volume may be down, but those who do attend are ready and willing to do business.

As I get ready to embark on my travels to three shows in the next three weeks, I am encouraged by the latest trends. I am mindful that pre-show preparation IS the deciding factor in success or failure, and that I need to keep up the Elderberry, boosters, masks or anything else that helps continue the current trade show trajectory. Because as this salesperson will attest to—THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR IN-PERSON MEETINGS!

If you’re planning on attending any of the following shows, feel free to reach out to me at or call 815-965-6657 EXT. 1 to schedule a time to connect!

Oh, and don’t forget comfy shoes and Ibuprofen! See you at the shows.

2023 Shows Mitch Will Be Attending:

Winter Fancy Food– January 15-17

IPPE – January 24-26

NAFEM – February 1-3

Natural Products West – March 7-11

Snaxpo – March 19-21

Beverage Forum – May 2-3

NRA – May 20-23

Sweets and Snacks – May 22-25

IDDBA – June 4-6

IFT – July 16-19

PACK Expo – September 11-13

Natural Products East – September 20-23

Process Expo – October 23-25

SupplySide West – October 23-27

Blog post from:

Mitch Robinson
New Account Development Manager


By | 2023-01-27T18:41:40+00:00 January 27th, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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