Trade shows are a proven way to get your business in front of the right audience and generate trustworthy leads. However, there can be so many to choose from — even within one industry. With the food and beverage industry continually growing, we understand it can be overwhelming to distinguish which shows are worth your time, energy and money.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite trade shows to help you better understand what each expo can offer you. Read through our list to learn about what sector of the food and beverage industry each show targets, if educational opportunities are available and when each show occurs — so you can ace your trade show strategy.
1. International Baking Industry Exposition
The International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) only happens once every three years in Las Vegas, so be sure not to miss out when it happens. This is one of the largest shows for grain-based foods and snacks. You can dive into the world of cakes and pastries, artisan breads, tortillas, snack foods, pizzas, pet food and more. IBIE occurs in the middle of September and has lots of samples, demonstrations, educational sessions and networking opportunities.
Welcoming over 17,000 attendees each year in July in Chicago, IFT FIRST Annual Event and Expo is the B2B expo to attend. IFT is driven by bringing research, science and technology together in one place. If you are looking to learn more about food science, you can walk the floor and attend the educational sessions. Or, if you work in the industry, you can exhibit on the floor to share your new and innovative product solutions. IFT also holds local suppliers’ night events around the U.S, so don’t miss the opportunity to network within your local region as well.
3. Natural Products Expo West & East
The natural and organic food industry continues to grow rapidly, and the Natural Products Expo West is the place to keep up with all the trends! Taking place in Anaheim, CA, this show has categories including organic and natural foods, clean beauty and home products, supplements and ingredients and more. Exhibitors at this show have seen record profits, an increased industry presence and great lead generation. Expo West is held at the beginning of March. Live on the East Coast? No problem — Natural Products Expo East is held in September in Philadelphia.
4. SupplySide East & West
Taking place in April in Secaucus, NJ, SupplySide East is a leading ingredient and solutions trade show of the East Coast. With over 220 suppliers and 4,500 innovative ingredients and solutions, this show will get your products in front of the right audience. Education sessions are also held alongside the trade show floor, bringing even more opportunities to attendees. Similarly, SupplySide West gathers professionals on the West Coast in Las Vegas starting in late October and rolling into early November.
5. National Restaurant Association
The National Restaurant Association Show is the foodservice industry’s time to shine. Taking place in May in Chicago, this show brings together foodservice and hospitality professionals to share restaurant technology, new ingredients, trends, innovative equipment and products. You can also hear from the best in the business during the educational sessions and demos.
6. Winter & Summer Fancy Food Show
First up is the largest B2B specialty food industry event in the Western U.S., the Winter Fancy Food Show. It is hosted by the Specialty Food Association (SFA) in Las Vegas. This is a great place to connect with buyers, distributors and retailers, with access to more than 40 product categories. This show is exclusively B2B, with a focus on specialty food products. Winter Fancy Food is held in January, but there is also a similar event in June in New York City, the Summer Fancy Food Show.
7. International Production & Processing Expo
The International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) is the largest annual poultry, meat and animal food expo in the world, occurring in late January in Atlanta. IPPE includes four focuses: innovation, education, global reach and networking. Attendees can expect to explore the latest technologies, engage with industry leaders and learn about the current trends in the industry.
If you are in the foodservice equipment and supplies industry, then The NAFEM Show is for you! Taking place in February in Orlando, this show brings together individuals that work in food service prep, cooking, storage, table service, cleaning and more. There are many educational opportunities through demos and training, as well as networking opportunities through events and on the trade show floor.
9. Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo
Held in Los Angeles in August, the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo focuses on the latest innovations in the food and beverage industry. The variety at this show is endless, from restaurant and bar operators to chefs, caterers and hotel food service personnel. The Coffee Fest Los Angeles expo is co-located with the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, so attendees are able to attend both shows with one badge.
10. Coffee Fest
Coffee Fest is designed for coffee shop owners, new business start ups, roasting companies and distributors, baristas and coffee enthusiasts! There are many regional expos around the U.S., with the next taking place in New York City in March. Other locations include Louisville, Los Angeles and Seattle.
11. Bar & Restaurant Expo
With over 10,000 attendees, the hospitality industry gathers in Las Vegas at the end of March for the Bar & Restaurant Expo. This show highlights both national chains and single-unit restaurants, and discusses how to overcome issues with inflation, supply chains, staff retention and more!
12. Process Expo
Whether you work at a manufacturing plant, are in research and development, or work in sales and marketing, Process Expo has something for you. Bringing together professionals in the food and beverage industry in Chicago, the expo displays new, innovative equipment for food and beverage manufacturers and suppliers. With hundreds of exhibitors on the trade show floor, educational and training opportunities, and networking events, there is a lot to see and do. This show occurs during October, but only happens every other year.
13. Tortilla Industry Association Convention & Trade Expo
The tortilla industry is growing within the bakery industry, so join The Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) at their annual expo in early May in Austin. The expo draws in over 500 attendees and exhibitors, most of which are decision makers, giving your company high-quality leads. There are also educational sessions for attendees and lots of opportunities to network.
14. Sweets and Snacks
Interested in seeing the best candymakers in the country or sampling some new chips? Attend the Sweets and Snacks Expo in May and get access to thousands of confectionery and snack industry leaders, networking opportunities, educational sessions, and of course, samples! Their Most Innovative New Product award is also a big hit. This show is also held in Chicago.
15. PACK EXPO
PACK EXPO focuses on, you guessed it, packaging and processing solutions. Professionals come together annually in September to share innovation surrounding consumer packaged foods and life sciences companies. The industries are vast including food and beverage, personal care, pet food, e-commerce and more. PACK EXPO only occurs once every two years in Las Vegas, so don’t miss out!
16. National Association of Convenience Stores
At the beginning of October, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) puts on a show in Las Vegas. With over 1,200 exhibitors on the floor and thousands of new products, you are sure to discover something new. This show is a must-see if you are in the convenience and fuel retail industry.
17. International Dairy Deli Bakery Association
The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) show brings together the dairy, deli, bakery and food service industries. The three-day show takes place in Anaheim at the beginning of June. More than half of the attendees hold decision making power, making this an excellent place to exhibit your products and make new connections.
18. Private Label Manufacturing Association
If you thought we were forgetting about private label, check out the Private Label Manufacturing Association’s (PLMA) Annual Private Label Trade Show. This is the only annual trade show event for the private label sector and takes place in November in Chicago. With increasing demands from consumers for high-quality, healthier and environmentally friendly options, this show can keep you on top of these trends and help you make connections with retailers and wholesalers.
Once you decide which trade shows have the best audience for your business, ColinKurtis, a food and beverage advertising agency, can help you with your trade show strategy. From designing your booth and developing a campaign for pre- and post-trade show to bringing awareness to your booth during the show and getting you qualified leads — we do it all. Want to meet with ColinKurtis Advertising to discuss your marketing needs? Contact Mitch Robinson at Mitch@colinkurtis.com or call 815.965.6657 EXT. 1 to set up an appointment.
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Vice President, Client Services
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