KeHE’s 2013 Holiday Show, held as always at Chicago’s McCormick Place, had the largest number of retailer attendees in the show’s history. The private, two-day industry trade show brought together thousands of retailers and suppliers in the natural, specialty and fresh product categories. Suppliers showcased on-trend products for the holidays, as well as year-round “gotta-have” products.
Show highlights included a keynote address by Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group. Demeritt shared insights into such purchase and consumption trends as “global cuisine made easy,” “quest for vitality,” “healthy snacking” and “free-from (i.e. allergen free) foods.” Demeritt drew a large crowd at the breakfast address, and received rave reviews for her insights into how consumers make their brand decisions and how they use those brands after purchase.
New at this year’s show was KeHE’s Innovation Center, which displayed must-have holiday products that address many of the same trends addressed by Demeritt in her keynote, including healthy snacks, global cuisine, “free-from” products, vitality-focused items and products featuring third-party certifications like Certified Organic. The center provided a hands-on experience and demonstrated in-store merchandising ideas like a smoothie bar with drinks customized for energy, cognitive health relaxation and digestion (all aspects of “vitality”).
In addition, KeHE showcased deli, bakery, produce and meat products in its Fresh Products Pavilion. An extensive lineup of specialty cheeses from both domestic and international cheese producers was a compelling display. Other merchandising ideas included bakery options for consumers with gluten-free and other dietary restrictions as well as a farmer’s market-inspired display featuring products like grass-fed beef.
The show’s Global Olive Oil Experience featured a tasting bar where attendees learned how to taste extra virgin olive oil like a pro. Experts like Tom Mueller, author of The New York Times best seller, “Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil,” met with retailers to share his passion for extra virgin olive oil and educate them on how to make better choices on what oils to offer their customers.
Additionally, participants at the Holiday Show were the first to learn about KeHE’s rebranding, which KeHE CEO Brandon Barnholt announced the first morning of the show.
KeHE Distributors LLC, based in Romeoville, Ill., provides natural and organic, specialty and gourmet, international and multicultural and fresh products to more than 35,000 retail outlets throughout North America.
Find photos from the show here.