The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association kicked off its annual expo June 6 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. After being canceled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IDDBA expo returned to bring suppliers and wholesalers face to face.
The IDDBA aims to bring “today’s leaders with tomorrow’s innovators” to grow the future of their business. More than 10,000 attendees were present for the expo’s kickoff, according to Whitney Atkins, VP of marketing for IDDBA, in an interview with The Shelby Report shortly before the first day began.
“It’s about being back after two years. Obviously, we have a huge member base and exhibitors here showcasing products from all across the globe. But it is about seeing people’s faces again and connecting. People are just glad to be back and to see each other and be able to talk to one another…We’re really just looking forward to continuing to be able to showcase the products of our exhibitors and members and bring back the community,” Atkins said.
The expo is featuring more than 800 exhibiting companies. One of the biggest things Atkins and the IDDBA educational team is looking forward to most is the What’s in Store Live event going throughout the expo.
What’s in Store Live aims to introduce expo goers to innovations and new ideas that retailers can go back to their cities and implement in their stores. Sunday saw many demonstrations including Reginald Pearson of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods in Houston, Texas who did a 30-minute workshop on proper cigar and cheese pairings.
“The What’s in Store Live demonstrations are reflections of our annual Trends Reports. Visitors can see the latest and greatest trends that are relevant for them to bring back home to their stores. It’s phenomenal. I encourage everyone to go back there. We have a host of volunteers who put that together every year for us and it’s definitely worth checking out,” Atkins said.
Along with the educational demonstrations, IDDBA will have its New Product Showcase, alternative foods and international sections sprinkled throughout the expo floor.
Exhibitors themselves are glad to be back in person.
Ann Visser-Depp, VP of merchandising and procurement from Associated Grocers of New England, both exclaimed her excitement of returning to the expo and congratulated Sahara Clark of AGNE as being honored as a Champion of Change by IDDBA.
“IDDBA 2022 is everything a professional in the industry could have hoped for…fantastic educational sessions, inspiring innovations and a platform to discover new vendors. It is great to be back in person, meeting face to face with vendors and other industry associates to continue cultivating relationships. This year is particularly special to be able to attend as (AGNE) is proud to have one of our own honored as a Champion of Change,” Visser-Depp said.
IDDBA is recognizing a total of 24 individuals across its three divisions: Champion Department Managers, Emerging Champions and Legendary Champions.
The expo will continue through June 7 in Hall B of the GWCC. The expo is featuring appearances from New York Times best-selling authors Mel Robbins and Kindra Hall, retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., country music star Tim McGraw, former NFL long-snapper and current magician Jon Dorenbos, corporate speaker Dennis Snow and actress Nicole Kidman throughout the remaining two days.
For more information, visit iddba.com.
Nothing but the highest of praise to Whitney Atkins and her team at the IDDBA for puling this show together in times like these….Kudos!