This past week I had the opportunity (and honor) to be the first non-Puerto Rican to keynote the MIDA innovation conference. Much like Manu mainland based supermarket conferences, this one is a combination of education and an exhibit area.
This past week I had the opportunity (and honor) to be the first non-Puerto Rican to keynote the MIDA innovation conference. Much like many mainland based supermarket conferences, this one is a combination of education and an exhibit area.
All I can say is WOW!
I have not walked an exhibit floor in years that was more lively, packed, informative and fun.
Many of the same exhibitors were there: P&G, Kraft, Goya as well as the typical agricultural associations - but the difference was that these exhibitors were working the crowd!
I know I'll be called to task on this one, but these booths were not manned by jaded middle-aged sales people who sat around tables in their booths hoping no one would stop by. Nor were there rules limiting the height of booths or volume of the music (live and prerecorded) that was played. Lights were everywhere, as was the action. And frankly, it underscored just how exciting our food world could and should be!
One takeaway piece of advice for trade show planners - the aisles were not 15 feet wide...they were at most six feet wide which created an intimate experience and actually promoted discussion and greeting. It reminded me of the Eastern Dairy Deli Association show on the pier in NYC (before it moved to its death knell of the Javits Center) where buyers, store managers and sellers all had a good time and built relationships.
Perhaps the future of trade shows are not so elusive. Perhaps all it takes is a visit to what is important - celebrating food and building relationships...and maybe a flight to MIDA in 2012.