Thought about attending – or even exhibiting at – Food ingredients Europe (FiE) as a marketer in the food & beverage realm? Here’s why you should…
FiE has long been an important fixture in the food & beverage sector’s calendar – and ours. Drawing together more than 25,000 stakeholders from 135+ countries across the world, the show is a global stage to discover some of the most exciting ingredients emerging in the space – and a hot spot for fostering collaboration, igniting inspiration and breaking down boundaries to progress. For anyone in the food & beverage arena, the event is not to be missed. And although we’ve always had a presence at FiE, the 2023 conference marked a significant shift for us as we decided, for the first time in a long time , to take centre stage by exhibiting.
Why? As the marketing communications agency for food & nutrition brands, we have provided exhibition support for 30 years to some of the biggest players in the food & beverage market – from designing stands to carrying out in-person press support in a multitude of languages (and everything in between). However, taking advantage of the exposure that FiE offers is something we hadn’t done in a while. Given our deep-rooted connection to the sector, the decision to transition from supporter to exhibitor was a natural progression.
Being more active contributors at FiE this year with our ear to the ground, we’ve been able to experience the event from a completely different perspective – and we have many highlights to share. To give you – our fellow B2B marketers, communicators and consultants – a taste of how it went and what we learned, we’ve asked our Senior Account Executive, Silvia Vara, about the highs, trends and lessons absorbed during her three days in Frankfurt, Germany.
Most successful show yet?
Compared to previous years, FiE 2023 showcased a remarkable uptick in attendance – and we could definitely sense the buzz. The organisers strategically distributed activities across several halls, ensuring that foot traffic reached companies of all sizes, big and small. “In my opinion, this approach worked really well,” says Silvia. “It encouraged attendees to explore a diverse range of stands, enabling a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere where no business got ‘left behind’.” With this in mind, being a small business shouldn’t deter you from participating. If you’re not already involved, it could be valuable to join the show because it presents an excellent opportunity to connect with your partners and gain a genuine understanding of their challenges.
Insights from the exhibitor
Venturing into the role of exhibitor was an eye-opening experience for the BDB team that attended. Silvia adds: “For us, nothing beats a face-to-face conversation. Having a designated space that provided a home base for meetings was one of the best things about our experience as exhibitor. Having a booth facilitated smoother interactions with our non-exhibiting partners and clients and streamlined what can often be a logistical challenge. It’s never been impossible, and we’ve always found a way to have inspiring conversations, but it certainly made things easier.”
Reception of the BDB stand was also overwhelmingly positive. “Attendees admired the uniqueness of our approach to B2B marketing – many even noting that we were one of the only agencies in this space to embrace the role of exhibitor.” This distinction fuelled engaging conversations and set the tone for a successful 3 days of networking. So, if you’ve always thought about exhibiting at a leading conference, but been on the fence about it, take this as your sign to go for it!
Tasty trends for 2024
As B2B marketers, it’s important we stay on top of the trends powering innovation in the market, and FiE 2023 offered invaluable insights in this regard. Three standout ingredient trends emerged at the show – the continued emphasis on plant-based products, a heightened focus on gut health and an overarching theme of healthier reformulation. So, if you have anything to say here, it’s the perfect time to convey that message loud and clear. “Interestingly though, there was an absence of truly next-generation concepts,” comments Silvia. “Innovations seemed to be more evolutionary, rather than completely novel, building on existing ideas and trends. This has made BDB wonder – what’s next for the industry?”
In terms of stand design specifically, we observed a lot of exhibitors swap the longstanding favourite white visage to more diverse colour schemes. The restaurant-style theme was also a noteworthy trend that was adopted by some major companies, complete with open kitchens and café-chic tables.
The rising relevance of employer branding
Beyond ingredient and product innovation, a notable insight that surfaced during conversations with other B2B marketing professionals and peers was employer branding. This growing significance of compelling employer brands is indicative of a broader shift within the sector as companies strive to attract and retain top talent. Silvia says: “It’s clear that cultivating an appealing employer brand has become a strategic must for many (if not most) businesses. As well as underscoring a new commitment to workforce engagement, the growing focus on strengthening employer brand signals that people recognise its role in shaping organisational success and resilience.”
That’s a wrap!
As we reflect on this exciting journey, the million-dollar question remains: Will BDB return next year? FiE 2023 was a monumental chapter for us– and set the stage for potential future endeavours at the show. Only time will tell if we exhibit again, but one thing is certain – our latest foray into exhibiting was an experience we’ll never forget; marked by a passion for pushing ourselves and a shared commitment to advancing the world of food & beverages.
Will you be exhibiting at FiE or any other trade events in 2024? Get in touch today and find out how we can help your brand stand out and make your attendance a success.