Attendee Engagement

Insider Tips to Boost Your Food & Beverage Trade Show Success

Exhibiting at food trade shows can bring in a lot of exposure for your brand. Check out this post for tips to take your food exhibit to the next level.

Trade shows can be a game-changer for food and beverage companies. You can explore new markets, boost brand awareness, and share groundbreaking innovations with thousands of existing and potential clients and customers.

But while there is no lack of opportunity at food trade shows, and many such events are organized in the US every year, not many brands succeed with their exhibits. An investment worth thousands of dollars seldom delivers the expected returns.

The problem often lies in how brands plan their exhibit. Not knowing what does and doesn’t work at a food trade show can have a disastrous impact on your ROI and ROO. Here are some time-proven tips to help you make the most of this opportunity-

1- Work on a Lead Collection Strategy

With all the serving and tasting, your booth staff probably won't have much time to collect leads. So, you'll have to invest in additional staffers for lead collection. But the cost and booth space can limit the number of people you can have at your booth. A smarter alternative is to integrate the lead collection into your booth activity via trade show games. 

Here are a few trade show games that can help you collect leads while engaging with your visitors in a fun way. 

Custom Trade Show Trivia

Custom trade show trivia can be a fun way to engage with your visitors while challenging them with food-related trivia. Equip it with an online lead collection form that visitors must fill out before playing the game. This way, your booth staff won't have to collect the leads manually and can fully focus on engaging with the visitors. Some interesting trivia challenges can include;

#1 Fun Food Trivia

Ask fun questions related to food trivia while subtly inserting questions around your brand and its offerings in the space. 

#2 Are You a Foodie Challenge

Asking fun questions like, if you could have just one food for the rest of your life, what would it be, can be an interesting way to get your audience involved and think about you and your products.

#3 Healthy Food Trivia

If you're into healthy food space, this can be effective in engaging with like-minded audiences while promoting your products. 

#4 Name That Spice

Show participants pictures of different spices and ask them to identify each one by name.

#5 Food Origins

Provide a list of popular dishes and ask participants to guess the country or region from which each dish originates.

#6 Culinary Capitals

Give participants a list of cities known for their cuisine and ask them to match each city with its famous dish or specialty.

#7 Food and Movie Pairings

Provide a list of famous food scenes from movies and ask participants to identify the movie in which each scene appears.

#8 Celebrity Chefs

Show participants pictures of famous chefs and ask them to name each one. You can also include questions about their signature dishes or restaurants.

#9 Ingredient Riddles

Present riddles describing specific food ingredients, and participants have to guess the ingredient based on the clues given. This can also work quite well if you're offering tasters. Let them taste your food and beverage and guess the ingredients through an interactive trivia challenge.

#10 Dessert Trivia

Create a quiz focusing solely on desserts from different cultures or famous dessert recipes. It can be effective if you're into deserts. 

#11 Food Emoji Challenge

Show participants a series of food-related emojis, and they must decipher the food or dish represented by combining them.

#12 Food in Pop Culture

Ask questions about food references in popular songs, TV shows, movies, or literature.

#13 Food History

Test participants' knowledge of food history by asking questions about the origins of specific ingredients, cooking techniques, or historical food events.

Remember to adjust the difficulty level of the questions according to the participant's knowledge and interests. You can organize the trivia challenge in various formats, such as multiple-choice questions, picture identification, or open-ended questions.

[READ: 9 Unique Ways to Capture Leads at Trade Shows]

Trade Show Raffle

A raffle game can effectively generate quick leads without overcrowding the booth. So, if you expect to have a lot of visitors at your booth, this can be a fun way to generate leads. The key to this game's success is choosing the right prizes. Here are some fun raffle prize ideas-

#1 Gourmet Food Basket

Create a beautifully curated gourmet food basket filled with various high-quality food products, such as artisanal chocolates, specialty cheeses, gourmet sauces, organic snacks, and unique spices.

#2 Cooking Class Experience

Offer a cooking class experience with a renowned chef or culinary expert. The winner can enjoy a hands-on cooking lesson, learning new techniques and recipes.

#3 Restaurant Gift Certificates

Provide gift certificates to popular local restaurants or fine dining establishments. Winners can enjoy a delicious meal and explore different culinary experiences.

#4 Food Subscription Box

Give away a subscription to a monthly food box service. The winner can receive a selection of curated food items, snacks, or beverages delivered right to their doorstep each month.

#5 Culinary Tools and Equipment

Offer high-quality culinary tools and equipment such as a professional chef's knife set, a kitchen appliance like an Instant Pot or a stand mixer, or a premium cookware set.

#6 VIP Food and Wine Tour

Provide a VIP food and wine tour experience, where the winner can visit local wineries, breweries, or food producers, enjoying tastings and behind-the-scenes access.

#7 Specialty Food Hamper

Create a hamper filled with specialty food items specific to the region or theme of the trade show. Include items like gourmet olive oils, unique condiments, exotic spices, and locally sourced products.

#8 Cookbook Collection

Compile a collection of popular and highly regarded cookbooks featuring different cuisines or cooking styles. The winner can expand their culinary repertoire and explore new recipes.

#9 Coffee or Tea Lover's Package

Put together a package tailored for coffee or tea enthusiasts. Include premium coffee beans or tea leaves, a stylish coffee or tea brewing set, and unique accessories like a grinder or a tea infuser.

# 10 Exclusive Tasting Experience

Offer an exclusive tasting experience with a renowned food or beverage brand. The winner can have the opportunity to sample new products, meet the producers, and provide feedback.

These prize ideas should excite attendees and align with the food-focused nature of the trade show, creating a memorable experience for the winners.

Digital Prize wheel

Digital prize wheel is the digital version of the good old spin the wheel challenge, where visitors can enter a lead form and then spin the wheel on the installed iPads or on their own smartphones by scanning a QR code placed at the booth. Depending on where the pin lands on the wheel, visitors get exclusive prizes. 

Just like any other game, the key is to build good visuals through effective design. Moreover, list the right prizes that get the visitors excited. Besides the prizes listed for a raffle, here are some more suggestions.

#1 Better Luck Next Time or Try Again

This can be disappointing for the visitors, but it also creates a sense of excitement quite well. Of course, if it lands on better luck next time, the visitors don't get anything. However, you can also alternate it with "Try Again" if you don't want them to be utterly disappointed. 

#2 Get a Bonus Spin

Visitors get two spins to land on the shown prizes. This way, they can win two prizes instead of one. 

#3 Discount Vouchers

Offer them discount vouchers for your products or any other associated brands. 

2- Ace the Trade Show Booth Design

Every aspect of your exhibit, including the booth design, should speak about your brand. In other words, the “theme” of your brand or product should align with the trade show design. And no, you don’t need an enormous booth to get the design right. Even smaller 10x10 booths offer ample designing opportunities.

[READ: 10x10 Trade Show Booth Ideas]

For instance, if you have an organic or vegan food brand, use wood, natural fibers, and neutral colors for designing the booth. Such brands can also consider eco-friendly giveaways that align with their brand and values. Products like cupcakes and candies can be displayed in bright and colorful booths.

3- Keep Everything Fresh and Tasty

One of the most important tips for exhibitors at food trade shows is to keep the food fresh and delicious. For instance, if you serve fresh food to visitors, you must make arrangements to control the temperature. You'll need cooling or heating facilities at your booth based on what you're serving. So, ensure enough space for refrigeration, warmers, and oven units.

If readymade food items are delivered directly to your booth, ensure everything is made fresh just before the event. Any food safety, hygiene, or taste issue can severely impact your brand reputation. So, create a last-minute checklist and double-check everything before D-Day.

[READ: Last-Minute Trade Show Checklist for Exhibitors]

4- Attract the Senses

We eat first with our eyes. So, the presentation of your food or beverage is of utmost importance. If the booth is not attractive and hygienic, it can be challenging for your booth staff to attract people to the booth and encourage them to taste your food. 

For maximum impact, most food exhibitors generally use flat surfaces or shelves and creative lighting to display their products. Rather than the packaging, ensure people can see the food clearly to engage their senses. You can also consider displaying the ingredients used for making the product. Live food stations or tasting stations are other ideas worth considering.  

5- Deliver an Experience

You need more than just a good brand and great products to convert the leads into devoted customers. You have to provide them with a memorable experience and make them part of your brand. Engaging them with your brand story, helping them understand how you’re different from your competitors, product demonstrations, and a fun trade show activity can do the trick.

For instance, many food exhibitors now deploy a trade show trivia challenge at their booths. The trivia questions help the visitors learn more about the industry, brand, and products/services. So, the fun and engaging booth activity not only attract more people to your booth but also helps exhibitors with their event objectives.

[READ: From Boring to Fun: How an Interactive Trade Show Activity Can Make All the Difference]  

6- Get Social

Trade show marketing is crucial to spread the word about your exhibit. Most exhibitors generally start promoting their participation at an upcoming trade show at least a few weeks in advance. You can use social networking platforms to generate interest among your followers and regular trade show goers.

You can also use email marketing to update your existing customers and website visitors about your event preparations to encourage them to visit your booth. Even during the event, you can share videos and photos of your booth on social platforms to generate interest. As you’ll be busy with event preparations, it’ll be wise to partner with a reliable marketing company for online promotions.

[READ: 7 Trade Show Services That Could Be and Should Be Outsourced]

Generating Positive ROI at Food Trade Shows

Food trade shows can help you take your brand to the next level by expanding your reach and connecting you to hundreds and thousands of potential customers. But how effectively you’re able to leverage this opportunity depends on your knowledge and experience regarding trade shows.

The trade show tips discussed above have helped several food and beverage companies with their exhibits and can do the same for you. If you need a fun game for your booth to attract and engage the audience, our game challenges can help. Register for a free demo to learn how it works.  

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