Five Creative Trade Show Display Strategies From IFT18

I had the privilege of attending IFT’s Food Expo this year. As a first timer at the show, I was inspired by all the people, sights and activities taking place. It was a great opportunity to experience the many ways that food ingredient companies take advantage of prominent industry events to help tell their stories and engage with customers.

Below, I dive a little deeper into the top five booth features I found to be the most visually appealing and engaging at IFT18.

1. Packing a Powerful Punch

Having a small space doesn’t mean you can’t get the most out of your trade show graphics. While Bulk by CHO’s booth was small, it had about as much punch as a large booth. The backlit wall was easy to read and had a simple, clean message with shelves to display products – proof that smaller spaces can be just as impacting as larger ones!Bulk by CHO Trade Show Booth at IFT18

2. Bringing Nature Indoors

I noticed that many companies included natural elements and materials in their displays to help promote messages centered around nature, sustainability and social responsibility. The variety of plants at Tastepoint by IFF certainly caught my attention. Additionally, Ardent Mills’ space included a wooden pergola element, which helped promote its new division, The Annex by Ardent Mills. I also saw companies like Silva International and Blue Marble Biomaterials use wood panels and other building materials to create unique booth designs.

3. Marketing Before the Show

Prior to IFT18, Ingredion sent a direct mail piece offering a free backpack to trade show attendees who stopped by its booth, so of course I had to pay the team a visit at the show. The backpack design, which matched the company’s clean and modern booth design, made an impression as I walked the show floor. Several people even stopped me to ask where I got my backpack! Giveaways like this are always great because they incentivize trade show attendees to stop by your booth and help market your brand.

4. Engaging Through Interactive Components

Offering engaging activities at your booth can help grab attention and break the ice with visitors. For example, the Bunge Loders Croklaan booth included a chocolate bar taste test, which initiated a conversation between me and an employee working at the booth. Meanwhile, Land O’ Lakes Ingredients had a large interactive screen at the entrance of its booth that brought up various snack-centered flavor trends. DSM organized all its samples around different meals of the day, which made the sampling process less intimidating for such a large space. The booth staff also had small screens that reported various health stats based on skin pigmentation. (See photo of our team member, Jennifer Remsberg, trying it out at the event.)

5. Incorporating Handcrafted Looks

Many booth structures also incorporated graphics that had a handcrafted quality look and feel to them, making their spaces seem warm and approachable. For example, Kalsec used its space to create a craft brewery that drew visitors into a bar-like setting with on-tap drinks and snacks featuring various product offerings.

Overall, I was impressed by the amount of eye-catching booths and interactive displays at IFT18. I highly recommend other food ingredient marketers attend the event in order to stay on top of the latest trends.

Which booth designs made an impression on you? Comment below to share your thoughts.