food trade shows

Have you ever heard the phrase, “What you put in is what you get out”? You could certainly apply this concept to food trade shows. You may be wondering whether going to trade shows is really worth it for your food product startup. Is there a way to make the most of the opportunity so that they’re worth the expense? In this week’s blog, HSR Associates will look at some ways to maximize your time and productivity at food trade shows.

How to Prepare for Food Trade Shows

Hundreds of trade shows are held each year around the US. Some intend to draw a niche audience, such as people who are interested in vegan products or millennial health trends. Others attract thousands in a more general crowd. So, you need to do your research to determine which ones will be the most profitable for you. Think about profitability not just in terms of the number of people, but the right people. Targeting the correct audience is a very important part of food product development, and it’s not efficient to attend trade shows that won’t actually lead to potential consumers.

You’ll also need to accurately calculate costs for you, your staff, AND your equipment. Trade shows often charge not just for booth space, but also everything from electrical outlets to tables and chairs. Will the return be great enough? Your expert food marketing consultants will be able to project the costs and tell you whether a specific show will lead to profits or not. There are a ton of costs to consider that you won’t think of on your own if you don’t have a lot of trade show experience and insider info.

Let’s Get Down to Business

Once you’re at the trade show, the real business begins and you can focus on gathering leads. Have your pitch down pat, but be flexible enough to have real conversations. You should have an abundance of your best samples on hand so that everyone can get hooked on your food or beverage. If you’ve chosen the right trade show, every single visitor is a potential customer or distributor. If you’re not a natural salesperson, choose staff that are. Your consultant will be able to supply staff that are experts at gathering trade show leads.

You should collect a huge amount of contact information from people who are interested in buying or distributing your product. Your consultant will guide you in how to organize this information and select the best prospects for follow-up.

Plan to Follow Up

If all goes well, you’ll leave the trade show with a lot of momentum and concrete next steps. Schedule a follow-up for your priority contacts before the show ends. You’ll want to hit that sweet spot of a couple days but less than a week after the show. Don’t let your contacts forget about you. Lastly, if you’ve promised to send out more samples, send them immediately. Mailing samples is another thing you’ll need to prep for before the show. 

Food Trade Shows and HSR Associates

At HSR Associates, we have the expertise to recommend the best food trade shows for your specific product, and get your money’s worth from each one. The food product development consultants at HSR ASSOCIATES specialize in developing new food products and bringing them to market. We provide all the services necessary, from Kitchen To Marketplace. Contact us today at

More great ideas to come from our food product development experts! Stay tuned…………..