virtual food trade show

Over the past couple of months, we’ve been blogging about the possibility of holding more virtual food trade shows in the future. As businesses continue to remain closed, virtual trade shows are looking like a great option for all kinds of industries. Live trade shows require massive amounts of planning and money, all of which is wasted in the event of an emergency cancellation. In our last blog, we talked about the many clear advantages of a virtual trade show. But are there disadvantages? That’s what HSR Associates will look into today as we discuss possible disadvantages of virtual food trade shows.

You Don’t Sell the Steak, You Sell the Sizzle

Perhaps the greatest and most obvious disadvantage is that most virtual attendees may not have the chance to sample your product. As a food product, that’s the major selling point. You can talk your food up all you want, but people buy it if they can try it. As the old saying goes, “You don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.” If potential customers never see or hear that “sizzle,” then companies will need new ways to deliver it.

It also becomes all the more challenging to woo casual browsers to your products. Casual browsers are enticed by interesting advertising and food products that look particularly tasty. If they can’t taste the product or even see it in person, how can you capture their attention and draw them in? Businesses getting involved in a virtual food trade show will need to be incredibly creative and innovative – and probably invest more than before into food photography and design.

So, unless you’re willing and able to mail samples of your products to each member of your target audience, you’re out of luck. Most start-up food businesses cannot afford something like that. Therefore, they need to explore alternatives.

Virtual Food Trade Shows and Local Distributors

One of the advantages of an in-person food trade show is your ability to connect with local distributors. You’re not just trying to catch potential consumers for your products, you’re also trying to connect with other potential business partners. At food trade shows, they’re customers too.

At a virtual trade show, connecting with these vendors becomes more challenging. Virtual interactions limit your ability to get to know the distributor, see how they operate, learn what they value, and determine if they can help advance your product. Therefore, if a virtual food trade show is going to be a viable option for the future, this issue will also need to be addressed in creative ways.

Marketing and Technology

Your marketing strategies will need to change drastically for a virtual food trade show as opposed to normal trade shows. It won’t be as straightforward as attention-grabbing banners, an interactive game, and/or an attractive food product display. Think about it. How much of your marketing depends on customers being able to handle, touch, and taste your products? None of those aspects are possible. Therefore, you’ll need to rethink your strategy.

With this in mind, taking advantage of technology and virtual advertising will need to be your focus. For many small business food companies, virtual advertising may not be something they’ve focused on a great deal. Do you have the know-how to market online effectively?

HSR Associates Can Help with Virtual Food Trade Shows

HSR Associates is here to provide you and your business with everything you need to take advantage of virtual food trade shows, including creative solutions to the possible disadvantages. Our imaginative and resourceful team can help you capture new clients, connect with local vendors, and take advantage of technology to grow your business and get your products out there.

In our next blog, we’ll talk about how the food trade show and product development industries will continue to evolve. In the meantime, we want to hear what you think about virtual trade shows. Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? We would love to receive your comments!

HSR ASSOCIATES specializes 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…………..