Last year, more than 1,350 exhibitors represented the healthy living marketplace at Expo East, the largest organic and natural food and beverage event on the East Coast. And according to Expo East, 25% of those exhibitors were new companies (go start-ups!). This is a fantastic opportunity for like-minded foodies to network and learn from each other by sharing insights and key learnings. And this year, Sheri and I are attending! We’re packing up and heading out for three days in September to be completely immersed in our favorite topic: food marketing. #geekalert
As registered dietitians, we bring a unique perspective to the conference. We’re able to identify products that health professionals can feel good about recommending to their patients or clients. But in a sea of “health” foods, what will stand out to us and more importantly, why? Here are three tips you can follow to win the hearts of health professionals during a crowded trade show:
- Use health claims that are backed by science. Dietitians are skeptical of silver bullet promises to fix common consumer woes like weight loss and aging. Any food that declares it will solve a problem like this will immediately become irrelevant to serious health professionals. It’s ok to say that your product aids in weight loss or skin rejuvenation or whatever problem you’re tackling – as long as it’s supported by scientific evidence. (Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence that proves food will cause miracles.)
- Include a health professional on your team. If possible, invite your nutrition expert to the trade show and have her (or him) answer questions at your booth. Bonus points if she wears something like a button or T-shirt identifying her as your team’s nutritionist. If that’s not possible, include information about this person as part of your display including a bio and business cards.
- Solve a problem for attendees. Make your product easy to recommend. Work with your nutrition team to develop resources that help health professionals. For example, if your product is gluten free flour, create recipe cards that dietitians can give to their patients living with Celiac Disease. Or if you sell sodium-free seasoning, develop a low-sodium grocery list that dietitians can share with patients who have high blood pressure.
After the Expo East show, we’re going to release an article on “Foods to Watch” that we’ll share with our community of health professionals. If you’re planning to attend Expo East this year, or even if you’re not, and you’d like to schedule a meeting to chat about your biz, let us know !