By Len Monheit
The next couple weeks sees the conclusion of the industry spring calendar as sights then set on summer events.
Some of the industry will embark for Secaucus, New Jersey, there to participate in SupplySide East, and many will subsequently be on their way next week to Geneva for VitaFoods. Whether (and how) an organization participates is an individual decision and is based on an experience or perception set, but one would expect that at some level, basic parallel decision making processes have been utilized. Still, in this age of accountability, payback and ROI will be closely monitored. And just maintaining the ‘same old’ relationships doesn’t cut it; for many organizations these days, new business opportunities are the bottom line.
Obviously, the decision to participate in VitaFoods depends on an organization’s international agenda. Less obvious is a company’s decision regarding SupplySide East. As shows, conferences and other events (in-person and online) continue to proliferate, the value equation and justification for shows like SupplySide East become more complex, especially in the current economic climate. Managing both expectations and actual deliverables becomes an increasing challenge, and for that reason, the next few days will prove extremely interesting.
One of the hallmarks of this event has traditionally been excellent attendance and participation from local organizations, with regionally located supplement companies digging deep into their personnel to send participants. And although not a stellar convention facility, the SecaucusCenter (MeadowlandsExpoCenter) is usually abuzz and reasonably full. The fact that there are a total of 10 exhibiting hours between Tuesday and Wednesday creates urgency in performance for both exhibitors and attendees. Unlike SupplySide West and other events, the venue does not lend itself to solid community building, as many attendees are in and out and there is no optimal meeting place for any large community activity.
With all that being said, SupplySide East is certainly an event on the industry calendar, one where solid trade relationships can be reinforced and no doubt where many experienced participants will augment business opportunities. It will be interesting to observe whether, in the absence of a few of the ‘big boys’ from the ingredients world, some of the other prominent ingredient companies will not only dominate, but will attract new leads at the same time.
Another communication opportunity….
Comparing communication volume year over year, one finds that so far this year, volume is down. While there may be many factors involved, one cannot help but wonder whether the combination of economic issues and an inward focus on compliance are directly responsible. With this in mind, it will be extremely interesting to navigate the messaging around both show floors, (VitaFoods and SupplySide East) to verify observations.