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IDBBA has tagged 2023 as the year of technology and innovation, and both will be in full display at What’s in Store Live.

There’s a sense for something good at IDBBA 2023

Show will play off past success while also offering new features in Anaheim, Calif.

If the sensory connection is waning at the IDBBA show in Anaheim, Calif. (held June 4-6), if that is even possible, there is a definite hot spot on the show floor.

The What’s in Store Live section is where senses can be charged. IDBBA has tagged 2023 as the year of technology and innovation, and both will be in full display at What’s in Store Live. Augmented reality, robots and the latest in terms of menu boards will be some of the highlights of the attraction. The interactive marketplace showcases innovative and aspirational merchandising. It was designed by a cross section of industry experts that ideated concepts that highlighted sponsored products to create representative bakery, cake, cheese and prepared food cases. The area keeps the food front and center.

“What we will try and do in What’s in Store Live is really ignite the senses and make them come to life,” Whitney Atkins, VP of Marketing for IDBBA, told Supermarket News. “From the sight, the smell, the sound, the taste, you name it.”

At press time registration for the show was still growing. The show floor was already over 90% sold and was packed with over 600 exhibitors, including over 100 first-time companies waiting to be on display. The organic plant-based pavilion was on the verge of selling out in early March, and almost 100 exhibitors were signed up for the international pavilion. Those numbers could exceed the 2019 show, which was the last one before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down everything that was live.

A new attraction at the show has a familiar look. The attendee-favorite cake decorating challenge and competition, where the IDBBA is partnering with the American Bakery Association, will feature bakers taking sponsor-chosen ingredients and putting together their best cake. On the second day of the competition, the bakers will use artwork that kids have created from the Children’s Hospital of Orange County to put on cakes, which will be donated back to the hospital. QR codes also will be available so attendees could donate to the kids in need.

Another fresh take for the What’s in Store Live emporium is what IDBBA will be doing with aspiring professionals in the marketplace. Working with Rational Oven, IDBBA will work with culinary schools in the area and will provide an internship opportunity for students who will be able to come on the show floor and receive hands-on experience. Students also will be able to walk the show floor to build up their network of professionals.

“The What’s in Store Live stage will feature a combination of speakers and events,” said Atkins. “They will either talk about industry trends or they will showcase industry trends.”

The Visionary Program is for first- and second-year vendors that come in at a lower cost in hopes of getting a leg up in the market. Local suppliers and food companies typically take advantage of the program.

“[Vendors] can come in with a dedicated space, show their products, show their business solution and make contacts,” mentioned Atkins. “And we find that retailers are looking for that these days.”

The New Product Showcase is a special section on the show floor where attendees can come in, see the new products all in one place and establish a connection with the companies.

“We are just excited to bring the newness back to the industry,” said Atkins. “I think that the automation and the technology that you are going to see is really going to be top notch.

“We have people creating some programs for us in augmented reality that nobody has seen before. I think that is going to be fun for retailers to see, especially as we all look to how we can train and onboard employees now and going forward.”

The IDBBA has an app that is available all year round for members, and it will be churning out useful services during the show. The show floor will have interactive mapping where attendees can find exhibits and sponsors. Stories about the lifecycle — from packaging and showing it off on the retail floor — also will be featured in the app.

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