Photo credit: @eatright_pro. Abby Wambach delivers a keynote address during FNCE 2019 in Philadelphia.
Written by Leah Johnston, SRW’s In-House Registered Dietitian
The next show in your radar may not be Expo West, Expo East, Sweets & Snacks or even The Fancy Food Show. It’s time to plan for the Food & Nutrition Conference Expo, otherwise known as FNCE, a show in a league all its own. And for better-for-you and wellness brands, it represents a significant untapped opportunity.
Sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, FNCE is the largest gathering of nutrition professionals in the world. We’re talking about one place filled with thousands of nutrition and wellness experts, mostly registered dietitians. And we are not just A target audience. We are THE target audience. Not only are we avid consumers and purchasers of health and wellness products, individually, we also have expansive networks of clients, patients, social followers, colleagues, students, etc. We are thought leaders in the wellness space and will advocate hard for products that we love and believe in. We are the qualified messengers to the public regarding nutrition research and how it’s applicable to everyday life. If you are selling or developing products that are nutrient dense, better-for-you or safer for the planet, then we should be toward the top of your target audience list. And having a presence at FNCE is a good way to connect with a good chunk of us.
Much of FNCE is made up of sessions with health professionals sharing the latest in nutrition research, trends, practice guidelines and career tips. However, the Expo floor is the key place for food brands to show off their products, upcoming innovations and interact with nutrition professionals. Here are the worth-your-while opportunities to connect with nutrition experts at FNCE:
Photo credit: California Walnuts
Expo Exhibitor – Having a booth or virtual booth at FNCE is similar to what you may have experienced at other expos. What ought to be different is your message and the resources you deploy to cater to an audience of nutrition professionals. FNCE 2022 is expected to be an in-person event in Orlando, Florida, but regardless whether it’s live or virtual, there are a few things you can offer to pique the interest of attendees:
- Dietitian Toolkits & Resources – If there’s one thing that dietitians love, it’s a good handout that we can use in practice. Recipes, articles, guides, fact sheets and infographics are examples of other things that might make up a great toolkit for nutrition professionals. For the 2021 virtual event, some brands developed a website or landing page to house the resource and drive traffic to their website. BelVita Breakfast Biscuits built a helpful website devoted to resources related to slowly digestible starch, including research and recipes featuring their products and more.
- Research – Telling us about your products and health claims is great, but we want to actually see the research conducted in the last five years to support the claims. We make recommendations based on scientific evidence and that’s very important to our profession. If you are a maker of dark chocolate, don’t just explain to us the health benefits of dark chocolate (because we already know them) — instead show us the latest in dark chocolate research. If you can show us something novel and new, you’ll have our attention. Northwest Cherry Growers did a great job showcasing the latest in cherry research by providing links to studies via their virtual booth and even sponsoring an Expo Theater educational briefing.
- Ambassador Programs – An RD Ambassador Program is a catalyst to connect with professionals that align with your brand’s mission and establish brand advocates that are experts in their field. Brands like Siggi’s, KIND Snacks, Dr. Praeger’s and Zevia have all jumped on the program bandwagon to build a community of RD brand advocates and open a door for two-way communication with nutrition experts. By supporting RDs, you are also connecting with their network of like-minded colleagues, clients and followers and helping to drive positive change. And if you offer the right resources, like webinars, recipes or product samples, RDs LOVE being a part of these programs and SRW can help you build and launch it.
Photo credit: Food Navigator USA
Expo Theater – Sponsoring an educational event at the Expo Theater is a great way to showcase your products in action. Partner with a well-known RD influencer for a cooking demonstration and you will have a large, captive audience ready to learn and try your products. Offer a discount code or a giveaway shared with the audience and to the influencer’s social media accounts to gain additional traffic and drive purchase. The Expo Theater events are typically well attended at FNCE because it’s something a little more exciting than the typical educational session. Here are a few examples of Expo Theater sessions from FNCE 2021:
- The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Prunes: New Research and Recipe Hacks for Heart Health Sponsored by Sunsweet Growers – Researchers discussed the relationship between prune consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease in post-menopausal women, as well as new research regarding prunes and human health. Registered dietitian, Erin Palinski-Wade, shared tips on her favorite anti-inflammatory recipe hacks.
- Mindfulness in Action: Science, Movement & Snacking Sponsored by Mondelēz – This popular session discussed current health research on mindful eating and snacking practices and narrowing it to share consumer relevant recommendations. To close the hour, attendees participated in a short yoga and breath-work practice to bring calm to their day.
- Kitchen Essentials: Easy Tips & Tricks for Eating More Veggies Sponsored by Egg Nutrition Center – The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with registered dietitian and chef Abbie Gellman to demonstrate how eggs can partner with vegetables to create tasty and nutritious meals for any time of day.
Ready to talk FNCE 2022 on Oct 8th-11th? We thought so. And we’re ready and standing by with support and guidance.
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