Striking it rich

The 2010 IDDBA convention in Houston showcased a wealth of products and creative merchandising ideas.

By Richard Turcsik

The A-list speakers, in­cluding Rachel Ray, former President George W. Bush and the ac­tor/co­median John Pin­ette, may have lassoed them in, but once attendees of the 46th Annual International Dairy Deli Bakery Association Show hit the show floor of the George R. Brown Houston Convention Center they rustled up a stampede of new products and dairy, deli and bakery sales-building techniques.

With its prominent location just inside one of the main entrances, the Wis­consin Milk Marketing Board booth was a must-stop for many conventioneers. There, attendees could sample cheeses from dozens of “America’s Dairy­land” manufacturers. And pick up some fun facts too. For example, Waterloo, Wis.-based Crave Brothers not only has new marinated fresh pearl mozzarella balls, but also runs an eco-friendly Manure Digestor, which uses animal waste to not only power the farm but 180 nearby homes.

Stopping by the Sara Lee booth down the other end of the floor, attendees could not only grab a slice of silky smooth peanut butter pie, but also some tips on how to increase sales of deli bulk meat by sampling the Steakhouse Skillet made with thickly sliced deli roast beef instead of meat department steak.

“We’re sampling both our lower-sodium ham and lower-sodium roast beef in recipes that are outside of sandwiches,” said Michelle Malkin, director, customer marketing, Sara Lee North America Retail. “Prob­ably 80% of deli meat is sold for sandwiches, but we really think there are other options people just don’t think about.”

The theme at the General Mills booth this year was that Minneapolis-based company is the bakery department’s partner, especially when it comes to sweet goods. Throughout the booth the message was driven home that the popular “Labels for Education“ program can also be applied to General Mills’ in-store bakery products. “Branding in the bakery can be challenging, but this is one way that we at General Mills can help our bakery partners out,” explained Elizabeth Lang Eberle, marketing manager, in-store bakery. “This fall for the first time we will be putting commercials on television about Box Tops for Education.”

Boston Seafood Show mainstay American Pride catfish was a first-time exhibitor. “We’re promoting our Hot Deli concept, which centers around a fried codfish sandwich,” said Bryan Elmore, marketing/creative service manager at New Bedford, Mass.-based American Seafoods Group. “One of our customers found it outsold their chicken sandwich during Lent and after Lent it only dropped off a little bit, so we decided to show it at this show. Everybody who has tried it here has just been singing its praises.”

Over at the Hormel booth, attendees could sample the Austin, Minn.-based company’s new Sliders, available frozen for slack out in BBQ Pork, Breakfast, Chicken and Cheese­burger varieties. “They are solving the problem of labor in the deli because they come in a kit format, and they are delivering one of the hottest trends right now—sliders,” said Mike Lammers, deli meal innovations director. “The BBQ Pork has 15% barbecue sauce incorporated into the patty, and in the Breakfast the cheese is incorporated into the egg so it doesn’t drip on you if you are dashboard dining.”

Among the items on display at Create A Treat, a Brampton, Ontario, Canada-based gingerbread house company, was the Gin­gerbread House Village of mini gingerbread houses. “It’s great for families because each kid can do their own house,” said Sean Begley, regional sales manager.

Shirley, N.Y.-based Uncle Wally’s was showcasing Betty Crocker ready-to-eat brownies and Fiber One wraps, which are debuting later this year. “We’re not moving away from the Uncle Wally’s brand, but we’re broadening our base,” said Jerry Ceccio, vice president of sales and marketing. “What these types of licensing relationships have done is brought us bigger relationships with key retailers.”

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