A New Approach Connecting on the IFT Tradeshow Floor

Let’s face it – conferences can be a little awkward.

Your usual routine is disrupted. You’re staying in a hotel in an unfamiliar city. You have lots of random downtime. The only people you know are the colleagues you came with, despite being surrounded by thousands of people for hours every day.

On the expo floor, interactions are kind of like dating. It’s a lot of uncomfortable small talk and seeking to learn a lot about someone in a little amount of time. You’re trying to gauge if someone is as interested in you as you are in them. You’re trying to forge a connection.

At least at food industry conferences there are plenty of free samples and swag.

At Bluegrass Ingredients, we thrive on the networking and collaboration that comes out of industry tradeshows. We know that conferences are where big, new ideas get hashed out. We always look forward to the presentations and the takeaways. We know many of our customers and partners feel the same way.

But we’re not big fans of stiff sales pitches and clumsy conversation. So, in the lead up to one of the biggest industry conferences of the year, we did what we do best. We started innovating.

Building a Better Booth

We set about creating a new booth experience that delivered on four key fronts:

  1.  It offers a more comfortable booth experience.
  2.  It offers clear, actionable details on who Bluegrass is, our products, and how we work.
  3.  It offers a seamless way to reach the right person on our team and set up a time to connect.
  4.  It offers a fun and legitimate giveaway that rewards people for taking the time to check us out.


The result is our “digital-first” tradeshow booth we’re pioneering at IFT FIRST Annual Event and Expo in Chicago.

The booth meets the criteria we set up and has all the things you’d expect. It has details on our powders, concentrates and pastes, along with our services. It has easy ways to connect with our team and learn more about us. We even have a giveaway (a $100 Amazon gift card to whoever comes up with the best Chicago-themed flavor).

All we did was replace uncomfortable small talk with the ability for you to learn more and advance your business.

For booth visitors and potential partners, this digital-first approach offers several benefits. For starters, it gives you a chance to focus on the information you’re most interested in, not what someone else wants you to be most interested in. You know your business and your priorities. This lets you see how they align with Bluegrass Ingredients on your own terms. Your time is precious, and we certainly don’t want to waste it. Spend as much or as little time as you want learning how Bluegrass Ingredients can advance your innovation efforts.

If you want to meet in person, the BGI staff will be walking the floor and can respond to a text or phone call to meet you at the conference. At the same time, making information accessible via iPads and handouts . If you like what you see, you can set up a dedicated time to connect with one of our R&D or culinary specialists when you both have the time and focus to make the conversation a

To us, this approach feels like a win-win. Visitors to our booth can learn more about us and easily set up a time to connect during the conference. And we have a chance to go out and take in all the trends, innovations, and networking opportunities IFT FIRST has to offer to assist our customers innovation and growth.

Check out our digital-first booth at S3377.

Evolving How We Collaborate and Innovate

The reality is, this new approach to conferences is part of a broader effort across our entire organization to use innovative tactics and new tools to better connect and collaborate with customers.


At Bluegrass Ingredients, we pride ourselves on the deeper bonds we form with customers.

We are at our best when we’re treating a customer’s challenges as our own and innovating on new solutions. That’s the foundation of the Agile Kitchen at Bluegrass, where collaboration and iteration happen in real time with customers and partners. It’s the foundation of our Agile Ingredient Innovation service model and why we are constantly evaluating new flavor trends and evolving our products to better reflect what our customers and their customers want to get out of the food they put in their bodies.

Ultimately, it all comes down to trust. On the tradeshow floor and in the Agile Kitchen, we count on our current and prospective partners to trust that we have the capabilities and the passion to solve their toughest challenges and refine ingredients that advance their business goals.

We’re an agile company, which means we’re always iterating. Consider booth S3377 at IFT FIRST in Chicago our “digital booth 1.0.” Please come by to learn more about Bluegrass Ingredients and take a shot at designing the best “Chicago Flavor.” It may earn you $100.

Contact us today to get started!

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