Popular Food Trade Shows and Food Expos and Why Attend Them

Nick Mirev
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    The food and beverage industry is among the biggest sectors of the economy worldwide. That’s why it is no surprise that international food expos traditionally gather tens of thousands of attendees. Many exhibitors see these events as a chance to showcase their latest innovations in front of potential customers. From different applications of AI in restaurants to food and beverage packaging trends, food expos attract various exhibitors and attendees. In this article, we’ll share more about the popular food trade shows and what are the benefits of attending such events.

    Key takeaway: There are hundreds of food expos in the US every year. Most of them focus on specific parts of the industry like dairy or packaging. However, other events aim to gather attendees and exhibitors from all feeds of the food industry. Attending such events has many benefits like networking or the possibility to find new partners and suppliers.
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    Popular Food Expos

    When picking a trade fair to visit, there are multiple factors to consider. For example, attending or exhibiting at the most popular trade shows might not be optimal. Instead, consider your business goals. If you’re looking for more exposure and wish to boost brand recognition, events with a high number of attendees might be the right option. The same is true if you wish to use the event as a type of marketplace to direct customers. However, if you’re looking for new restaurant technology, a specialized event that gathers software solution providers and restaurant managers might be a better choice. There are hundreds of local, national, and international food expos in the US. Make sure you pick the right events based on your company’s goals. Now let’s see a few examples of popular food expos.

    Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows

    With a decade-long history, the winter and summer fancy food shows are among the most popular food expos in the US. They attract many international exhibitors and attendees as well. The primary focus of these events is specialty food. From retailers like grocery stores to C-level managers of restaurant and hospitality groups, Fancy Food Shows in New York and Las Vegas are a must-visit for distributors and technology providers.


    Organized by SNAC International (formerly known as the Snack Food Association), these two events offer great networking opportunities for professionals in the snack industry. SNX is a conference-style event that focuses on collaboration and education. On the other hand, SNAXPO is a classical trade show where suppliers, producers, and other businesses in the sector showcase equipment, flavors, seasonings, packaging, and ingredients. SNAXPO is more suitable for B2B distributor marketing.

    Sweets & Snacks Expo

    The Sweets & Snacks Expo is a food expo that showcases the trends in both sweet and savory foods. From chocolate and candy to chips and beef jerky, this event gathers professionals from every corner of the snacks industry. The event takes place in Indianapolis and is organized by the National Confectioners Association. 

    American Food Manufacturing Summit

    Although this event doesn’t gather as many attendees as some trade shows, it’s much more concentrated and offers good possibilities for education and networking. The summit is organized by Generis, a leading company in the field of business events. From meeting large broadline distributors to exploring the restaurant industry trends, this summit gives attendees the opportunity to see the latest innovations and find partners in various fields.


    PACK EXPO International is one of the largest events in the packaging sector. It is part of a series of events in the US and Mexico. With more than 45,000 attendees and over 2,500 exhibitors, PACK EXPO is truly a trend-setting event. It’s part of the B2B omnichannel marketing of many suppliers who wish to showcase their latest innovations and packaging solutions to a wide audience of professionals. As smart and active packaging is becoming an increasingly important part of the overall packaging process, businesses in the food, beverage, and restaurant industries need to stay up to date with the latest trends and possibilities.

    Other Food Expos

    There are hundreds of different food expos where professionals can find out about the latest trends in various fields. Most industries prefer to organize events for their specific sector. That’s why there are specialized events in the dairy, cattle, meat, agricultural, frozen food, and other subcategories of the food industry.

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    Benefits of Attending Food Expos

    The main reason why professionals attend these events is because there are numerous networking opportunities. Education panels have become increasingly important as there are various innovations and new technologies that can help businesses maximize profits. Thus, conventions, summits, and trade fairs pay special attention to that.

    Another benefit of attending food expos is the opportunity to increase sales and find reliable partners. Wholesale trade shows are part of the B2B marketing effort of many suppliers. Distributors also attract new customers by offering additional services and solutions such as ordering automation and better logistics.

    Food expos give companies the chance to not only showcase their products and services but also examine their competitors.

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    Frequently Asked Questions about Food Expos

    Event marketing plays an important role in B2B sales. That’s why many businesses search for high-profile customers at expos and trade shows. Check out the answers to some commonly asked questions about food expos and trade shows.

    What Businesses Attend Food Expos?

    Virtually all companies can benefit from attending food, beverage, or restaurant trade shows. Some of the businesses that exhibit at these corporate events include software companies, marketing agencies, and manufacturers of different types of packaging. Traditionally, here are some of the businesses that attend food expos.

    1. Catering businesses;
    2. Restaurant managers and operators;
    3. Manufacturers from the food and beverage industry;
    4. Packaging companies;
    5. Businesses in the snacks and bakery sector;
    6. Machinery and equipment companies;
    7. Hotel operators and managers in the hospitality sector;
    8. Suppliers like meat distributors or produce distributors;
    9. Representatives of financial institutions.

    How to Organize an Expo?

    Organizing a trade fair or an expo can be a challenging but rewarding endeavor. These events can be a good way for businesses to take their place as leaders in their niche market and to increase their brand recognition. When we think of expos, the main association is an event that gathers tens of thousands and is organized by an official association or another reputable brand in the industry. However, not all corporate events are that big. Instead, businesses can organize local events that gather companies from the nearby communities. Here are the main steps when organizing such an event.

    1. Planning every aspect of the event;
    2. Find the right venue;
    3. Find exhibitors and promote the event to attendees;
    4. Organize enough entertainment, snack, and beverage options for attendees;
    5. Plan future events in advance in order to promote them during the expo;
    6. Collect data and analyze the event to improve future editions.

    What Are Virtual Trade Shows?

    These events are similar to regular expos and trade shows but they are held online. Modern trade fair software allows exhibitors and attendees to get the benefits of attending a trade show from the comfort of their desks. The pandemic has sparked a rise in the popularity of virtual expos. Furthermore, if the event is held online, businesses can attend simply by registering and logging in. This significantly reduces expenses such as hotel and travel arrangements.

    The main disadvantage of virtual trade fairs is that attendees can’t see the actual products. Instead, they can look at pictures or videos of the products but that is rarely enough. Nevertheless, attending a virtual expo is a great option if you wish to expand your business contacts, find suppliers, or check the trends in the sector.

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