Dot Foods recently welcomed 2,634 customers, suppliers, operators, and employees to St. Louis, Missouri for Innovations 2022, our annual trade show.
“Better together” was the theme for Innovations 2022. Our show always brings together Dot partners across several industry channels to network and share knowledge. Given the industry challenges in the past couple years, our partnerships and the opportunity to meet in person are especially valuable.
The event included Innovations favorites as well as exciting firsts. The show kicked off on Wednesday, April 27.
Exhibitors arrived at the America’s Center to set up their booths. Several met with their sales representatives to discuss opportunities to grow their business.
That evening, national account operators, international customers, and exhibitors took over the Anheuser-Busch brewery to enjoy dinner and drinks at the St. Louis landmark. Attendees also toured the stables and brewery and took pictures with a Budweiser Clydesdale.
National account operators had a special line-up of activities at Operator Insights. Datassential’s Jack Li presented food and beverage trends as well as insights into restaurant challenges. Flavor & The Menu’s Cathy Nash Holley led a discussion with operators about their strategies to adjust to industry changes.
Operators then took to the trade show floor for a private preview from over 70 exhibitors. The preview gave national accounts a chance to meet with suppliers and their chefs one on one.
That afternoon, Dot’s distributor partners joined exhibitors and operators for an exclusive conversation with Momofuku founder, TV personality, and author David Chang. Cathy Nash Holley covered several topics with Chang, including his work to change perceptions of mental health and Asian cuisine.
Additional seminars were offered for attendees:
“Trends and Insights” by Datassential’s Jack Li
“The Future of Supply Chain” by Plug and Play’s Harvey Williams
“Digital Disruption” by Applico’s Alex Moazed
We finished the day with dinner at the Marriott St. Louis Grand and the return of an Innovations favorite: our private concert. Darius Rucker played both his country and Hootie & the Blowfish hits at the Stifel Theatre.
Dot Foods CEO Joe Tracy presented his annual Industry Update. He gave his take on the state of different industry segments as well as current challenges, like the ongoing labor shortage and inflation. He also shared Dot’s exciting developments in ecommerce and automation.
Then, attendees descended onto the show floor to check out 321 exhibitors. Some exhibitors took part in our first-ever Culinary Experience, where they provided inventive small plates in extra large booths, food trucks, and food carts.
This year also marked the debut of our non-foods demos. Five of our non-foods suppliers gave product demos right on the show floor. Another first was our Datassential tasting booth, where Datassential trendologist Mike Kostyo presented surprising pairings like Hot Cheetos and vanilla frosting.
To wrap up Innovations, we served cocktails and hors d'oeuvres with music from Spinphony, a string quartet that performs energetic covers of pop hits.
We look forward to welcoming our partners back to St. Louis on June 13-15, 2023 for our next trade show! Until then, look out for more articles covering Innovations 2022 in our Newsroom.