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CFIG's Vancouver tradeshow gets a makeover

Tradeshow to focus on specialty food and trendsight

The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers has announced the previously named Grocery Showcase West tradeshow will now be known as Grocery & Specialty Food West. Along with the name change, attendees can expect to see many other new highlights at next year's show.

Canadian Grocer's news editor, Meagan Kashty, spoke with CFIG president Tom Barlow about what exhibitors and attendees can expect when they venture to Vancouver in the spring.

What are some of the highlights of this year’s show?

We’re rebranding the show and readjusting our focus. We’re calling this year’s show “Grocery and Specialty Food West.”

Our members have said they want to see unique products and want the opportunity to get ahead of some of the trends. A lot of them travel to New York for the Summer Fancy Food Show for that reason, and we want to bring that experience to Canada.

What will the focus be?

We’ll focus on organic, ethnic, gluten-free products – unique things that can bring back to their customers.

Attendees will now be able to make purchases at the show – can you speak to that aspect?

We’re looking to create opportunities between trading partners and their suppliers. This will give the opportunity for show specials and for partners to actually sit down and discuss opportunities for growth.

What we’re looking for is, rather than have companies meet quickly at a booth and exchange business cards, they can actually sit down one-on-one and delve deeply into the discussions they want to have.

Why did you decide to make it a buying show again?

Our members see value in it and they can justify their trip to and from the show. There are really three key things we want to do with our shows: We want to connect retailers and the suppliers together, we want to create a learning environment, and we want to create an opportunity to experience new things.

I understand workshops will also be a focus?

In the past, our focus was on conferences and bringing workshops to the conference attendees. This year the workshops are coming to the tradeshow floor.

Think of the food stage at this year’s Grocery Innovations Canada (in Toronto). We’re going to use the floor space to create learning sessions for our members, presenting tangible things both the retailers and the suppliers can use.

Can you share what those workshops will be?

We’re still developing what will work best for the show.

What do you hope attendees and exhibitors take away from the show?

The key value for the members is to learn or experience things they can take back to their store. While the networking aspects of the shows is still important, we are trying to create actionable items that they can make work in their stores. We want them to see these presentations and participate in these workshops and say, “I can do that.”

Will we see aspects of the Vancouver show in next year’s Grocery Innovations Canada?

You’ll see some of the key things trickle down. Our focus is on those three pillars – connecting, learning and experience. I think there’s a real need in our industry to come together at these shows to do that.

Grocery and Specialty Food West 2015 will take place April 13-14 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Click here for more info.

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