This year’s International Dairy-Deli-Bake Association conference was massive, and covered such a huge array of products with such a diverse lineup of speakers that it was almost impossible to see and attend everything — not that we didn’t all try. So after leaving Houston and getting back to our desks, the staff here at instore all shared our favorite parts of the show, which then inspired us to reach out to readers and sources alike to see what they enjoyed most, too. Below are listed (in no particular order) the most frequent responses to the questions we asked in order to determine which speakers, subjects, products and attitudes garnered the most buzz — but we’ll leave the final answer for you to decide.
Best events: The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board party, California Milk Marketing Board party, Cake Decorating Challenge, and the first day’s wine/cheese/whisky pairing
Best products/booths: Aphrodite Cookies; Weyauwega cheese display’s Wisconsin cheese curds; Love, Cookies; Bridgford Buttermilk Biscuit Puck Dough; Taylor Farms; Cafe Valley Bakery; Give and Go booth; Sugar Bowl Bakery; Newberry Specialty Bakery; Chef Shamy Gourmet
Best speakers: Anthony Bourdain, Jerry Seinfeld, Simon Sinek, Lindsey Von and Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert
Best new food trends: Spicy and Asian flavors, hummus, cookies with candy in them, the continuing increase of protein into all kinds of food, the emergence of sophisticated snack packs and party trays, the clean label trend, the increasing number of gluten-free products, high pressure pasteurization, product transparency, natural ingredients, grab-and-go foods, waffles as snacks, artisan breads, and how many companies are going green (recyclable, compostable, paperless)
Best new packaging trends: Drink pouches, lightweight packaging, and easy-to-open packaging
Most appreciated features: The Show & Sell Center, New Products Expo and the indoor tram
Biggest hope for next year: That the show will be somewhere with better weather!