Do your plans this summer include discovering a wide variety of products and services that could help improve your school nutrition menus, operational efficiency and nutrition education lessons? If you’ll be attending SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Boston this summer, you’ll likely succeed in your mission. The Exhibit Hall is sure to be your one-stop shop for any and every solution you’re hoping to find, whether it’s related to your menu, kitchen equipment, marketing efforts, safety protocols, staff training or almost anything else related to school nutrition! Repeat attendees espouse their conviction that ANC’s Exhibit Hall is an absolute must-see, and industry representatives are always excited for this annual opportunity to show you what they have to offer. Providing you with the chance to see, taste, smell, touch and try their products is as essential to them as it is to you. Indeed, many exhibitors also choose to return year after year after year, because of their positive experiences. One of this year’s sophomore exhibitors is back after an inaugural show at ANC in Kansas City last year. Of his ANC 2013 experience, Mike LaRocca, marketing manager for Beanitos, Inc., says, “We loved [meeting SNA members], and I really liked the dedicated director time.” (For more on this special directors-only period, see the box on page 86.) LaRocca continues, “We’re exhibiting again this year because of the overwhelmingly positive response we received on our new product.” Another ANC 2013 first-timer who will return to the show floor in Boston is Dakota Growers Pasta Company. According to Liz Housman, director of marketing, in Kansas City, her company gained many new contacts that resulted in new business, while also receiving valuable feedback from operators about what attributes they wanted in a whole-grain pasta. “As a result, we came out with two new items…. We’re looking forward to this year’s conference to showcase our new items and meet with operators who couldn’t attend last year,” Housman explains. The best way to get the most from your time in the Exhibit Hall—whether you are responsible for purchasing decisions or play a role in offering recommendations about such decisions—is to do some prep work before Monday’s grand opening. Take a few moments to review the list that stretches across the next few pages to identify companies that will be in attendance. You likely will recognize some of the names from the pages of this magazine, broker visits, the online CN Marketplace (via SchoolNutrition.org) and more. But what about those that you don’t know? Don’t worry—in the onsite ANC Program Guide, you will find short descriptions of exhibitor offerings, as well as companies listed by product categories. The amazing SNA ANC Exhibit Hall, with some 850 booths, initially may appear overwhelming, but you have many hours over three days to navigate your way around, whether you’re planning to check out the Culinary Demonstrations, the Wellness Village or that one special vendor you’ve read about. (For more Exhibit Hall highlights, see the box on page 78.) Be sure to carve out a few minutes to stop by the School Nutrition magazine booth to drop off your entry in this year’s “What’s Ruby Reading?” Contest (pages 10-11), offer ideas for future magazine articles or just say “hello” to the editorial team. We hope you’ll join SNA in making history in Boston this summer! CAN’T MISS Exhibit Hall Highlights As you explore the Exhibit Hall in Boston, make sure you leave time to check out some of the floor’s special highlights! • Culinary Demonstrations: There’s nothing more delicious than discovering fresh ways to prepare and serve school meals. Meet with experts who will share culinary secrets and nutrition tips to help you improve participation at your school. • Specialty Aisles: If you’re looking for a specific category of products, head over to the various specialty aisles to be found on the show floor: Dairy Way, Produce Row, USDA Lane, United Fresh Produce Pavilion and the Green Aisle. New this year is the Partners Pavilion, where you can engage with allied organizations that support the work of school nutrition professionals. Featured this year are Action for Healthy Kids, American Society for Nutrition, Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, Grain Food Foundation, New York Coalition for Healthy School Food and Share Our Strength–No Kid Hungry. • Catch the Moment: Look back fondly on your time spent in the Cradle of Liberty with a souvenir personalized photo, captured with a background unique to the 2014 conference—or put yourself on the “cover” of School Nutrition! • Wellness Village: After taking in all the information you’ll learn at various education sessions and then trekking through the Exhibit Hall, you deserve a break! Meet with health and wellness professionals, who are ready to help you relax at a massage station, offer tips for healthy living and more. • New Product Showcase: Located outside the Exhibit Hall, the New Product Showcase will highlight many of the newest products, services and equipment available to schools within the last year. View them in the display cases, then go get more details from the vendors in the Hall! DIRECTOR ’S All-Access Pass Are you an SNA director-level member? You’ll want to make plans to visit the Exhibit Hall from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 15, for the exclusive directors-only period. (Note: Directors may be accompanied by one employee from the same school district, but you must enter together at the same time.) Make sure you pick up your directors-only All-Access Pass card as you enter. When you visit a specified number of booths during this extended time period and complete the details on the card, you will be entered into a drawing to win a 2015 meetings package, which includes free registrations to SNA’s School Nutrition Industry Conference, Legislative Action Conference and Annual National Conference. Stop back on Wednesday morning, when a list of the winners will be posted in the Exhibit Hall. EXHIBIT HALL Etiquette The ANC Exhibit Hall can be an overwhelming, exciting experience, filled with vendors and customers alike, all with the common goal of serving kids through creative, successful, efficient K-12 school nutrition operations. Everywhere you turn, there’s something new to see and do—you might try to win a great prize at one booth or sample tasty treats or delicious beverages at another or pick up a giveaway item at yet another booth. However, as much fun as the Exhibit Hall is, it’s important to keep in mind that it is a place where business is the top priority. While the games, giveaways and samples are a way to entice you to learn more about a company’s product, please do your part and take the time to listen to what the exhibitors have to say. Be honest about your program’s needs, relay your interest about the product and the company and always be sure to thank the vendors for attending ANC, supporting SNA and partnering with you to serve children. No matter your job title and responsibilities, all school nutrition team members are expected to be ambassadors of their profession and demonstrated experts in the business. Exhibitors return year after year because of the dividends that their involvement brings, and with your help, they’ll continue to see exhibiting at ANC as a worthwhile investment, ensuring that it’s the best national resource available to you every summer! In Search of: SECRET SHOPPERS Are you someone who’s always keeping an eye out to spot the most innovative and helpful new products and services for your school meals program? For the fifth year, SNA’s School Nutrition is recruiting a discerning group of Secret Shoppers to help identify the most exciting, eye-catching items on display in the Exhibit Hall this summer. We’ll share your results in a fall issue of the magazine. If you’re interested in telling SN what caught your eye and why, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30 for details on how to participate. Note: Shoppers must be active SNA members working for a school or district at the time of the conference. All shoppers are volunteers; there is no discount on ANC registration or other remuneration.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.