Your Best Source for Sizzling Solutions with COOL Kid Cred Make the most of your visit to the largest school nutrition marketplace in the nation. GEORGIA’S STATE CAPITAL is considered a center of culture, diversity, business and modernity. And for four days in July 2017, Atlanta will be the epicenter of the entire school nutrition universe as the host of SNA’s 71st Annual National Conference (ANC). Do we have evidence for making such a bold claim? You bet! You won’t find a mere dozen education sessions on the ANC agenda—the number is 10 times that. You won’t interact with a few hundred school nutrition peers—you’ll gather with thousands. And you won’t discover just one new product solution—there will be more than you could possibly count offered by some 400 companies stretched across 200,000 square feet of exhibit space. It’s your one-stop shop for virtually any and every solution you’re hoping to find for your school meals program. What will you find along the miles of aisles of the ANC Exhibit Hall? A better question might be what won’t you find? (Answer: cricket sounds.) From food items sure to spice up your menus, to equipment that will improve preparation time and quality, to software solutions designed to streamline operations and save you money, every product category related to the K-12 school foodservice segment can be found under one roof! We don’t need to tell you to make sure the ANC Exhibit Hall is a must-visit destination on your busy conference itinerary. It will be open for several hours Monday through Wednesday, with no other official activities to compete for your attention. But we can encourage you to plan ahead, especially if you’re an ANC first-timer. This article can serve as just one valuable tool to help you get organized in advance. There’s so much to see, smell, taste and try in the Exhibit Hall; you could get overwhelmed, wander aimlessly and miss that one, key product, which alone could pay back your registration fees in increased participation, decreased expenses or both! Whether you are a purchase decision maker or a decision influencer, planning a strategy in advance to make the most of your time on the Exhibit Floor is critical. Some of you may have had a head start by attending SNA’s inaugural Virtual Expo earlier this spring. If you were among the thousands of registrants who accessed this free service, ANC will be an ideal opportunity to follow up on the connections you made with vendors online. This is a good place to begin. Take a look at the list of exhibitors in the pages that follow. Mark those whom you know or whose products you currently use; you’ll probably want see what new offerings they will have on display. Next, touch base with key team members in your own operation. Assess what’s working, what’s not working and what could be working better when it comes to menus. Maybe you need a new grab ‘n’ go hot breakfast item that will hold better for alternate breakfast service. Perhaps your team is struggling to properly prep your current whole-grain pasta. Or maybe you have heard from students that they wish you’d offer a current favorite that they get at the mall food court. Develop a wishlist for other areas, too, such as equipment, supplies, nutrition education resources, training support, technology and more. If you have time, you can head online to www.schoolnutrition.org/ANC/2017/ExhibitHall to view an interactive map of the Hall. We know you will want to identify where to view the Culinary Demonstrations, participate in the all new SPARK Sessions (page 120), stroll through the Produce Pavilion, get a well-deserved shoulder massage in the Wellness Village and, of course, stop by the School Nurition magazine booth and drop off your Ruby Reader entry (pages 12–13 and page 122)! Once you’re onsite in Atlanta, you will receive the official ANC Program Guide, which will provide brief descriptions of each company. A separate product category list allows you to search for vendors with potential solutions to specific problem areas in your operation. (That’s one reason this Program Guide is a great desk reference when you are back in the office!) Many veteran ANC attendees advise sitting down together with team members and reviewing the Program Guide on Saturday or Sunday evening to map out your plan before the Exhibit Hall opens on Monday morning. Another vital tool onsite is ANC on the Go, the mobile app available for your smartphone or tablet. It will feature the most up-to-date details, as well as tools to organize your schedule and vendor priorities. (You can find the app at the Apple Store or Google Play by searching for “SNA ANC 17” or “ANC on the Go.” Or, visit anc2017.pathable.com.) This year, SNA is upping the digital ante by creating a companion desktop platform. You can search for and evaluate sessions, network and discuss with contacts and access convenient maps, descriptions on exhibitors and much more! While the Exhibit Hall, and the entirety of ANC, is a fun adventure, it’s also a necessary business trip. Setting goals before you walk through the doors is the best way to ensure you make the most of all it has to offer. The good news is that you have three whole days (Monday through Wednesday) to visit more than 900 booths, special areas and events. Be sure to pack your comfy walking shoes, keep a discerning eye and bring some bottled water—they don’t call it “Hotlanta” for nothing! DISCOVER EXHIBIT HALL DELIGHTS There’s a reason the Exhibit Hall is open on three separate days. SNA wants to ensure that you have sufficient time to visit each of the hundreds of exhibitors showcasing their innovations, while also taking advantage of numerous special areas and activities. Be sure to check out the top, don’t-miss highlights described in this article. NEW THIS YEAR: SPARK SESSIONS 25 MINUTES » SPARK Sessions Spark your curiosity and gain insight on a variety of school nutrition topics with brief, targeted training sessions hosted by vendors. These 25-minute, interactive sessions will let you learn about new industry resources and give you time to “Ask the Expert” about relevant industry topics. This is a can’t-miss opportunity to learn and connect. Booth #151 » Culinary Demonstrations There’s nothing more delicious than discovering fresh ways to prepare and serve school meals. Meet with specialists who will share culinary secrets and nutrition tips to help you improve participation in your cafeteria and efficiency in your kitchen. Booth #2165 » Specialty Areas If you seek solutions in specific product categories, several exhibitors opt to showcase their products in various Exhibit Hall specialty areas. These include the popular Dairy Way, Produce Pavilion, USDA Lane and Alternative Bites areas. » Prime Partners Take some time to engage with representatives of various allied organizations that work to support your efforts and help you meet challenges in engaging the community in both wellness and hunger-relief efforts. Among those featured in this year’s Partners Pavilion are Breakfast in the Classroom; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Healthy School Program; Environmental Research & Education Foundation; Food Research and Action Center; National Child and Adult Care Food Program Association; Share Our Strength/No Kid Hungry; and Wellness in the Schools. Booth #130 » Wellness Village All work and no relaxation make a school nutrition professional rather stressed! Be sure you stop by the Wellness Village and take advantage of this opportunity to meet with health and wellness personnel—professionals from the American Heart Association, The College Football Hall of Fame, Forrest T. Jones (sponsor), and massage therapists from Body Works, for example—who are ready to offer tips for happy, healthy living and more. Booth #2412 » New Product Showcase Located in Building B on the 3rd Floor, near the Education Sessions, the New Product Showcase will display many of the products, services and equipment solutions made available to schools within the last year. Use this as a research step to identify the specific booths you don’t want to miss in the Exhibit Hall! EXCLUSIVE DIRECTORS-ONLY ACCESS Are you an SNA director-level member? A special exhibit period has been set aside for you to walk the aisles at your own pace and network with individual exhibitors. Mark your schedule to visit the Exhibit Hall from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 11, during 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’ All-Access Pass contest entry card as you enter. When you visit the listed booths during the show and complete the details on the card, you will be entered into a drawing to win a 2018 SNA Conference Package, featuring one free registration to each of SNA’s premiere annual meetings: the 2018 School Nutrition Industry Conference in New Orleans; the 2018 Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C; and the 2018 Annual National Conference in Las Vegas. Entries must be placed in the designated drop box, located near the entrance of the Exhibit Hall, by Wednesday, July 12 when the Hall closes. Winners will be contacted by SNA via email after ANC. EXHIBIT HALL ETIQUETTE The ANC Exhibit Hall is guaranteed to be an exciting experience—but it also can be a little overwhelming, especially for first-timers. Everywhere you turn, there’s something new to see and do: you might sample tasty treats or delicious beverages at one booth while discovering helpful resources at another or play a fun game to earn a giveaway item at yet another booth. As much fun as the Exhibit Hall is, however, 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 ways to entice you to learn more about a company’s product, please do your part! » Take the time to listen to what the exhibitors have to say about their products. » Be honest about your program’s needs. » Relay your interest about the product and the company. » Don’t take advantage by hoarding extra giveaways or samples. If you want to bring shelf-stable samples back home to test with other team members, wait until the last day of the Exhibit Hall to ask vendors if they have excess to spare. » For safety reasons, rolling carts and children under age 16 will not be allowed on the show floor at any time for any reason. » 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 this involvement brings. 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 eighth year, School Nutrition magazine 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 the top results in a fall issue of the magazine. If you’re interested in telling SN about the products that attracted your attention and why, email firstname.lastname@example.org by July 5 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. Visit School Nutrition! Your favorite professional magazine also has a presence at ANC each year! Our booth is located in the Exhibit Hall. This year, we are at the far end of the main aisle, Booth #1254. Please drop by to say hello to members of the editorial and advertising teams. We want to hear your feedback on how the fresh look and new columns that we launched last year are working—and we’re always in the “market” for new ideas, leads and resources that we can share with readers. This is also the place to drop off your entry in this year’s “What’s Ruby Reading?” Contest (pages 12-13)—and return on Wednesday morning to discover if you’re a winner! Interested in volunteering as a Secret Shopper? We’d love to have your participation and can supply you with feedback forms onsite. Please make School Nutrition a stop on your Exhibit Hall tour!
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
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