LIVE FROM IDDBA 17: Having Your Cake

The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association’s annual expo traditionally closes with the announcement of the winners of its annual cake decoration challenge, with the finalists among competing supermarket cake designers honored for their innovative creations.

Meanwhile, much of the talk at the expo is focused on ensuring the future of the supermarket deli and bakery to make sure consumers can enjoy these wares for years to come.

Case in point: The Cambridge Group’s Eddie Yoon continuing the call for the industry to pursue “superconsumers” – consumers who overindex in their purchases of key categories like bakery and deli – as a way to broaden sales.

With 10 percent of consumers driving 30 percent to 70 percent of all sales and 99 percent of retail insights, retailers must identify specific groups to target, Yoon told attendees of IDDBA 17 on Tuesday morning in Anaheim, Calif.

A research project that IDDBA commissioned Cambridge to conduct aims to do just that: Researchers spoke to 36 known superconsumers in the bakery, cheese, deli and chilled dairy categories to get their stories to determine how best to grow the pie for all, Yoon explained.

“You are not competing with each other – you’re competing with foodservice,” Yoon told grocers, describing IDDBA as an “Olympic village” in which grocery retailers work together to learn how best to bring their overall business forward.

Yoon pinpointed three target areas: sharpen marketing, merchandising and innovation; grow trips and household penetration; and steal share from foodservice.

Additionally, he identified areas for growth within grocery (e.g., smart snacks, tricked-out meals) and growth beyond grocery (grocerant, culture and conversation).

Potential exists for targeting 51 million superconsumers that could account for $11 billion in new growth, provided that grocers can effectively engage them. “The uninspired cannot help you figure out the unimagined,” Yoon declared.

Continuing Tuesday’s general session was Jim Donald, former CEO of Starbucks, Haggen and other retailers, who made the case for effective communication and encouragement of risk-taking as a way of taking retail to new places. “Your energy and the way you lead will help others help you grow your business,” he said.

Winding up the final slot on the expo’s last day was NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, whose story about his evolution from athlete to entrepreneur served to inspire anyone looking to make a difference.

Layers of Competition

Attendees enjoyed a final four hours of exhibits and programs on the show floor, culminating with the announcement of the winners of IDDBA’s 22nd annual Cake Decorating Challenge:

Katie Knowles, of Marketplace Food and Drug Inc., in Minot, N.D., came in first.

Second place went to Meghan Rolls, of Harps Food Stores Inc., in Springdale, Ark. The third-place winner was Kassie Mather, of Hy-Vee Inc., in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Each day was open to attendees to vote for their favorite decorator for the People’s Choice Award. Mather won People’s Choice for Sunday and Tuesday; Knowles won on Monday.

Additionally, Jay Ward, “Cars” creative director from Pixar Animation Studios, presented Rolls with the Disney/Pixar Award of Excellence.

There are three phases to the competition. Each contestant will decorate enough cakes to fill one multilevel 8-foot bakery case, decorate a themed cake and decorate a tiered wedding cake.

Judges were Mark Bastian, of Dawn Food Products Inc., and Dustin Humpherys, of Maplehurst Bakeries LLC.

IDDBA reported late Tuesday that the expo attracted 10,280 attendees from 30 countries, including qualified buyers, merchandisers, executives, food manufacturers, brokers, distributors and other industry professionals. Attendees were able to visit 2,048 booths representing 825 companies.

IDDBA Chairman of the Board Jewel Hunt presented this year’s Chairman’s Award to Dennis Clark, GVP of marketing and merchandising support at Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos. Hunt praised Clark as one of her mentors who instilled the value of mentorship in her as she progressed in her career at the company. The award recognizes distinguished service or contribution to the industry and honors those who have led with vision and dedication.

Next year’s expo is scheduled for June 10-12, 2018, in New Orleans.

Find additional show reports on, and video interviews and new product highlights from the show floor on PG’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @pgrocer and @jimdudlicek.