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Live From IDDBA: Growing the Future Together


As the second day of the 2015 Dairy-Deli-Bake got under way in Atlanta on Monday, there was reason to celebrate.

Michael Eardley, the new president and CEO of the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, announced to trade press that attendance was trending to be the highest in the long history of the seminar and expo.

That bodes well for Eardley, the former H-E-B deli chief, as he gears up to lead his membership in “growing the future together,” as he outlined in his keynote address Monday morning.

Eardley explained that of the six influencers of the IDDBA – community, people, food safety, competition, technology and consolidation, together the “foundation of everything IDDBA delivers to the industry” – the group would be paying considerable attention to the first three.

Addressing community, Eardley said the group would be focusing on team building and education, and its events team would work on making future shows more about community building for retailers, not just customer acquisition.

In regards to people, Eardley noted that the “talent market is tightening,” and there’s a “need to bring the next generation to our industry,” particularly “hospitality-focused foodies.”

The organization plans to provide substantial scholarship dollars to help members invest in their teams. “We need to attract and train people who love the product with passion,” he said, adding the industry needs to set about “creating a compelling future vision that motivates people to get involved.”

Following up on Monday’s food safety sessions, Eardley further stressed the group’s “goal to include food safety in everything we do.” IDDBA will continue and expand its training and education programs, with a particular emphasis on fighting listeria, as studies have indicated its persistence in retail delis, Eardley noted.

Meanwhile, he continued, retailers need to embrace omnichannel marketing to address how customers have changed the way they shop. Eardley described omnichannel as “all the ways the customer decides to connect with you, and your ability to deliver a satisfying experience across all of those connections.”

Omnichannel, he stressed, is “the topic for the immediate future … it’s about delivering value to our customers.”

To that end, IDDBA plans related research projects, including one with the Retail Net Group due out in July and other with Brick Meets Click, expected in August.

“You need to be able to sell to your customers in all the ways they want to engage with you,” Eardley declared, noting that marketing is less about the product and more about how you sell it to customers.

Omnichannel opportunities for deli and bakery operators include moving shoppers toward a purchase decision before they come into the store; promoting additional purchases with digital devices that make ordering faster and easier; making it easier to get products by aligning with click and collect, a local deliver service or self-service dispenser; and encouraging shopper feedback and conversation to increase engagement and boost return trips.

“Someone will come along to take your business unless you have an omnichannel plan to protect it,” Eardley warned.

Roadmap for success

Retailers need to remember that they only have one chance to make a first impression and that it is made before a customer walks into the store, so don’t forget about the exterior appearance, retail evangelist Harold Lloyd declared during his presentation, “Supermarket Rules: A Roadmap for Success.”

Lloyd used his newest book, “Supermarket Rules! 52 Ways to Achieve Supermarket Success” as a guide to offer attendees a few sage pieces of advice to make sure their stores are the best they can be.

He encouraged retailers to consider the break room the most important room in the store and to make it as nice as possible as a message of how well retailers value their employees. “No great company has a crummy break room,” Lloyd said, offering further advice: Sell the team first and then they can sell the customers. Line the walls of the break room with posters of your points of differentiation.

Lloyd touted his concept he dubbed A.I.D.A., or Attention, Interest, Desire and Action (sale). When you build a display, he advised, take a step back and see what first draws your attention to make sure what attracts the eye is what you really want to highlight. You can use signage to grab the eye, especially if you’re highlighting new items, or it can be as simple as turning the display on an angle to be attention-grabbing. And, remember that drawing attention to gain sales is not only visual but audible as well, Lloyd added. Having employees announce when they are doing something can also draw customers’ attention.

Little details make all the difference, Lloyd noted. Such as: Take a cue from hotels and offer customers ice water in urns with cut-up fruit as refreshment. Use attention-grabbing signs with a round number for the cost on your beverage machines (even numbers, no 99s), such as coffee sold by the cup for a buck. Customers who eat or drink something will spend up 50 percent longer in your store, Lloyd said: “Every minute in your store is $2 in your drawer.”

Other tips Lloyd discussed include:

- When employees are working in the aisles, such as restocking shelves or cases, make sure they face the flow of customer traffic so their backs are never turned toward customers.
- On name tags, make sure the store logo is never bigger than the employee’s name. And consider adding an “Ask me about” line to the name tag where the employee can fill in any topic he or she wants. This gives a customer a chance to engage with an employee; customers who are engaged by employees will spend 18 percent more in your store.
- Have your best employees work when you are the busiest, or as Lloyd puts it, have “the aces in their places.”

IDDBA also honored success Monday morning with its annual Chairman’s Award, presented by IDDBA Chairman David Leonhardi to Andrea Neu, principal at the brand development consultancy Image Maker and former VP of communications and marketing for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. The award recognized distinguished service and contributions to the industry.

Rounding out Monday’s general session was lifestyle trendsetter Martha Stewart, who spoke on staying relevant over her four decades in the public eye. Stewart outlined a career that began as a catering business run out of her Connecticut home and grew into a media empire that includes more than 80 books, Martha Stewart Living magazine that launched in 1990, multiple television series and other ventures.

Stewart often spotlights small farms that use simple practices to grow high-quality foods to meet a growing demand for clean-label products, including meat, dairy and artisan bakers. “We didn’t follow trends – we set trends,” she said, noting that her magazine extolled the virtues of foods like kale and quinoa long before they reached their current popularity.

Finally on Monday morning, Chuck Hagel, former defense secretary and U.S. senator from Nebraska, spoke on “Challenges and Opportunities: Global Perspectives in America in the 21st Century.” Hagel’s key message: “Global stability is the key challenge for this nation and the world.”

On the show floor …

Today, my exhibit hall stops included these booths:

Deli Express showed off its Market Sandwich line of artisan-style deli sandwiches.

Jarlsberg showed off its new grab-and-go case, loaded with convenient snacks like Jarlsberg Mini cheeses and Volpi mozzarella rolls with prosciutto, salami and pepperoni. The case is designed to be added to grocers’ existing grab-and-go offerings, and the company is looking into c-store placements as well. The brand also is adding smoked cheese to its line of shingle packs.

Johnsonville rolled out its new Sausage Station concept, seen for the very first time anywhere at this show. The company’s first foray into deli prepared foods, the kiosk includes a roller grill, bun steamer, condiment rack and heated wells for chili and sautéed onions. The rolling station is aimed at “creating more of a restaurant experience,” said Johnsonville’s Sarah Babb, and could be easily added to a retailer’s existing hot bar.

Lindar Corp. introduced Simply Secure, its “tamper obvious” packaging for in-store bakery pies, amid its extensive line of bakery packaging for pies, cakes and cupcakes, including multiple sizes of lids interchangeable with a common base.

Nestle Professional sampled its new empanadas, in beef and chicken varieties, designed as convenient, on-the-go items for breakfast and snacking.

Reser’s debuted its “Mac & Mashed Bar,” featuring multiple varieties of the brand’s macaroni and cheese, along with mashed and scalloped potatoes. This rolling hot bar could easily be added to existing set-ups (and might even work well with Johnsonville’s Sausage Station). Additionally, Reser’s showed additions to its Stonemill Kitchens line of bread rings with dips (garlic herb sourdough with marinara, rye and pumpernickel with spinach artichoke, and pretzel with beer cheese); artisan salads under its Fresh Creative Foods label, made with ingredients like quinoa and lentils; a range of cashew-based dips; a new gourmet macaroni salad; and a beet slaw kit with kale added by the deli operator.

Simplot was big on deli sides, trumpeting IDDBA research showing 13 percent growth in the category. The company is launching hot and cold side items; leading the pack are Sidewinders, a new potato that Simplot’s Michelle Myers described as a cross between a wedge and a curly fry. Potatoes were joined by sauced vegetable blends in the hot case, with other veggie blends in the cold case. Simplot also showcased simple recipes that can be freshly made by deli operators, including a chicken and roasted root vegetable pot pie and an orzo, grain and veggie salad.

TH Foods, makers of the Crunchmaster brand of gluten-free snacks, launched new baked crisps, including a 3-bean chip in southwest chili flavor, an asiago-flavored baked kale chip and sweet Crispy Cravers selections in chocolate and salted caramel.

Katie Martin contributed to this report.

Follow us at the IDDBA show on Twitter at @pgrocer, @jimdudlicek and @KatieIndyGrocer.

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