Tips and Trends

Best Practices for Sampling Food Products in Your Trade Show Exhibit

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


(Garden of Life. Exhibit design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits)

With over 25 clients at Natural Products Expo West (NPEW) this year, the 3D Exhibits team has learned a few things about how to conduct a seamless food tasting in a trade show exhibit. Here are ten best practices:

1. Create an appetizing presentation. This one is pretty obvious. If you don’t make sure your products look appetizing, no one is going to sample.

2. Have everything attendees will need to go with your sample right there. Attendees won’t appreciate having to look for spoons or napkins. Make it ultra-easy for them by having everything they need right next to your product. And don’t forget the serving tongs—and an easily accessible waste basket.

3. Monitor your serving temperature and freshness. Room temperature foods are easy, but hot or cold foods will impress attendees most when served at their proper temperature. Monitor this carefully—taking care to toss anything that becomes too hot or too cold. Ditto with anything that doesn’t look fresh— you want to show your product at its best!

(RX Bar. Exhibit design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits)

4. Keep your sampling area uncluttered. Props may seem like a good idea, but the fewer items you have on the sampling surface, the easier it will be to focus attendees’ attention on what is most important—your products.

5. Clearly label your samples. People aren’t going to put something into their mouth unless they know what it is. Your labels can be either name cards or samples of the product packaged the way it appears in retail stores.

(Clif Bar. Exhibit designer and fabricator not available)

6. Position your packaging near your samples in a way that enables attendees to mentally link the two. This makes it easier for people to remember what the products were—and to recognize what they sampled when they go to order or buy the products later.


(Kind. Exhibit designer and fabricator not available)

7. Hide your prep area. There is no reason attendees need to watch you cutting your product into sample-sized portions. Stepped counters or even a remote work area will keep your sample surface clean and appetizing. You can even build a workspace for preparing your samples into your storage closet.

8. Pay attention to the height of your sampling surface. People like to get a good look at what they’re about to eat before they commit to taking it. If your samples are sitting any higher than bar height (42” high), some attendees may not be able to see.

9. Don’t be afraid to step out from behind the counter. Standing next to attendees—or even carrying a tray of samples out to the aisle—will increase engagement. It’s harder to say no—and more memorable—when someone is looking you directly in the eye.


(Ancient Nutrition. Exhibit design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits)

10. Engage your visitors. If you put out free food, of course people will take it—even without any interaction. However, if you want to make sure to give attendees a warm and friendly feeling about your company, make the extra effort to engage them in conversation. Whether it’s your team members or a hired brand ambassador, making a personal connection is a great opportunity to tell your story and communicate why your product is unique.





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