SupplySide West/FiNA update: Safety, conference & industry needs – video

Show leaders discuss Las Vegas’ reopening, education that will extend its reach digitally, and the development of further virtual experiences to bring the health and nutrition industry together.

July 8, 2020

Join SupplySide West leaders to learn the most recent updates from SupplySide West/Food ingredients North America (FiNA). In this video, Marisa Finnegan, SupplySide show director; Sandy Almendarez, content director; Jon Benninger, vice president and market leader; and Danica Cullins, brand director and vice president of sales, cover:

  • The reopening of Mandalay Bay with safety measures in place

  • The extended reach of the conference program, which will be offered in a digital and in-person hybrid

  • The work in finding a virtual solution for the health and nutrition industry to meet and network online.

Check out the previous SupplySide West/FiNA update here.

Video transcript:

Marisa Finnegan, SupplySide show director: Hello everyone. Marisa Finnegan here, your SupplySide Show Director. As promised, we will be regularly updating you on SupplySide West and Food ingredients North America.

As always, the safety of our customers, colleagues and partners in Las Vegas is our priority. Mandalay Bay reopened to guests on July 1, with everyone on the premises required to wear masks, social distancing guidelines in place, handwashing and hand sanitizer stations throughout the property, and contactless digital check in. We are eager this week to gather learnings from this re-opening.

SupplySide health and safety practices are shared on the show website so you know what to expect as you assess your comfort level with attending. As it relates to attending in-person as well as participating virtually, our team has been gathering insights from many of you. One thing we can already confirm is an adaptable conference program. For more on that, here’s our director of content, Sandy.

Sandy Almendarez, content director: Thanks Marisa. We made an early decision to extend the reach of our conference programming to reach an even larger industry audience. Some of our SupplySide West sessions will take place entirely online before we’re onsite in Las Vegas, and some will livestream from the event. We have several workshops that are scheduled to be in-person only, but if the event is cancelled, those too will be available online. You can check out all of the session details on our show site.

Aside from the conference programing, our team is hard at work developing a virtual solution so that allows every member to be an active participant in networking and meetings. For more on that, here’s Jon, SupplySide’s vice president and market leader.

Jon Benninger, vice president and market leader:Thanks Sandy. I’ve been speaking with CEOs, R&D, marketing and purchasing people from large and small dietary supplement, food and beverage companies. First, thank you to all of them for sharing their candid thoughts with us. People really want to get together as an industry event, but only if they can do it safely. While we’ve been focused to date on the qualitative conversations, very soon we will also see a more quantitative feedback through a survey. If you work and a consumer products company, and you attended SupplySide West in 2019, please keep and eye out and return it to us.

Back to the interviews with many of you. Here are the most common takeaways. These are also guiding us as we develop the SupplySide virtual experience.

One of the biggest challenges from the lack of trade shows in 2020 is simply the ability to discover. To find new ideas and inspiration. To find new ingredients, suppliers and partners. To sample the product concepts and the applications that suppliers are creating. And often to discover things that you didn’t even know you were looking for.

Consumer products companies also come to SupplySide to solve specific challenges and search for solutions. To create and improve products. To build better and more sustainable supply networks; To advance their innovations and drive their projects and strategies forward. They also value the opportunity to connect personally and build the relationships that are necessary for conducting business that are based on trust and transparency.

For all of these reasons, and more, I’ve found a universal curiosity about ways to engage virtually, if we can’t have the show, and also as part of this emerging new normal.

Danica, you and your team have been talking a lot with the suppliers and exhibitors. What have you been hearing?

Danica Cullins, brand director and vice president of sales: Thanks Jon. I, too, am grateful for the time and insights being shared from a wide swath of our exhibiting companies. We have a handful that we know will not be traveling to Vegas regarless, and there must be more that haven’t notified us as they await our decision. At the same time, many have expressed a deep sense of hope that the event will go on. The results of the survey you mentioned will be an important rudder in determining our path forward.

In my interviews, of course, I learned the no. 1 reason that suppliers come to the show is the same as consumer products companies: to discover potential customers and meet new people. They also use the show to build and accelerate early relationships. And of course, they have a lot of small group and one-on-one meetings with current customers.

Whether we are able to provide an in-person event or not, there will be a virtual SupplySide solution to serve these needs and help companies and people connect. In the coming weeks, we will share details of the SupplySide virtual solution we are developing with an aim to enable you to discover, connect, meet, learn and source.

Finnegan: Thank you for your trust,

Almendarez: Patience,

Benninger: Partnership

Cullins: and encouragement as we create this future together.

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