Trade Shows

Dairy, deli and bakery: natural innovation at IDDBA 19

The largest US show for the fast-changing industry takes place in Orlando, Florida, on June 2-4

Healthy, convenient and unique: the three major trends reshaping the dairy, deli and bakery industry will grab the attention of buyers and industry players attending IDDBA 19, the US largest industry show taking place in Orlando, Florida, on June 2-4. Dozens Italian producers are expected to participate in the show organized by the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA), ready to showcase innovative ideas from meats and snacks to desserts.

Dairy, deli, and bakery departments make up 18% of total food and beverage sales of 565 billion dollars across all aisles in US multi-outlets, according to 2018 IRI data. Dairy sales totaled 55.6 billion dollars, followed by bakery (29 billion dollars) and deli (20.7 billion) in the 52 weeks ending in in June 2018. Sales were still up in 2018, but less than the growth reported by the industry in early 2000s. The lower growth is caused by increasing demand for fresh produce, as consumers look for healthy foods.

However, the wellness trend has reinvigorated the dairy, deli and bakery industry, prompting producers to focus on natural ingredients, antibiotic free meats, and sweet snacks low in sugar and fats. In the dairy industry, the emphasis on natural foods drives sales of cream cheese, frozen novelties, ice cream and natural cheese, while processed cheese and margarine are down, according to IRI data.


Grab and go and prepared meals are strong performers in the deli department, as well as packaged breads, rolls and bagels in the bakery section. According to IRI, people are changing the way they consume, with most eating in the afternoon and the evening (67% and 58% respectively, according to 2017 data), but with a significant increase also in the late evening (45%) and early morning (23% vs 7% in 2010) times.

To tap into these changing habits, manufacturers and retailers are required to offer a variety of products, from energy bars in the morning and meal replacement at lunch to nuts, chocolate and candy in the afternoon and after-meal desserts at the end of the day. Indulgent snacks have grown faster than healthier ones (up 2.5% in first half 2018 vs a 2.2% decline for healthy snacks, according to IRI).

Among the topics at the show, emphasis will be on labels that clearly inform consumers about the amount of fat and sugar in the products. Plant-based protein are also going to be a steady trend. According to Mintel, the younger generation (Gen Z) is most likely vegetarian and interested in the environment. This translates in an increasing offer of vegetable desserts, nutrient ice creams, fresh product snacks and meats free from antibiotic and other additives.


To improve the quality of networking at the show, the IDDBA association selects buyers from the top 200 retail chains, top 100 wholesale chains, top 100 convenience stores, and major independents. Last year, more than half of the retail attendees were managers, supervisors and directors (41%), buyers (8%), category managers (7%), merchandisers (4%). There were also top executives, CEOS and owners of the retail companies.

Last year, IDDBA retail participants included 65 of the 75 top-ranked supermarkets & grocery chains, with total category sales of more than 124 billion dollars. The largest category represented was dairy (67 billion dollars), followed by deli (40 billion dollars) and bakery (16 billion). Retailers who attended the 2018 edition included Albertsons, Big Y, Caputo’s Fresh Market, Hy-Vee, Giant Food, Kroger, Harris Teeter, H-E-B, Loblaw Companies, Meijer, Metro, Pavilions, Price Chopper, Raley’s, Supervalu, Walmart and Wawa, among others.

IDDBA 19 will include a new product showcase, where exhibitors will offer a sneak peek of new products coming to the shelves. The Store Live will also be an interactive marketplace redesigned by a cross section of industry volunteers that ideate concepts for sponsored products. The goal of the Store live is to inspire participants by highlighting trends and elevating customer experience. At the Cake decorating challenge, selected participants will tap into their creative skills to fill a 8’ bakery case, making a tiered wedding cake, create a unique flavor profile and produce a custom design themed cake.

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