From the Archives

Booming Expo Reflects Changing Dairy Industry
From Dairy Field, October 1979.
(Editor’s Note: As the industry gathers for Worldwide Food Expo ’05, we look back on then-publisher Jay Sandler’s commentary on an earlier show.)
TThe tremendous response to Food & Dairy Expo ’79 has the Dairy & Food Industries Supply Association scurrying through its files to see how long it has been since there was a show of this size and scope. The final count isn’t in yet, but it looks like we’ll have to go back at least 17 years to find an expo that has so much to show to the dairy industry.
Because the forthcoming show in Chicago comes on the heels of the record breaker held just one year ago, the high interest from both suppliers and processors is especially significant. There are several factors responsible for this excitement.
At its core is a new vitality in the dairy industry. Many processors are more profitable than they have been in recent years. And there is renewed willingness to make capital expenditures that will reduce costs and ensure continued profitability. Dairies are also breaking out of their traditional conservatism. They know they have to start competing to hold or increase their share of food sales, and they are willing to try new ideas — new packages, new sizes, aseptic products, longer shelf life through improved processing and sanitation, premium ice cream novelties, marketing aimed at ethnic and minority groups, new and expanded flavor lines, “natural” products, yogurt novelties, products and packages for the away-from-home market, retail stores, flavored milk drinks, more efficient delivery vehicles. There are so many directions for improvement that alert dairy managers will be hard pressed to establish priorities.
All of this, and more, will be there for your company’s managers to see at Expo ’79. And you won’t have a similar chance until 1981.
No small part of the already-assured success of the show is due to the efforts of DFISA and suppliers in general. I wonder how many dairy buyers appreciate the effort that goes into the planning and execution of Dairy Expo, certainly one of the very best-run shows of its kind. The investment made by suppliers to develop new items and to present them to you is enormous.
You’ll note that I still refer to Expo as a “dairy” show. Fortunately for our industry, this exposition really is still that. Almost every exhibit will have all or most of its emphasis on products for dairy processors. Understandably, in view of the cost of mounting and exhibit, some suppliers wouldn’t mind attracting other parts of the food industry so they could do it all in one place, at one time. But you can bet they don’t want to lose your attendance.
The dairy industry is too big, too important to be merely an incidental part of a food show. If that should ever happen, I suspect it wouldn’t be long before someone would say, “We need a special show for the dairy industry. How about starting one?”
We need a dairy show, and you can prove it at Expo with big attendance from your company, interest and buying activity.
General and concurrent sessions providing ideas and information from marketing strategy and milk orders to support price programs will be a main segment of the Milk Industry Foundation and International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers (MIF/IAICM) annual convention. The joint convention will be held November 11-14 in the Palmer House Hotel, Chicago [as part of Expo ’79].
U.S. Sen. Charles H. Percy (R-Ill.) will be the keynote speaker at the opening session Monday, November 12. Included in the multitude of presentations in the three-day business program will be “Needed: A Review of Federal Milk Order and Price Support”; “The Dairy Industry — Consumers’ Views of Priority Issues”; and “Freeing Free Enterprise.” Fran Tarkenton, former quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, will speak on “Inspiration and Achievement: Mutual Goals.”
Ray A. Kroc, senior chairman and founder of McDonald’s Corp., will be a featured speaker at the 46th annual national convention of the National Ice Cream Retailers Association (NICRA), to take place November 11-13 at the Radisson Chicago Hotel.
“The McDonald’s Story” will be the subject of Kroc’s talk on Tuesday, November 13, at an 8 a.m. breakfast meeting. He will highlight the building and background of the corporation that revolutionized the food industry.
An integral part of the convention, which is held during Expo ’79, will be a series of concurrent workshops on Monday, November 12, from 2-4:30 p.m. The panel discussions will cover a wide range of topics in the three programs: “Food & Dairy Fountain Workshop,” “Dairy & Convenience Workshop” and the “Production & Distribution Workshop.”
NICRA’s convention luncheon — Tuesday, November 13, from noon to 1:30 p.m. — will be highlighted by the awarding of the cup for the Idea of the Year Contest by Dairy Field magazine.
Following the Give & Take sessions on Tuesday from 2:45-4:45 p.m., the convention will conclude with the annual banquet, to take place in the Radisson’s Grand Ballroom.  
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