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The annual Dairy-Deli-Bake is one of my favorite trade shows, for three reasons: It’s usually in a cool city (this year it was New Orleans; I could spend a week there just eating), you get to rub shoulders with celebrities (that’s me in the photo with “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro) and there’s a seemingly endless array both of fantastic new products to taste and inspiring ways to merchandise them.
Actually, I’m coming off something of a new products overload, with evaluations for PG’s Editors’ Picks contest the week right after the IDDBA show.
But that hasn’t stifled my enthusiasm for all the great new meats, cheeses, snacks and baked goods being launched to address just about every deli customer’s tastes and nutritional demands, along with better, more convenient packaging to help folks enjoy their deli favorites on the run. Plus, there’s plenty of other items perfect for assembling special-occasion packages or cross-merchandising throughout the store.
This month’s issue of Deli Decisions offers a snapshot – several, actually – of my time on the IDDBA show floor, as well as a visit to a New Orleans grocer who’s got the deli/prepared foods concept nailed, with its sumptuous offerings of local fare. The food is delicious, the presentation is striking and the staff is knowledgeable and enthusiastic – an ideal recipe for any successful in-store deli operation.
Jim Dudlicek is editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer.