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Specialty Food Association

Summer Fancy Food Show - LevelUp Experience


On the Menu: Advancing Culinary Careers


Curating an appetizing and exclusive environment

Location: New York City Industry: Food

For the Summer Fancy Food Show, the Specialty Food Association (SFA) envisioned an immersive attraction celebrating the association’s 65-year history and showcasing the future of food for its thriving community of culinary artisans, importers, and entrepreneurs.

SFA challenged Freeman, its 30-year partner, to design an exclusive experience beyond the standard conference agenda that could nourish attendees with food and commerce trends, global innovations, and premier research. The palatable environment would provide engagement opportunities, expand knowledge, and reinforce trust in SFA’s dedication to industry data and innovation.

Moving up the food chain

Steered by SFA’s vision to construct an environment with forward-thinking ingredients, the teams held several discovery sessions to create compelling and interactive activation zones enhanced by event technology within the 45,000-square-foot space.

The name emerged from a word-mapping exercise, which generated a comparison to the gaming world. Just like gamers advance to the next level when competing, the LevelUp experience would offer attendees a competitive career advantage. We worked closely with SFA and sponsors to ensure each interactive activation zone laddered up to that concept.

Content and connections made to order

Visitors migrated between several experience zones including a visual history of SFA, research spotlight, sofi™ Awards, Taste of Tomorrow café, and shopping simulation. The VIP finale: an education center with AV-produced “Excite Talks” and private meeting spaces.

For the Consumer & Category Forecast, we highlighted sponsor data with touchscreens featuring searchable trends and custom infographics. The Future Market allowed visitors to “shop” sponsor content using responsive touchscreens to generate “future food” projection-mapped displays. In Tomorrow’s Products Today, attendees found particular areas of interest through wayfinding. Loaded with sortable exhibitor, award, and product info, touchscreens produced custom expo maps.

A satisfying experience

LevelUp satisfied over 800 attendees and generated ample data to meet SFA’s directive for high tech solutions equipped with measurement tools. By design, each touchscreen gathered data on individual activations and overall engagement success.

According to SFA, 69% of the buying audience rated the overall experience as good/very good and more than 44% gave a promoter score of 9 or above. Because of their LevelUp experience, 55% of attendees said they were more likely to attend next year’s show. Thrilled with the results and excited to expand the concept, SFA plans to replicate LevelUp in 2018.

  • 69%

    of the buying audience rated LevelUp as good/very good.

  • 44%

    of attendees gave a promoter score of 9 or above.

  • 55%

    of attendees said they were more likely to attend next year’s show because of the LevelUp experience.

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