Prior to assuming his role at IDDBA back in April, 2023, David spent decades in the Deli Bakery space at K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. (Food City). We caught up with him over a lunch of street tacos near his Madison, Wisconsin, offices.
1.) It’s been a busy year for you in your new role. What has surprised you the most and what gives you confidence in the future of IDDBA and the industry?
I’m not sure much “surprises” me post-pandemic, but seeing both our exhibitor and attendees back to pre-pandemic numbers at IDDBA 2023 in Anaheim was refreshing! Our supplier and retail attendees were networking again and discussing new partnerships—it truly shows the resilience of our industry. Plus, there were well over 200+ first-time exhibiting companies. It was a great indication that new businesses are going online to provide our membership with innovative products and services.
2.) Tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to IDDBA.
I bring 35+ years of industry experience in the foodservice and retail deli bakery industry to my new role. For the past 20 years, I served as VP of Foodservice and Starbucks operations for K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. (Food City).
Prior to that I held various leadership roles in the hotel, country club, and the restaurant industry. And early on, I took a four-year break to serve our country as a United States Marine and traveled the world a bit.
When the IDDBA role opportunity presented itself, it was a no-brainer for me.
I’ve been associated with the IDDBA for nearly 20 years, serving on steering committees, show participation, and retail management forums. It’s been extremely beneficial to not only my company, but my career as well. IDDBA is, and will continue to be, a true bond of industry professionals that are committed to growing together. I’m both blessed and honored to be selected to lead the community of the IDDBA into the future!
3.) People talk a lot about food trends, and your annual show puts them all on display each year. Which ones excite you the most?
There are so many trends to discuss—and they’re ever evolving—especially post-pandemic. The standouts reside in the Home-Meal-Replacement category. It’s a category that’s “thrived” in recent times because customers are looking at cooking alternatives and are much more prepared to pay for the convenience. So ready-made meals, snack kits, and “just finish me” desserts have a lot of innovation and relevance to our shoppers. Simple Indulgences have also proven to be significant growth trends. Be it a gourmet decorated donut, or specialty “just for me” size cake, there are lots of great product offerings for our consumers to pick from!
4.) What plans do you have to keep the IDDBA relevant and thriving under your tenure?
It’s no secret that consolidation is, and will continue to be, one of the biggest challenges our organization and industry faces. We’ll look to navigate this through engagement outside the norms of our community.
We’ve already begun with convenience stores and university/college foodservice channels. And we believe the very benefits our current members enjoy today will also have relevance and complement those business channels.
It’s important for us to expand the benefits that bring relevance to our members 365 days a year. We also need to help both new and future members understand that there’s more to IDDBA than just our annual convention and trade show.
Also, a lot of work on a member product portal is underway. It’s another example of how we will continue to enhance our member benefits and brand. This portal will give member companies the ability to easily source products and offerings on our website and app.
5.) The annual Retail Management Forum was held in Toronto this year. What makes that trip special, and what are your plans to expand on your global footprint?
Thank you for asking. The Retail Management Forum is—and has been—a key contributor to our IDDBA community. We just got back from Toronto in mid-October, and our next stop will be Dallas, Texas, this spring!
It’s such a valuable time of networking, resourcing, and relationship building. It’s helped foster so many great ideas and given our IDDBA team direction on where to focus next. If you’re interested in learning more, please visit our website at www.iddba.org.
We are kicking off initiatives to re-establish the “I” in IDDBA. We currently have companies from 28 different countries represented, but feel there are plenty of other great businesses that have fine products and services to offer our membership and retail partners. So we’ve reinvested in our International Committee and re-working our strategies as we speak to focus on our international relations.
With the pandemic, there’s no question that these priorities got set on the back burner, but we’re now working harder than ever to foster these new relationships. Strategies will involve new partnerships for importing and exporting of products, international trade show participation, and our investment in data such as our new DataGlobal Bytes, powered by Euro Monitor. It’ll provide our members category sales and trends in the top 8 countries as it relates to Dairy, Deli, & Bakery.
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