April 28, 2021

How to Utilize the Branded Program for Virtual Tradeshows and Events

By: Katie Labarge, Branded Program Associate, Food Export-Midwest

We have continued to see many large tradeshows and events pivot to virtual versions of their events during the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with in-person tradeshows expected to resume later this year, virtual tradeshows are likely to stick. These new virtual opportunities can be a great way to promote your products!

Virtual trade shows and events offer a cost-effective way to promote products, learn about the industry, and meet new contacts, without the high price tag and travel commitment of going to an event in-person.

Many virtual events are set up in a similar way to an in-person tradeshow, with each exhibitor getting a virtual booth or page to build out with promotional materials, videos, product information, etc.

Participants can then visit these booths and pages to learn about products, make contacts, and sometimes even schedule one-to-one meetings. Many events also offer presentations, speakers, and awards or highlights for specific categories of products.

Below are a few photos from the Virtual Trade Show of the Americas in 2020, as one example of what a virtual tradeshow could look like.

Virtual Tradeshow 1

Virtual Tradeshow 3

Virtual Tradeshow 2

Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast’s Branded Program can reimburse up to 50% of eligible virtual tradeshow expenses.

Here is a list of some of the eligible expenses:

  • Registration costs
  • Promotional materials
  • Promotional videos
  • Sponsorships
  • Priority search placement
  • Featured exhibitor listing
  • Showcase entries
  • Etc.

Generally, any virtual event held as a part of or as a replacement for an eligible domestic in-person tradeshow (a list of approved events can be found in the Branded Program Exporter Manual) can be claimed for reimbursement. International virtual only events are also eligible if they have an international audience.

If you are interested in the eligibility of a specific virtual event or have questions about virtual tradeshow or events, please reach out to your Branded Program contact or email us at MW_Claims@foodexport.org or NE_Claims@foodexport.org