FMI Show Returning to Annual Event

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The FMI Show, the longtime signature event of the Food Marketing Institute, will return to annual frequency beginning in 2014.

That move was just approved by the FMI board as part of the association's next strategic plan, and it was announced Monday during the FMI Midwinter event here.

Leslie Sarasin
Leslie Sarasin

"The historic version of the FMI Show, if re-engineered properly, can become the not-to-be-missed annual focal event and gathering of our industry, because it thrives on real human interaction," said Leslie Sarasin [2], FMI's president and CEO.

Fred Morganthall [3], FMI's chairman, and president of Harris Teeter Supermarkets, said fast changes impacting the industry make it more imperative to have an annual event that can "keep pace with the new technology, advancing developments and industry innovations.

"If FMI executes its plan to grow the breadth and quality of exhibitors, expand the scope of educational offerings, consolidate internal conferences and maximize the creative benefits of co-locating with other shows, the FMI annual gathering will become the single most important event for our industry."

While the FMI Show will resume annual frequency, compared to every other year currently, that doesn't mean it will remain a carbon copy of past events. FMI is mulling all kinds of changes to update the event and enhance its appeal, said Sue Borra, senior vice president, communications, in an interview.

"Building a new event will create excitement," she said.

This could include everything from altering the name of the event to making changes to its format, she said. For example, the exhibit component could increase its focus on providing insights, such as relaying ideas for the kitchens or supermarkets of the future.

Moreover, the event will increase its focus on emerging parts of the supermarket business, including prepared foods.

FMI will strive to co-locate the show with other events, both those produced by FMI and by other organizations.

While the 2014 event is slated for Chicago, which in the past was the longtime home of the FMI Show, the future location or locations haven't been decided.

Read more: Retailers Press Innovation Over Regulation [4]

In addition to reinstituting the FMI Show, other parts of FMI's new strategic direction will include:

• Strengthening FMI's role in areas ranging from government relations to food safety.

• Taking a greater leadership role in industry collaboration.

• Growing the breadth and depth of membership.

• Upgrading the operating model, including the structure of working committees.

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