CHICAGO -- Attendees at the annual Food Marketing Institute Show here May 2 to 4 will have access to a new pavilion focused on health and wellness. The pavilion concept was created in response to requests by show attendees, said Paula Spoto, director of convention marketing for the trade organization, based in Washington.
"We listen to our 'customer,"' she said. "They wanted something new, a destination that was also a learning center for them."
The topic of healthy living was chosen for the debut pavilion this year because it is such a hot-button issue in the industry, she said. The focus of the Healthy Living Pavilion is to educate retailers on how to reach their customers, and simultaneously to increase their business via an in-store focus on healthy living topics. In the future, the pavilion will remain a destination on the show floor focusing on current industry topics that will be determined each year, she said.
"From the standpoint of the industry, supermarkets are very unique in terms of being the only channel of trade that can combine food, drug, health and wellness, and can really pull all the elements together under one roof," said Jim Wisner, president, Wisner Retail Marketing, Libertyville, Ill. Wisner was active in the development and implementation of the pavilion.
This year, with co-location of the FMI Pharmacy Conference, the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Show, and the All Things Organic Show together with the FMI Show, there are a number of synergistic opportunities to touch on health and wellness topics, he said.
The Healthy Living Pavilion, a dedicated area off one of the main aisles in the South Hall marked by an overhead awning and signs, will feature tours of the show floor, panel discussions organized around daily topics, daily special events, self-tour guides and informational materials.
Each day opens with a 10:30 a.m. Fun Walk around a charted course of the show floor. The walks are designed to highlight exhibitors who offer health-oriented services, products and information, Spoto said.
"The Fun Walks offer educational elements with real-life perspective," she said.
Self-tour guides will also be available at the pavilion for attendees, organized around topics ranging from cardiovascular health and diet and weight management to women's health/men's health and natural and organic products. The guides will include information to assist retailers in marketing their products from a health and wellness perspective. A general tour guide including all health-focused resources at the show will be available as well.
Afternoons in the Healthy Living Pavilion will feature "Meet the Experts" panel discussions organized around wellness issues. Sunday, the synergy day with the co-located FMI Pharmacy Show, focuses on bringing pharmacy and food together; Monday's theme is nutrition and diet; and Tuesday will focus on consumer's special needs. The panels will be informal and interactive, Spoto said. Speakers have yet to be finalized, she said.
The pavilion will also feature special events each day, like cooking demonstrations. There will also be health screenings conducted in the pavilion.