The last time FMI held its signature biennial show, in May 2010, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity initiative was just launched, retailers were just beginning to grapple with the impact of rising food prices, and Foursquare and Groupon were just landing on the industry’s radar.
A lot has happened since then, and the upcoming FMI2012, which runs from April 30 to May 3 in Dallas, will be a good opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and catch up on the pulse of the industry. This week’s SN includes articles that may help guide your time in Dallas Here are a few things to monitor as you visit the show and interact with attendees and exhibitors:
- Culinary Clout: A new feature of the show that will stand out as truly different is the Supermarket Chef Showdown, a showfloor cooking and recipe competition. A panel emceed by Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, will judge culinary professionals in a range of categories. It’s the right message for a food show and worth a close look.
- Format Directions: What’s the future of the supermarket format? A recent report from Nielsen forecasts significant share gains for e-commerce, supercenters and club stores through 2016, but declining share for supermarkets, although at a diminishing rate. That’s not a rosy outlook, so it’s important to pull in as much information as possible, at FMI2012 and elsewhere, about how supermarkets can alter this direction.
- Consumer Preferences: FMI2012 isn’t a gathering of consumers, but it’s an opportunity to understand what’s driving consumer purchases right now. Are directions such as local and multicultural gaining momentum? FMI sessions will address a range of trends, and there will be clues on the showfloor as well.
- The News Feed: The food industry is accustomed to getting news and information from a growing variety of media platforms, and this will be easier than ever to do at FMI2012. SN will be publishing the official show daily magazine available onsite. You can also follow the action through other SN outlets, including the latest news at supermarketnews.com  and the “Supermarket News” smartphone app ; updates on Twitter (@SN_news ) and Facebook (Supermarket News) ; and video interviews with key attendees (available on SN’s website).
That’s my FMI2012 priority list, and you’ll undoubtedly have your own. All that’s left to say is, see you in Dallas!