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A Season When Change Is Apparent All Around Us

A Season When Change Is Apparent All Around Us

Change happens 24/7, but it's not always evident.

This spring, however, a lot seems different, more than just the seasonal return of budding flowers and buzzing bees. There are new things happening in the food industry, the nation and even within the magazine you're reading.

In New York, home to SN's editorial group, a major sign of change is new baseball stadiums rising to soon replace the longtime homes of the Yankees and Mets, even as fans wax nostalgic about the old venues, which are now hosting one last season.

On the national level, the country is gearing up for political change ahead as it waits for the long presidential campaign season to yield to summer conventions. The pols sense a changed mood among the electorate, with the economy replacing all other topics as the primary concern (see stories throughout this special issue focusing on the economy).

In the food industry, executives gather this week for the first Food Marketing Institute Show in many years that isn't taking place in Chicago. The Windy City's urban charm, from its early May police memorial march to the familiar skyscrapers, is being replaced by the glitz and excitement of Las Vegas.

The 2008 FMI move to Vegas signals an even bigger change next year, when the organization launches an educational conference called “Future Connect,” which will substitute for its exhibition every other year. Next year's conference, scheduled for May 4 to 6 in Dallas, will focus on how the industry will solve a gap in management talent resulting from demographic shifts. A story on Page 38 of this issue previews that concept with insights from industry executives, including Supervalu's Jeff Noddle, K-VA-T Food Stores' Steve Smith and FMI's Tim Hammonds.

The mention of Hammonds brings up another new development: FMI just announced he will retire after 15 years of leading the organization, once a successor is found (see story, Page 12).

Speaking of change, you may also have noticed something new in the pages of SN this week. This issue launches a redesign that updates the magazine's look without dramatically altering its appearance. The redesign, created by art director Nancy Stamatopoulos, includes new typefaces and color palettes; an expanded contents page section; and revised section opener pages.

The cover image is bigger, although we'll return to having two news stories on Page One in future weeks. The photos on this Viewpoints page are larger than before. Our financial page was updated to streamline stock listings and point readers to SN's website for constantly updated stock quotes.

In fact, you'll see more effort throughout the magazine to call attention to our comprehensive Web offerings. For instance, on this week's Contents page we invite you to submit online nominations for SN's upcoming Power 50, an annual scorecard that — here we go again — highlights change by showing shifts in the roster of the most powerful industry people.

We hope you like the new design, and we encourage your feedback. Change is all around us, but one thing that isn't shifting is SN's commitment to leadership in covering the food retailing business.