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FMI Set to Launch Inaugural Health & Wellness Conference

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Food Marketing Institute here on Wednesday announced plans for a new conference centered on health and wellness.

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Food Marketing Institute here on Wednesday announced plans for a new conference centered on health and wellness.

At some past FMI conventions, FMI has leveraged whole health as a concept but this is the first time it is launching a separate conference on health and wellness. The idea for the conference emerged out of the Health and Wellness Advisory Council that was formed last year.

Supermarket Health & Wellness Conference is set to run concurrently, May 11-13, with the FMI 2010 Show at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. This comes at a time when the nation is focused on health care reform, childhood obesity and other food-related health issues.

Cathy Polley, FMI’s vice president of pharmacy services, told SN the conference is a new strategic direction for the industry that FMI is helping to move forward.

The conference is designed for those executives responsible for forming health and wellness strategies and programs in their stores such as in-store dietitians and corporate nutritionists and pharmacists, said Polley.

On the supply side, FMI expects participation from health and beauty care and pharmaceutical manufacturers as well as suppliers of educational and training tools and representatives from schools that certify dietitians and nutritionists.

The conference will include educational sessions, business appointments and what FMI calls Strategic Collaborative Exchange meetings, allowing for senior-level dialogue between supermarket executives and their industry partners.

“The beauty of co-locating this conference with FMI 2010 is that as teams of pharmacists and dietitians and others involved in health and wellness schedule their business appointments they can invite associates from center store and those with executive responsibility to join them,” Polley noted.

Anyone who registers for the Health & Wellness Conference will have full access to FMI 2010. FMI expects the conference to be an annual event, Polley said. “We think there is so much potential especially given the supermarket store format that really ties together the best components of health and wellness to help shoppers lead a healthy lifestyle."

“Supermarkets are unique providers of health and wellness to their customers,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and chief executive officer, in a press statement. “They offer shoppers food, pharmacy and knowledgeable nutrition experts in one location to help their customers better manage diseases, lower stress, improve nutrition and enhance the quality of life through healthy eating.”

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