As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to surge, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and FMI - The Food Industry Association announced on Wednesday the cancellation of the 2022 Annual Meat Conference (AMC) “out of respect for the health of our communities and due to the attention and consideration our respective members are putting into their operations,” according to the groups.
The event had been scheduled for Feb. 7-9 in Washington, D.C.
“The purpose of AMC is to bring together retailers and the meat and poultry industry,” said NAMI president and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “Like the meat and poultry industry, many of our partners in retail are experiencing significant operational and supply chain challenges. At this time, attending an in-person conference is difficult which diminishes the value of the event for all participants."
FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin added, “Our community is prioritizing the health of its people and operations so that we will be able to continue to serve the shopper, but we are committed to sharing additional category insights with our audiences throughout the year.”
A full refund will be issued to all attendees, exhibitors and sponsors, and event coordinators will cancel hotel reservations on behalf of registered attendees.
While the in-person event is canceled, NAMI and FMI, in partnership with Sealed Air, will host a virtual discussion series regarding the annual Power of Meat analysis, usually released during the show. The kickoff to this three-part series will be hosted beginning Feb. 7. Registration information will be available via the conference website and in a follow-up communication to previously registered attendees. The analysis will also be available for free to members of NAMI, FMI and previously registered attendees.
Next year’s Meat Conference has been scheduled for March 6-8, 2023, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.
The announcement came just days after FMI announced it would “pause” its upcoming Midwinter Executive Conference, scheduled for Jan. 21-24 in Orlando, in the face of growing concerns about COVID-19 and the surging Omicron variant. Earlier in January, the Private Label Manufacturers Association canceled its annual trade show scheduled for this month, and this week announced plans to launch the virtual PLMA Global event in March.
Other industry events scheduled for the next few months are still going on as planned, including the National Grocers Association annual trade show slated for Feb. 27-March 1 in Las Vegas, Natural Products Expo West (March 8-12 in Anaheim, Calif.), Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America (March 13-15 in Boston) and Shoptalk (March 27-30 in Las Vegas).