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Meat Conference
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The Annual Meat Conference will be held virtually March 22-25 by the North American Meat Institute and FMI-The Food Industry Association.

Virtual Meat Conference to offer educational sessions, industry outlook

Among highlights of the online event are analysis of annual Power of Meat report, legislative updates and leadership roundtable

The Annual Meat Conference, to be held by the North American Meat Institute and FMI-The Food Industry Association virtually March 22-25 due to COVID restrictions, will feature more than 15 hours of educational content, a virtual exhibit hall to see and learn about new products, as well as networking, video meetings and social activities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting consumer behavior has put unprecedented pressure on the meat retail industry, resulting in dramatic changes that have asked us all to think differently and creatively to solve problems,” wrote Farleigh Lichstein, director, education, FMI and Rick Stein, vice president, fresh foods, FMI, in a recent blog post. “The innovation displayed throughout the entire meat industry provides us with clear lessons learned as we move forward.”


Retailers, wholesalers and suppliers can register for the Annual Meat Conference here. The exhibit hall and appointment setting will be available continuously throughout the conference. Among the sessions scheduled (all times EST):

Monday, March 22

1:15 - 2:15 pm

Keynote Presentation - Business Beyond 2030
Chris Riddell, Global Futurist

AMC 2021 keynote speaker Chris Riddell is an award-winning global futurist and industry recognized inspirational speaker on emerging trends in our hyperconnected world. When our ‘business as usual’ is anything but... how can we continue to grow, thrive and innovate? What could incredible business look like amidst the incredibly unusual? In this session, Riddell will help to answer those questions and more.

3 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Market Outlook for Meat & Poultry
Paul Aho, Economist and Consultant, Poultry Perspective
Randy Blach, CEO, CattleFax
Steve Meyer, Partners for Production Agriculture

World and U.S. economic conditions, effect of COVID-19, trade disagreements and agreements, supply and demand. There are multiple forces at play for producers, processors, retailers and consumers in U.S. meat and poultry markets. This session will look at those factors — and others — in the beef, pork and poultry markets and how they will impact your operations in 2021 and beyond.

Tuesday, March 23

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
The Power of Meat 2021: An In-Depth Look at Meat Through the Shopper’s Eyes
Anne-Marie Roerink, Principal, 210 Analytics LLC

The Power of Meat is a must-attend, peer-recommended look at meat though the eyes of the shopper. In today’s uncharted territory, the study has the unique advantage to have been tracking meat consumption, purchases and attitudes for 16 years. By combining shopper input with IRI sales results, the Power of Meat outlines the important lessons borne from the pandemic as well as red flags and opportunities. Meat reemerged as the king of retail during the pandemic, and now we must leverage shoppers’ rising meat IQ while optimizing its role and image. How can this be achieved in a shifting protein landscape increasingly influenced by sustainability, animal welfare, transparency and health? What improvements can our industry make to remain front and center as consumers evolve in the way they cook and eat?

Followed by The Power of Meat Deep Dive from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Concurrent Workshops
Regulatory and Policy Update
Casey Gallimore, Director, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, North American Meat Institute
Andrew Harig, Vice President – Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development, FMI

Get the latest information on issues of importance to both retailers and processors from NAMI and FMI leading experts in regulatory and policy issues. Topics of discussion will focus on the most important issues for meat and poultry, including what the change in Administration may mean for the meat industry. The session will help attendees understand what issues to be prepared for in the coming year.

Key Actions for Advancement in Diversity and Inclusion
Kevin Dolan, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
Miriam Owens, Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company

Speakers from McKinsey & Company will present data that highlights that the business case for diversity and inclusion is stronger than it has ever been. What actions can meat industry leaders take to make a difference and move toward more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations and approaches? What are some of the key changes that need to be made?

3 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Lessons Learned from COVID-19: Leadership Roundtable
Susan Morris, Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, Albertsons Companies
Jon Nash, President, Cargill Protein North America
Nicholas Bertram, President, The GIANT Company
David McDonald, President and COO, OSI Group
Moderated by: Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO, North American Meat Institute

This session brings together top leaders from both retail and meat processing for a high-powered discussion on the challenges of 2020, and, more importantly, a dialog about the lessons learned that will make the meat retail industry even stronger in the long run.

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Wednesday, March 24

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Political Outlook: The Biden Administration
Ron Elving, Senior Washington Editor for National Public Radio
Moderator: Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO, FMI

As senior editor and correspondent on NPR’s Washington Desk, Ron Elving covers the stories, the issues, and the people driving Washington decision-making. During this engaging session, Ron will discuss where things stand on the Hill, in the Executive Branch and in the broader body politic. Special attention will be paid to the Cabinet-level changes that have occurred during the Biden Administration transition and the impact these changes will have on the meat industry.

2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Concurrent Workshops
COVID and the Supply Chain: Farm to Distribution
Brad Freking, CEO/Owner, New Fashion Pork
Colin Woodall, Chief Executive Officer, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
KatieRose McCullough, Director, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, North American Meat Institute

Hear the story of the pandemic’s effects firsthand from producer and packer representatives, and what the key learnings were for both live animal production and meat packing/processing. The supply and capacity issues dealt with by these segments led to opportunities to improve efficiency, identify alternative markets, accelerate automation, and re-imagine the workplace.

The Business Case for Sustainability
Christine McCracken, Executive Director, Animal Protein, Rabobank
Eric Mittenthal, Vice President of Sustainability, North American Meat Institute
Marjorie DePuy, Senior Director, Supply Chain and Sustainability, FMI

In this session, Rabobank’s Christine McCracken will share how a leading agricultural lender is looking at sustainability from a business perspective and the implications for businesses in the meat and retail industry. The session will also outline the industry’s commitment to boost its sustainability in the five key areas of food safety, animal welfare, environmental impact, health and wellness and labor and human rights.

The New Future of Omnichannel and E-Commerce
Mike Salguero, CEO, Butcherbox
Dave Zucker, Chief Marketing Officer, Perdue

Omnichannel retail is helping to boost the lifetime value of customers, increase consumer spending and improve the buying experience. This session will focus on the lessons learned from the pandemic and how to best prepare to transform your business operations. Learn from leading experts on how they have embraced omnichannel to move forward after COVID-19.

Thursday, March 25

11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Concurrent Workshops
Consumer Purchase Behaviors: How Did They Change and What Is Here to Stay?
Chris DuBois, Senior Vice President, Strategic Accounts, IRI
Larry Levin, Executive Vice President, Market and Shopper Intelligence, IRI

COVID-19 has driven unprecedented changes across the fresh perimeter due to economic and social challenges in a short amount of time. During this session, IRI will provide a deep analysis into consumer buying behavior at the meat case using a powerful combination of its two consumer datasets combined with consumer interviews that will help attendees understand the thought process behind different buying behaviors.

What’s Next In Labor and Employment Law
John Linker, Partner, Labor and Employment, Akerman
Mark Schneider, Shareholder, Co-Chair, Traditional Labor Practice Group, Littler

Labor and employment issues continue to play a major role in the national political conversation. Minimum wage, healthcare, immigration, and accommodation are just a few of the issues with great effect on the meat and retail industries. This session will break down some of the biggest issues and discuss what changes potentially lie ahead for employers.

Using Health and Well-Being to Seize the Opportunity for Loyal Meat Consumers
Krystal Register, Director, Health and Well-being, FMI
Melanie Jatsek, Chief Dietitian, Heinen’s Grocery Store
Amy Peterson, Supermarket Registered Dietitian, Coborn’s Inc.

Research indicates that while consumers appreciate meat products for the taste, they are also interested in the health and well-being benefits meat can provide as part of an overall healthy pattern of eating. On the front lines in sharing this message are retail dietitians, who help consumers understand the connection between food and health. In this session, guided by a panel of expert retail dietitians, we will explore the most effective ways to seize the opportunity to engage and keep consumers loyal to the meat case with messaging inclusive of overall health and well-being.

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Keeping Consumers at Retail: Innovation and Engagement for 2021 and Beyond
Dhamu R. Thamodaran, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer & Chief Commodity Hedging Officer of Smithfield Foods, Inc., Retired
Lisa Selk, Vice President, Market Meat Products, Hormel Foods
John Beretta, Group Vice President, Meat & Seafood, Albertsons Companies

From innovative retail technologies to surprising new sales channels, this session will focus on how retailers, wholesalers and suppliers are staying on top of retail trends in 2021 and beyond. The discussion will also center around sharing insights about how to meet the consumer need for convenience in the months and years ahead.

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