FMI Connect is putting increased focus on fresh foods with new exhibit and education elements at the Chicago event, which runs June 8-11.
This dovetails with the association’s efforts to improve fresh food operations across the industry, in part through its Fresh Executive Council.
Attendees at FMI Connect will see a bigger show floor commitment to fresh, including a first-time Fresh & Prepared Pavilion.
As outlined in FMI’s blog, the pavilion, showcasing fresh suppliers, will feature hourly activities to inform retailers and wholesalers about perimeter strategies. These will include cooking and grilling exhibitions at the Fresh Pavilion Cooking Station; Fresh Bite Topic Talks, which are 20-minute show floor presentations on fresh topics; and exhibits from companies whose businesses focus on fresh.
The pavilion will be an opportunity for retail and wholesale executives to become more familiar with these fresh suppliers, Rick Stein, FMI’s VP of fresh foods, told SN.
FMI Connect will also offer a number of education sessions that focus on the fresh segment. These include:
• “The Power of Produce.” Anne-Marie Roerink, principal, 210 Analytics, will outline this research report on shopper habits relating to fresh foods.
• “Polarized Consumers Are Redefining ‘Value’ in Fresh.” Sherry Frey, VP, account services, Nielsen Perishables Group, will relay how to analyze product portfolios, pricing and messaging strategies to target different shopping segments.
• “Will Proteins Be in Short Supply? How Retailers and Manufacturers Will Manage the Volatility and Availability.” Dave Donnan, partner, A.T. Kearney, addresses how the protein food supply has been impacted by droughts and beef herd reductions, and how innovative companies are adapting.
• “How Retailers Will Benefit from Emerging Trends in Fresh Prepared Foods.” Bob Goldin, EVP, Technomic, points to consumer trends including local, clean label and sustainable, and what the industry should expect in the near future.
• “Sustainable Sourcing of Fresh Products: Appealing to the Socially Conscious Consumer.” Nielsen Perishables Group’s Frey will moderate a panel of food retailers who will discuss the need for leadership related to socially conscious consumerism. The panelists include Carl Salamone from Wegmans and Neil Kudrinko from Kudrinko’s.
Meanwhile, FMI also has been pursuing the fresh angle through its Fresh Executive Council, which includes senior fresh executives from member companies working to identify key issues and develop the forums, tools and resources needed for fresh operations in the industry, according to FMI’s website.
Among the areas of focus are staying on top of regulations and consumer behavior, Stein said.
Stein is working with other associations on fresh initiatives. As previously reported by SN, FMI and Produce Marketing Association are collaborating on food safety training for local suppliers, he said.
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