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FMI eliminates its annual trade show

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ARLINGTON, Va. — Citing the changing needs of its members, the Food Marketing Institute is cancelling its annual FMI Connect trade show.

“FMI aims at all times to be as agile and as bold as required to serve the needs of our members as well as the broader food industry,” said organization president and chief executive officer Leslie Sarasin. “Therefore, we must design new occasions more appropriate to the faster-paced rhythms of food retail, and in unique formats more attuned to the specific needs of our industry.

“With the elimination of having to fill football fields’ worth of space as ‘The Show’ configuration required, FMI will be liberated to explore new, focused and more flexible events.”

The decision means that the FMI Connect originally scheduled to be held in Chicago next June has been canceled.

“At FMI we continue to believe that events designed to bring together the entire food retail industry and their partners for meaningful conversation, education, exploration and networking are desired and needed, but we have concluded these gatherings should occur in a framework that differs from the current FMI Connect design,” Sarasin explained. “We also recognize that in recent years this event has fallen short of achieving the precise formula necessary for meeting today’s industry needs, particularly as the industry continues to change and evolve so quickly.”

Sarasin noted that the industry FMI serves is learning that it must rethink, and in some cases redesign, all aspects of its business, including everything from customer service to checkout, and from the number of items on store shelves to alternative ways of getting products to its customers.

“Likewise, FMI must adapt and look with fresh eyes at the opportunities this new frontier holds, even when it requires letting go of old methods that hold places in our hearts,” Sarasin said.

The FMI Connect show was launched in 2014 as an annual industry event. It replaced two events — the Future Connect leadership development conference and the FMI Show trade show — that were held on alternating years beginning in 2008.
That approach in turn was an evolution from the original FMI Show trade event, which had been held annually in Chicago from the early 1980s to 2007.


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