FMI, United Fresh to co-locate shows

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and United Fresh Produce Association have reached a three-year agreement to co-locate the organizations’ respective trade shows: United Fresh 2014 and FMI Connect, the Global Food Retail Experience.

Registration opened Oct. 1 for the June 10-13, 2014 events in Chicago.

“Our partnership with United Fresh brings a vine-ripe vibrancy and fresh-picked energy to FMI Connect’s focus on the total store experience,” Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI’s president and CEO, said at a press conference. “Forward-looking research affirms what we are seeing at store level – food retail customers are seeking to increase their knowledge and use of fresh products, making the produce sections critical points of differentiation among food retailers.

“United Fresh and FMI’s  seasoned collaboration strengthens our ability to provide event-goers with solutions to growing basket size; increasing customer trips; improving margins; and increasing market share,” Sarasin said.

She cited statistics showing 41 percent of FMI’s 2013 U.S. Grocery Retail Trends consumer respondents ranked better quality and variety of fresh foods, inclusive of produce, as the third-most influential factor behind price and selection for choosing a primary store, a supermarket that may not be the closest in proximity to the shopper’s home.

“Today, there’s no question that fresh produce is a key differentiator for retailers in every channel,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “With consumers increasingly looking for fresh produce for snacks, in ready-to-eat meals, and every cooking occasion, United Fresh 2014 will be a must-attend forum for retailers large and small who want to seize the produce opportunity for growth.”

Ron Midyett, United Fresh chairman and president and CEO of Apio, said, “The United Board of Directors see a great opportunity with this long-term partnership to build a top-to-top management focus for produce suppliers and their customers.  Together, we can bring fresh food solutions and innovations to our customers that can significantly grow the total business.”

Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer and FMI Chairman Fred Morganthall echoed the food industry’s goals for the Chicago trade show, saying, “The organizations’ 2014 signature events team-up to offer workable solutions whose range touches every aisle in the local store, reverberates throughout the industry and reaches internationally into every corner of the food retail globe.”

FMI, a leading trade association for the food retail industry, announced in August it was redesigning its annual event in order to forecast the future of food retailing.

In early September, Susan Krys was appointed FMI’s vice president of industry events, adding a level of expertise to help FMI realize a stated objective of re-engineering the annual industry trade show, FMI Connect, to make it into an industry-wide focal event.

Originally posted Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013