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Organizers Fold FMI Connect

fmi-connectThe Food Marketing Institute has discontinued the organization’s annual trade show – FMI Connect – for 2017, its executive board announced. The show was scheduled to be collocated with exhibitions by the United Fresh Produce Association and the Global Cold Chain Alliance in Chicago next June, but President Leslie Sarasin said FMI will be reassessing the marketplace and its event strategy to ensure it is delivering the right opportunities to the industry. The decision came after a lag in recent show attendance numbers despite the event’s return to its original location in Chicago and its colocation with several events also serving the grocer industry.

Sarasin said the board did not reach the decision easily but felt it was the most appropriate course at this time. “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,” she wrote in a press release regarding the decision. “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. 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. 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.”

FMI Connect reportedly attracted 6,500 attendees and 490 exhibitors to a 200,000-square-foot show hall in 2016. Organizers of shows that were collocated with the event say their events will take place despite FMI’s departure.

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