By Leslie G. Sarasin, CEO, Food Marketing Institute
Thanksgiving remains among my favorite holidays. Not only does it bring together two of my favorite things, family and food, but it also - against many assaults - retains the flavor of its roots as a day set aside to reflect on our lives and express gratitude for the bounty of the earth and for the gift of loving relationships. In a world requiring us to move ever faster, a day that allows us the time and carries the explicit expectation that we will use those hours to actually think about, give consideration to and remain grateful for that which matters most in this life is truly a holiday. While other holidays may feel like we simply exchange one form of work for another, to me Thanksgiving remains true to the meaning of holiday as a day set aside to be different from the rest, providing us space to breathe, time to think and opportunity to express our gratitude.
Please know that high on my list of blessings for which I will offer thanks this Thanksgiving Day is the opportunity to work in an industry that even in the midst of the ever-increasing demands, remains focused on the larger good of feeding families and enriching lives. In working for you and with you, FMI seeks to remain loyal to those same principles, thereby helping your companies stay true to that vision. That is why our two largest events, FMI’s Midwinter Executive Conference and FMI Connect have themes - Feeding the Future and Everyone to the Table, respectively – that focus on food, people, what it takes to feed people and what happens when people eat together. When discussing the topics addressed at these events, we use a lot of words and some of them can be confusingly complicated. When describing the content at Midwinter or Connect, we often speak in terms of tracking consumer trends, improving food safety, Health and Wellness concerns, and using technology to enhance efficiency. But I think of these words as the multitude of different colors that come from a prism when you shine a light through it. It is a single light and single prism, but together a spectrum of color can be seen. All these event topics are the colors produced when we shine the light of food through the prism of people. The plethora of educational offerings and business opportunities available at these industry gatherings comprise the rainbow of details we must address, but at the end of the day, it’s really all about food and people and that which occurs when we get them together.
We need food to live, but when we share it with others, we feel more alive. And, as we sit down for the ultimate annual family meal this year, this is something for which we all can all give thanks.