By: Steve Markenson, Director of Research, FMI and Dan Ratner, Senior Director of Member Services, FMI

Leslie Sarasin at AWG

After two full years of being separated and unable to participate in-person at events, it was a breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively) to attend the Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) Innovation Showcase in Overland Park, KS, March 21-23.

Here are six of the activities the FMI team appreciated about being at a food industry event in person:

1. Sharing Research Findings in an Actual Classroom

It was a pleasure to share findings about the impact of private brands on business development for independent operators in the workshop, The Power of Private Brands: Turning Opportunities into Realities and hear questions and comments from attendees directly.

FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin also shared even more research data with attendees in her closing keynote address at this show hosted by a wholesaler member that has been affiliated with FMI since day one 45 years ago.

2. Handing Retailers Resources They Can Hold in Their Hands

Attendees visited the FMI table to ask questions and inquire about the resources FMI offers to help overcome challenges they face within their company and stores. From food safety and asset protection to staffing and employee morale, store owners and operators learned about the variety of tools and solutions FMI offers to members to support their needs.

3. Hearing from Members Without an Earpiece

Having an open-air conversation with other professionals without the worry of audio glitches, dropped internet connections, frozen images or forgetting to unmute was truly a relief.

4. Sitting Down to a Meal with Food Industry Family
fmi booth at awg

The FMI Family Meals Movement seemed to be in play at the show as a thousand participants sat down in an extra-large ballroom to enjoy meals together and have table conversations that most likely included personal stories of their own families over the past two years.

5. Walking a Tradeshow Floor Full of Innovations and Solutions

Like going to your local grocery store to shop for meat, produce, snacks, and flowers the AWG Innovation Showcase Expo Hall had vibrant and exquisite displays to entice even the pickiest shopper.

6. Connecting with Food Industry Professionals

No online or virtual experience can replace the ability to look into the eyes of a colleague, shake their hand, and share a genuine smile while getting to know them better and have conversations about professional and even personal issues impacting their lives. 

FMI is excited to finally host our own in-person event for the first time in 24 months, Midwinter Executive Conference in Orlando, FL, March 28 – 31. Let’s come together to learn, share, and strategize at the highest degree.