WASHINGTON, DC -- November 4, 2004 -- The 2005 Annual Meat Conference will be held March 6-8, 2005 at the Caribe Royal Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The spring date and the Orlando setting offer an ideal opportunity to combine an important conference with recreation and family fun.

The Annual Meat Conference is the premier educational opportunity for retailers and meat and poultry companies seeking the latest information about trends and issues affecting meat and poultry sales, marketing, and profitability. Now in its 15th year, the conference is cosponsored by the American Meat Institute and the Food Marketing Institute. Associate sponsors include the American Lamb Board, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Pork Board and National Turkey Federation.

Exciting Winget Keynote

With a theme "Turn Up the Heat," this year's conference features format changes and more options to add value for attendees. An exciting Opening General Session on Sunday, March 6 will include a high-energy keynote address by the irreverent and unconventional Larry Winget, author of Shut Up, Stop Whining & Get a Life: A Kick-Butt Approach to a Better Life. The book, which was released in August, was #1 on The Wall Street Journal's best-seller list within just weeks.

Winget believes that most of people have complicated life and business way too much, take it way too seriously, and that people need to lighten up, take responsibility, be more flexible, stay positive, and keep it in perspective. He believes that success and prosperity come from serving others.

The Opening General Session also will unveil results from new focus group research about the meat case. In addition, Meat Processing Magazine Editor Steve Bjerklie of Mill Valley, Calif., will moderate a panel discussion of key food and wine trends featuring some leading food and wine aficionados, including wine cross-merchandising guru Paige Poulos, who runs a Northern California-based marketing firm specializing in food and wine and American Institute of Wine and Food South Florida Chapter Chairman George Temel.

Educational programming on Monday, March 7 and Tuesday, March 8 will include important sessions covering Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID); shrink; ethnic marketing; natural and organic products; and diet strategies and their impact on marketing; the processed meat market; and meat case makeover. The Conference will conclude with a provocative Closing Session "Speaks: The State of the Retail Meat Industry" "Meat Industry Speakers," moderated by FMI Senior Vice President Michael Sansolo and featuring interviews with key players in the meat, poultry and retail industries.

Product Tasting Reception

This year's Product Tasting Reception will be held Monday evening March 7. More than 50 companies are expected to "Turn Up the Heat" on their hottest new products in one of the largest "protein parties" found anywhere. Also on Monday, March 7, a Tech Fair Luncheon will showcase technical developments from industry suppliers.

More Facility Tour Choices

Conference attendees will enjoy more tour choices this year. Participants may select from retail store tours, which will include stops at Publix, Bravo and Fresh Market in Orlando; a trip to Food Technology Service's irradiation operation in Mulberry, Fla., or a "behind the scenes" look at Disney's foodservice operations. Tours are included in the registration price but must be booked at the time of registration to guarantee space availability. All tours will be held Monday morning, March 7.

The conference web site, www.MeatConference.com, is packed with conference details, as well as information about all that Orlando has to offer business and family travelers, from discounted golf opportunities to amusement park options.

Registration Now Available

Registration for the conference is $595 for members of sponsoring organizations that register prior to Jan. 14, 2005; $695 for members registering after Jan. 14. Non-members pay $1,295. Discounts are available for multiple registrations. For detailed registration information, or to register on-line, click on www.MeatConference.com