FMI Connect 2015 Forges First‐Ever Partnership with Italian Trade Agency (ITA)

MAY 13, 2015, ARLINGTON, VA – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has named Italy as the “Host Country” for FMI Connect 2015, the food retail industry’s premier event focusing on keeping ahead of the accelerating pace of change in food retail.

The event, which draws more than 13,000 food industry professionals, prepares retailers for the evolving competitive environment and delivers solutions for increasing consumer engagement. Italy is the ideal partner to elevate the importance of a key competitive strategy: providing "authentic" international options.

“As shoppers seek varied tastes and quality products, 83 percent of retail companies report an emphasis on ethnic products as a competitive strategy, and this focus is ranked as the third-most effective tool for competitive differentiation,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. “The Italian Trade Agency’s presence at FMI Connect provides efficiencies for collaboration between retailers and suppliers in their strategic discussions on specialty imported foods.”
“The Italian Trade Agency is honored to partner with FMI Connect as the first country ever to be featured at this high profile exhibition of the best products, equipment and services aimed at the U.S. food retail industry,” said Roberto Luongo, CEO of the Italian Trade Agency. “We have secured the participation of an impressive group of more than 50 leading exhibitors representing Italy, to showcase the highest quality and excellence of foods and beverages. Our focus is to reinforce that authentic Italian products create superior culinary experiences within homes in America, and we know that millions of shoppers are continuing to seek out 'Made in Italy' products.”

Outside Europe, the U.S. is the primary market for Italian exports, representing the largest market for majority of worldwide consumer categories. In the past several years, the export of Italian food products to the U.S. has continued to exponentially grow. As an effort to take full advantage of the potential in the U.S., the ITA is committed to promoting significant, qualitative gains of Italian exports to the U.S. by way of educating the market of the value of “Made in Italy” food products. As a result of targeting the public through major retailer initiatives geared toward the introduction of new products and companies, ITA’s partnership with FMI became a natural development.  

Sarasin continued, “This partnership between FMI Connect and the Italian Trade Agency is a testament to the importance of collaboration across the aisles. In response to consumer trends, international foods are no longer relegated to a select few shelves but have become an integral component of every category. Food retailers are recognizing this opportunity to engage shoppers and encourage more at-home family meals.”

Increased options in "authentic" ethnic food at retail can also give life to in‐store programs and events to inspire shoppers at mealtime. While 91% of retailers report offering global food products, only 56% dedicate a space for cooking demonstrations, powerful tools to introduce shoppers to new products and categories.


ITA at FMI Connect

Within the first‐ever Italian Trade Agency pavilion, FMI Connect attendees will have the opportunity to meet with more than 50 Italian food and beverage companies that offer a wide variety of authentic Italian products including: wine, seafood, mineral water, olive oil, herbs, pasta, riso, breads, cured meats, and much more. Each of the illustrious regions of Italy will be represented with a focus on companies with rich histories of internationally distributed, family‐made products.

Throughout the three‐day trade exhibition, visitors to the Italian pavilion will be able to attend and participate in daily food and wine demonstrations from notable Italian chefs, attend wine seminars and sample a selection of fine Italian wines in a dedicated wine bar. Enjoy an espresso or cappuccino in the "Italian coffee bar," and savor the richness of Italian gelato.

Directly outside and to the left of the Italian Pavilion a display of iconic Italian‐made automobiles from Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati will complete the "Authentic Italian" experience.

For Media:

  • FMI Connect will be held June 8‐11 in Chicago, IL. Press registration and more event information is available at
  • For a complete list of Italian companies showcased, please visit the FMI Connect floor plan for booths 339 ‐ 341 ‐ 344.
  • Source: FMI The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2014 Data Tables 6 and 7



About FMI

Food Marketing Institute proudly advocates on behalf of the food retail industry. FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides valuable benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world. FMI membership covers the spectrum of diverse venues where food is sold, including single owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores. For more information, visit and for information regarding the FMI foundation, visit


About FMI Connect

FMI Connect is the prominent annual event for food retailing bringing a dynamic exposition together with education formats focusing on the imperatives of keeping ahead of the accelerating pace of change in food retail. The catalysts for change represent intense competition from new formats, drive for operational excellence, including speed to market, and consumer transparency and customization – all of which are enabled by technology.


About Future Leaders

Formerly known as Future Connect, provides current and high-potential leaders in food retail with the tools, knowledge, insights and skills to be successful in today's and tomorrow's business environment. In 2015, Future Leaders is co-located with Future Connect and requires a separate registration.