FMI to Hold First H&W Conference in May

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) will hold its inaugural Supermarket Health & Wellness Conference, May 11 through May 13, 2010, in conjunction with FMI 2010, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The FMI Health and Wellness Advisory Council developed the conference.

“Supermarkets are unique providers of health and wellness to their customers,” noted FMI president and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. “They offer shoppers food, pharmacy and knowledgeable nutrition experts in one location to help their customers better manage diseases, lower stress, improve nutrition and enhance the quality of life through healthy eating.”

The conference aims to help the industry formulate strategies and tactics to take advantage of emerging health and wellness opportunities across the entire store. Features will include educational sessions to help build collaborative cross-department teams, develop health-and-wellness programs and market to the changing shopper; business appointments between retailers and suppliers to discuss new products and services; and Strategic Collaborative Exchange meetings to enable senior-level strategic dialogue between supermarket executives and their industry partners. Suppliers will also be able to host private meetings to discuss collaboration on such storewide initiatives as health-and-wellness programs.

“Our shoppers are looking for health-and-wellness benefits in the foods they eat and the medications they take,” said Helen Eddy, assistant VP of health and wellness at West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee, Inc. and co-chairman of the Health &Wellness Advisory Council. “The Health & Wellness conference is aimed at helping retailers create a shopping experience that meets the needs of today’s customers.”

“Health and wellness is taking center stage at the grocery store,” added Thom Blischok, president of global innovation and shopper marketing at Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. and co-chairman of the advisory council. “There is a fundamental shape-shift occurring as shoppers are now making purchasing decisions in the home before they get into the store, based on what is best for them and their family. It is an incredibly exciting and opportune time for retailers to show their customers the health and wellness benefits that can be found throughout the supermarket.”

Formed last year, the Health and Wellness Advisory Council comprises executives from retailer, wholesaler and supplier companies with responsibility over such areas as nutrition, pharmacy, grocery, health and beauty care, consumer affairs, and technology innovation. The council’s main goal was to launch a health-and-wellness event offering business opportunities and educational programming for retailers and suppliers.

People who register for the Health & Wellness Conference will also have full access to FMI 2010.
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