2008 FMI Show in Vegas Draws Few Large Food Companies

The first show outside of Chicago in 26 years draws few big food companies.

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Hershey and Starbucks collaborated on a line of artisan-style Starbucks chocolates inspired by Starbucks flavors. Try the Chai variety.

  • Ready Pac Produce, Irwindale, Calif., added four options to its popular Ready Snax line in time for summer snacking: Apples & Cinnamon Crème (fresh sliced apples with crunchy granola and a cinnamon cream dip); Mango Blueberry Tray (fresh mangoes and blueberries complemented by a proprietary lemon chiffon dip); Pina Colada Tray (fresh pineapple with red grapes, coconut and a vanilla crème dip); and the Veggie Cheese Pretzel Tray (carrots, grapes, cheese and pretzels).
    Sunsweet Growers, Yuba City, Calif., introduced 60-calorie packs of Pitted Prunes and Dried Plums and 70-calorie packs of Sunsweet Mediterranean Apricots.
  • Crusting is a big restaurant trend currently. McCormick’s Crusting Blends put panko-style bread crumbs in the hands of home chefs.
    Uncrustables Peanut Butter & Honey from Orrville, Ohio-based Smucker’s makes a great lunch for the pint-size members of the family.
  • Honest Tea, Bethesda, Md., for the first time in the Coca-Cola family, introduced Honest Kids, organic thirst quenchers in ready-to-go, single-serve pouches with half the sugar of most kids’ drinks, 100 percent of  their daily vitamin C needs and no caffeine, high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors. Varieties include Berry Berry Good Lemonade, Goodness Grapeness and Tropical Tango Punch.
  • Jel Sert Co., West Chicago, Ill., partnered with Fairfield, Calif.-based Jelly Belly Candy Co. to launch Jelly Belly Freezer Pops. These refreshing bars are available in a variety pack in flavors that include Very Cherry, Lemon Drop, Berry Blue and Green Apple.
  • Markham, Ontario-based Drink Z beverages rolls out Infusion Flavor Twist, with a sport cap that allows you to twist as much flavor and vitamins as you want into your Red Punch, Orange, Blue Raz or Purple Grape drink, which begin with natural spring water.
  • The future of the show
    This year’s FMI Show shared its space with the United Fresh Marketplace, a produce show. There were 1,100 exhibitors, including 300 from United Fresh. Attendance was 17,543, down from last year’s 19,510, but last year’s show included three other small shows. Peak attendance was 35,000 in 1991.

    “As you know, because of new ways of doing business facilitated by technology, trade shows have changed a lot since we first started and formats and expectations are different,” said Brian Tully, senior vice president of conventions and education at FMI. “We believe that bringing the show to Las Vegas created a new and fresh atmosphere with a ton of excitement. There was a lot of good buzz on the floor, filled with vibrant booths and excited exhibitors. There was a real energy at the show this year."


    Although the Post unit is being sold, Kraft debuted LiveActive cereals, with Cargill’s prebiotic fiber for digestive health.

    For the past several years, FMI and United Fresh co-located in Chicago’s McCormick Place along with the spring Fancy Food Show, All Things Organic and the U.S. Food Export Showcase. This year, those last three shows again shared McCormick Place in late April without FMI and United Fresh.

    A number of exhibitors at the United Fresh Marketplace section of this FMI show were unhappy with its separation from the All Things Organic Show.

    As if all those changes weren’t jarring enough, Tim Hammonds announced his intended retirement as CEO of FMI. By the time he retires, expected next year, he will have served in that capacity for 15 years. A search committee has begun looking for his replacement.

    The FMI Show now will begin the second phase of its transition. No Supermarket Show will be held next year. Instead, Future Connect, FMI’s new leadership development conference, will be held in Dallas May 4-6, immediately followed by three days of Marketechnics, the merchandising and operations technology portion of the FMI Show for the past several years. Those conferences will be paired in odd-numbered years, while Marketechnics will be staged with the Supermarket Show in even years. So the next Supermarket Show with processors as exhibitors is scheduled for May 10-13, 2010, again at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

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