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01/13/2022

FMI cancels upcoming in-person events

The association’s Midwinter Executive Conference and partnership with North American Meat Institute are on pause.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
Dan Ochwat profile picture

Due to health and safety concerns around the rising Omicron variant of COVID-19 now spreading across the United States, FMI – The Food Industry Association has decided to cancel the current dates for its Midwinter Executive Conference, scheduled for later this month, and focus instead on gathering industry members in person when such events are “more feasible.” 

“As much as we would like to host our first in-person industry gathering in nearly two years later this month in Orlando, it does not appear to be in the best interest of the industry to do so,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI. “I respect the business and personal challenges our industry continues to face, especially when it comes to their collective health, as well as their operations. I also recognize the tremendous pressures our industry continues to experience regarding the supply chain, which are exacerbated by absenteeism associated with the pandemic. Therefore, we will pause our plans to host the 2022 FMI Midwinter event, at least for the time being.”

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Leslie Sarasin headshot
Leslie Sarasin, FMI

Added Sarasin: “I continue to celebrate the relationships and strategic planning our annual event inspires among our tight-knit community, and I look forward to the opportunity to reconvene at a later date in 2022 when circumstances improve.”

The trade organization will issue event registration fee refunds and cancel all room reservations on attendees’ behalf.

Similarly, FMI, which works with The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) for its Annual Meat Conference, canceled the event “out of respect for the health of our communities and due to the attention and consideration our respective members are putting into their operations.”

“The purpose of AMC is to bring together retailers and the meat and poultry industry,” said NAMI president and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “Like the meat and poultry industry, many of our partners in retail are experiencing significant operational and supply chain challenges. At this time, attending an in-person conference is difficult which diminishes the value of the event for all participants."

Sarasin commented, “Our community is prioritizing the health of its people and operations so that we will be able to continue to serve the shopper, but we are committed to sharing additional category insights with our audiences throughout the year.”

A full refund will be issued to all attendees, exhibitors and sponsors, and event coordinators will cancel hotel reservations on behalf of registered attendees. 

While the in-person event is canceled, NAMI and FMI, in partnership with Sealed Air, will host a virtual discussion series regarding The Power of Meat analysis. The kickoff to this three-part series will be hosted beginning February 7. Registration information will be available via the conference website and in a follow-up communication to previously registered attendees. The analysis will also be available for free to members of our respective organizations and previously registered attendees.