BATON ROUGE, La. -- Associated Wholesale Grocers here liked the Food Marketing Institute's MealSolutions conference in Phoenix last month so much that, in about four weeks time, it assembled and ran its own meeting on meal solutions.
Associated's day-long program, held Oct. 9 at the Hotel Radisson here, included the FMI meeting's keynote speaker and featured 25 exhibiting manufacturers from the commercial food-service industry, most of whom had also exhibited in Phoenix.
Nearly all of the grocery wholesaler's 150 independent supermarket members in this area were represented among the attendees. Total attendance was between 160 and 170, according to meeting organizers.
Ira Blumenthal, president of Co-Opportunities, an Atlanta-based marketing and consulting firm and the keynote speaker at both the FMI event and the AWG meeting, told SN the wholesale cooperative had quickly put the program together after a delegation of members returned from the Phoenix conference convinced by its message about the opportunities for the supermarket industry in the home meal replacement arena.
"Associated Wholesale Gro-cers arranged this meeting at warp speed. Some of the group's members attended MealSolutions and were so impressed by what they heard there that they felt they needed to get AWG members together to stress the importance of the home meal replacement trend and its impact on the supermarket industry," Blumenthal said.