CHICAGO -- The Produce Pavilion will be 75% bigger at the Food Marketing Institute's annual convention, being held here May 4 to 7, 1997.
square feet of exhibit space at the convention's venue, McCormick Place. This is the eighth year that the supermarket industry meeting will feature the pavilion.
Officials with the Washington-based trade group said that while the pavilion has been steadily growing over the last couple of years, this is one of the biggest increases in size it has enjoyed. The FMI said the pavilion had increased about 10% from 1994 to 1995, and another 12% between 1995 and 1996.
FMI also said about 30 companies or other entities will be exhibiting at this year's pavilion, in striking contrast to last year's nine organizations.
According to the association, this year's jump in size and activity could be due, at least in part, to the continued strength of produce as a draw to stores, as evidenced by consumer trend surveys.
And because of the dominant role produce plays at the retail level, "We expect it will continue to grow," said Edie Clark, director of media relations at the FMI.
About 20 companies are entering the pavilion for the first time, including Frieda's, Los Alamitos, Calif.; Procacci Farms, Philadelphia; Grimmway Farms, Lamont, Calif.; and Caito Foods, Indianapolis. Another nine companies are returning to the pavilion.
"We have a diverse group of exhibitors," Clark said.
As of press time, there were only two booths remaining to be filled, she added.
FMI officials said the larger pavilion space will allow buyers to see the latest innovations in produce, including bioengineered products, branded offerings and merchandising ideas.