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As the days count down, it's time again to write a few words about the Healthy Foods International Exposition and Conference scheduled for June 18-19 at the Dallas Convention Center. Supermarket News and SN Whole Health are part sponsors of the inaugural show.

Now, yours truly is primarily a writer. I attend shows, write up the seminars, cover the happenings and make notes during booth visits. So, I was intrigued when I was asked to actually help craft the educational portion of the show.

I think each of the topics is on-point. Kids' marketing; creating "authenticity;" making healthful eating convenient..... All of these are integral to any mainstream supermarket's health and wellness merchandising. Two keynote sessions in particular lend this show a timeliness not found in any other professional venue this year. First, Dr. David Katz of Yale University and Topco Associates will provide a thorough overview of their simple, yet effective Overall Nutritional Quality Index, or ONQI. This consumer education program promises to take a lot of the mystery out of the consumer buying decision, for any food sold in the modern supermarket. The best part is it's a shelf-level program, directed at consumers right at the point of purchase.

Then there's a proprietary study that points out the disconnects between consumers and retailers, and retailers and manufacturers in the area of health and wellness. Conducted by Nutrition Business Journal, another publication in our coast-to-coast Penton Media family, and Avero Research, this study is sure to open a lot of eyes. Just because we've been at this "selling health" stuff awhile doesn't mean we're experts. Anyone attending this conference will find out there's a long list of things that still need to be done.

What's different about this show is the word "mainstream." HFI is geared specifically for the larger-scale retailers and manufacturers participating in the whole health movement. No Mom and Pop companies here; at HFI you'll see giants like Kraft and national retailers like Wal-Mart Stores.

We've even got our own stars. Chef, author and television personality Devin Alexander will be there, as well as author Sam Fromartz, who wrote "Organic, Inc." and continues to share his keen observations of the industry on his blog.

So, come join us! Click on the link in the first paragraph to get all the details. My little entry here hardly does the show justice.

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