FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- The National-American Wholesale Grocers' Association here and the National Grocers Association, Reston, Va., have canceled their jointly sponsored meat operations conference, which had been held annually.
Instead, NAWGA and NGA will join the American Meat Institute, Arlington, Va., and the Food Marketing Institute, Washington, in sponsorship of their annual meat industry conference, which has been renamed the Annual Meat Marketing Conference. It was previously called the AMI/FMI Meat Marketing Conference. The next conference will be held at the Stouffer Waverly Hotel in Atlanta April 2 to 4.
NGA President Thomas Zaucha said despite the record attendance at its meat conference last year, "in this era of ECR [Efficient Consumer Response], it just makes a lot more sense" to sponsor a joint industry conference.
He said discussions had begun earlier this year on how the industry organizations could work together more effectively and eliminate unnecessary duplication of programs and services.
He said while it will be an industry-wide conference, individual areas of interest could still be addressed.
"Under one umbrella, special tracks could be run for independent retailers, wholesalers as well as larger retail chains," said Zaucha.
Christopher Galen, a spokesman for NAWGA, said while that association ran a quality conference with NGA, its members would be better served through the new arrangement.
"It will be similar to the group of associations that produce the annual produce show in that it brings different synergies from different organizations," said Galen. The Annual Produce Conference referred to is jointly sponsored by FMI, the Produce Marketing Association, the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and NAWGA.
"We're pleased to bring the food distributor's perspective to the program development of this important and high-quality event," said John Bloom, NAWGA vice president for education and operational services, in a statement.
Sherrie Rosenblatt, manager media relations at FMI, a trade association for food retailers, said for now the conference agenda is not expected to change.
For more information on the upcoming Annual Meat Conference, contact Rosenblatt at FMI at 202-452-8444 or Janet Riley, director of public affairs at AMI, at 703-841-2400.