Omicron surge disrupts retail industry events

FMI puts Midwinter Executive Conference ‘on pause,’ PLMA to launch new virtual trade show


Michael Browne, Supermarket News

Jan 11, 2022


FMI-The Food Industry Association announced late Monday that it will “pause” its upcoming Midwinter Executive Conference, scheduled for Jan. 21-24 in Orlando, in the face of growing concerns about COVID-19 and the surging Omicron variant.


The news comes on the same day that the Private Label Manufacturers Association, which previously canceled its January event, will be launching a new online trade show at the end of March.


Since the emergence of COVID in 2020, retail industry trade groups have struggled with the cancellations of in-person live events and the challenges of pivoting to virtual trade shows. By mid-2021, many groups were optimistic that the introduction of the COVID vaccine would signify a return to a more normal business and travel environment, but the current surge of Omicron has derailed event plans that were planned and organized over the past year.


“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 FMI president and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin in a statement...