by Terrie Ellerbee
The American Meat Institute (AMI) held its 2012 Meat, Poultry & Seafood Convention and Expo in Dallas alongside FMI 2012: The Retail Food Show and United Fresh 2012: The Produce Show, in Dallas May 1-3.
Anne Halal, VP, convention and exposition services for AMI, said Dallas was very welcoming to the newcomer.
“This is the first time the AMI Show has left Chicago since 1906, so it’s certainly been an adventure, getting this off the docks without the comforts of home,” she said. “We’re very excited to be here in Dallas.”
She spoke to Bob Reeves, VP, The Shelby Report, about how co-locating with FMI 2012 and United Fresh benefited her organization’s members and about plans for next year’s show (which is just eight months away). She said sharing the event with the other organizations was a unique experience.
“It was a great idea when we all decided to do this, and try to create a giant food industry show,” Halal said. “The synergies between our exhibitors and attendees with the retail industry—because our packers and processors really want to see their customers on the retail side—really did help generate a lot of excitement for us. Our show has gone through an interesting transition the last few years, and this put us in a really nice position to kind of regenerate energy for our show. I think that definitely worked.”
AMI also worked with the Southwest Meat Association and the Texas Food Processors Association to try to generate local and regional excitement.
“I think we’ve been able to do that,” she said. “That was also a part of being in Dallas that we couldn’t have done in Chicago.”
The buzz she heard on the show floor was that exhibitors believed the right people were at the show. Exhibitors said they were able to talk business with decision makers.
“That’s really the most important thing,” Halal said.
Also during the show in Dallas, AMI gave out annual awards, including its Supplier of the Year Award, which went to Sealed Air’s Cryovac Food Packaging for its support of the meat industry.
In presenting the award, AMI Chairman Larry Odom, president of Odom’s Tennessee Pride Sausage, applauded the company’s diligence in sharing its knowledge with customers and ensuring its customers remain abreast to the trends beyond their walls.
“Sealed Air’s Cryovac brand’s long-standing relationship with the meat industry and its belief that it is part of the industry, not just a supplier to it, warrants the AMI Supplier of the Year Award,” Odom said.
AMI’s show next year will be held with the International Poultry Expo Jan 29-31, 2013. That show has been held in Atlanta for 65 years.
“AMI has been working for many, many years to try to cooperate with the poultry show,” Halal said to The Shelby Report. “The synergies and overlap of exhibitors is much more obvious. This is something that our association has been working on for over 20 years.”
There was no resistance to the idea. In fact, Halal said, “Everyone is extremely enthusiastic about it.”
But there have been obstacles, she said. AMI was a biennial show in Chicago in the fall, and the poultry show has always been an annual show in January in Atlanta.
“But AMI went to an annual show, moved to the spring and left Chicago for Dallas. All the sudden we realized we were a lot more flexible than we thought we could be,” Halal said. “We were much more in alignment with the poultry show. We’re already 77 percent sold out for 2013. Very exciting.”
There has been a tremendous response from equipment manufacturers, she said.
“We’d like to see them come and bring both their meat line and their poultry line now to one show,” Halal said. “It’s great. They get all their customers under one roof.”