While health and safety are a top priority for everyone, conferences scheduled across the grocery and retail industry are seeing a pause, cancellation or go-ahead.
As the United States deals with the omicron surge, winter weather and gross supply chain issues are also adding pressure to in-person conference woes, forcing some industry conferences to pause and pivot.
Last month Private Label Manufacturers Association President Peggy Davies announced the cancellation of its Private Label Trade Show scheduled for Jan. 30-Feb.1 in Chicago due to COVID-19.
“This action was taken for a number of reasons, all related to the impact of COVID-19 on the safe movement of exhibitors and visitors who annually attend our Chicago show,” Davies said.
FMI—The Food Industry Association in a Jan. 10 statement said that it has hit the pause button for its Midwinter Executive Conference. Slated for later this January, FMI said it will focus on reconvening the industry event in-person when it is more feasible.
“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,” FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said. “I respect the business and personal challenges our industry continues to face, especially when it comes to their collective health, as well as their operations. I also recognize the tremendous pressures our industry continues to experience regarding the supply chain, which are exacerbated by absenteeism associated with the pandemic. Therefore, we will pause our plans to host the 2022 FMI Midwinter event, at least for the time being."
Sarasin hopes to reconvene at a “later date in 2022 when circumstances improve.” FMI said it will issue event registration fee refunds and cancel all room reservations on attendees’ behalf.
National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay wrote on LinkedIn that NRF 2022: Retail’s Big Show will go on with proper protocols to ensure safety for everyone.
“While the recent surge in the omicron variant is very concerning, NRF continues working with local, state and federal health officials to ensure that we not only meet but greatly exceed safety guidelines and COVID-19 protocols at NRF 2022: Retail’s Big Show at the Javits Center in New York City, Jan. 16-18,” he said on the online service.
NRF announced on its website enhancements to its existing health and safety protocols, which require proof of vaccination and wearing masks indoors to attend the event.
Looking ahead to February, National Grocers Association President and CEO Greg Ferrara in a recent Q&A with Winsight Grocery Business confirmed its 2022 show will be held in person. The NGA Show, which is the only show created exclusively for the independent grocer, is set to take place Feb. 27-March 1 in Las Vegas.
“We will continue to do it safely with our protocols, which worked incredibly well for the 2021 show—we had no problems whatsoever,” Ferrara told WGB.