The FMI (Food Marketing Institute) Connect, InterBev, and United Fresh co-located trade shows took place in Chicago from June 8 to 11. The three trade shows hosted attendees who saw the latest in alcoholic drinks, fresh produce, hot and soft drinks, and packaged foods for the supermarket industry. Below are the top trends that the Euromonitor research team of Beatriz de Llano, Emily Balsamo, Eric Penicka, Mark Strobel, and Virginia Lee observed.
Italian companies had a big presence at this year’s FMI Connect through the Italy pavilion. Organized by the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), the pavilion featured about 50 Italian food and beverage companies featuring products from gorgonzola cheese to Prosecco to packaged cornetti (an Italian pastry). While the presence of Italian products at FMI Connect was undoubtedly to increase exports of Italian products into US retail outlets, the underlying goal of the ITA was to educate Americans about what separates products from Italy and those made in the Italian style. Further, the ITA’s final objective is to obtain geographic labelling protections much like those which currently exist within the European Union, which are currently being negotiated under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. If passed, geographical indications on European products would give consumers an additional informative label to trust, much like “Certified GF Gluten Free” and “USDA Organic” certifications, assisting consumers in identifying true Italian products from their imitators.