WMU Food Marketing Conference moves to Grand Rapids

contact: Stacey Markin
| WMU News
Photo of an audience watching a panel discussion.

The Food Marketing Conference has long been held in Kalamazoo.

KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University’s annual Food Marketing Conference, an event that has grown to upwards of 700 industry attendees, will move to Grand Rapids this year.

The 51st annual conference, one of the leading conferences for the industry, will take place Monday and Tuesday, April 11-12, at DeVos Place.

Strategic move

The move to Grand Rapids was a strategic one, designed to support and promote the growth of the event.

“Our conference has grown significantly in the last few years,” says Dr. Frank Gambino, professor of marketing and director of the Food Marketing Conference. “With the increased attendance has come the challenge of finding a space that offers one room that can accommodate all our attendees, including students, and also has attached hotel facilities.”

Due to the conference’s growing reputation in the industry, conference planners estimate that they may attract up to 1,000 attendees.

"We think that Grand Rapids is a great fit," says Gambino. "It provides convenient travel for those who are flying in, is a short distance from Kalamazoo, and WMU has a long tradition in Grand Rapids, offering many degree programs at our regional sites, including the MBA."

Conference theme and presenters

This year’s conference theme is "People, Purpose and Passion: The Pathway to Success" and will feature Hank Meijer, co-chairman of Meijer Inc.; Millennial and iGen expert Jason Dorsey; Lisa Walsh, senior vice president at Frito-Lay; and author and retail expert Neil Stern of McMillanDoolittle LLP, plus many others.

The conference proceeds support scholarships and unique educational experiences for students enrolled in WMU's food and consumer package goods marketing program.

For more information or to register, go to wmich.edu/foodmarketing/fmc.

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