The 2016 edition of  FMI Connect will open on June 20th at the McCormick Place Exhibit Center in Chicago. The event is dedicated to food products and is addressed to leading representatives of GDO and other representatives of the food retail industry.

The event is Organized by ICE, in collaboration with the Italian Federation for Food Industry and fairs in Milan, Parma and Verona. It will feature 500 exhibitors from around the world and about 15,000 attendees are expected in a space of 13,500 square meters. Italy’s participation at FMI Connect 2016 will consist of the the presence of 67 Italian companies- producing, among others, oil, milk, pasta, desserts, canned and dried fruit, and beverages- as well as other companies such as AIDEPI, Italia del Gusto, and Tradizione Italiana. This year the Italian Pavilion features an exhibition area of about 900 square meters.

The objective of Italian participation is to strengthen the Made in Italy in the United States and further increase sales in an area that accounts for 3rd place in our culinary experience and 7th place as a provider. For the first time, exports of Italian food products to the USA has reached a record level of almost 36 billion euros, registering a 21% increase over the previous year. The leading agro-food exports to the USA consist of wine, followed by oil, dairy products, and pasta.

The initiative is part of an intense promotion program by ICE on the American Market which together with the campaign against Italian Sounding, incoming operators at major trade fairs in Italy,and promotion in collaboration with GDO United States represent an unprecedented investment.

In the lounge set up by ICE during the event, tastings of national dishes prepared by renowned local chefs will be available during the event, through reservations to US retailer chains or open to all. It also offers a complete package of promotions to retailers in the industry through access to CBX – Connect Business Exchange, software dedicated to the organization of individual meetings in a dedicated lounge.

Even for the wine sector, the Italian collective represents an occasion of direct promotion on American soil. The seminars devoted to Italian wines, organized by Vinitaly International, are in fact part of the official “educational” program of FMI Connect 2016. At the same time a thematic Wine Bar Lounge offers guest the chance to sample some of the excellent wines from our country.

Among the promotional activities parallel to the event, a communication campaign has been prepared with major U.S. media companies, magazines, and marketing services for the retail world. Already from the first day of the event, Monday, June 20th, there is also an interesting side event program designed for exhibiting Italian companies: Store tours at Mariano and Whole Foods, Sectorial presentations, and an additional networking session with American operators at the Art Institute of Chicago.