• Conference graphic
    Retail Reinvention
    Making the Customer Hero
    March 19 and 20, 2018
    Western Michigan University
  • 2016 panel speakers
    Retail Reinvention
    Making the Customer Hero
    March 19 and 20, 2018
    Western Michigan University
  • background texture
    Retail Reinvention
    Making the Customer Hero
    March 19 and 20, 2018
    Western Michigan University

53rd Annual Food Marketing Conference

DeVos Place, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Conference Hotel: Amway Grand Plaza Reservations

Conference Hotline: (269) 387-2132

Why Attend the WMU Food Marketing Conference?

The top 2 reasons attendees give for attending the Food Marketing Conference are the high quality educational content and the exceptional networking opportunities with industry partners.

  • 100% of conference survey respondents rated the WMU Food Marketing Conference as Exceptional or Above Average compared with other industry conferences they have attended.
  • 95% of conference survey respondents said they would recommend the Food Marketing Conference to someone they know.
See Event Schedule Register Now
Networking scene
Jayne Homco speaking at 2017 conference
Three people networking during conference

Event Schedule

Time Schedule Venue

Monday, March 19

11 a.m. to Noon Kevin Coupe
Retail Reinvention: The Innovation Imperative Kevin Coupe
Kevin Coupe
Founder, Morningnewsbeat.com
Ballroom BCD
Noon to 2 p.m. General Dunwoody
A Higher Standard
General Ann Dunwoody Sponsored by the Network of Executive Women
America's First Female 4-Star General
Ballroom BCD
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Networking Break Secchia Lobby
3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Michael Sansolo
Executive Forum
Moderator Michael Sansolo Speaker and Retail Food Expert

Chris Boever, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Pinnacle Foods
Carmela Cugini, General Manager, Grocery and Wholesale, US eCommerce; Walmart.com/Jet.com
Tod Pepin, Senior Vice President of Foods Merchandising for Meijer

Ballroom BCD
4 p.m. to 5 p.m. John Phillips
Retail Reinvention: Bits & Bytes that will Disrupt Your Supply Chain
John Phillips
Senior Vice President, Pepsico
Ballroom BCD
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Welcome Reception Secchia Lobby
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Networking Dinner (Food Stations) Ballroom BCD
7:30 p.m.
After Dinner Entertainment featuring live music from Brena

Tuesday, March 20

7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. Breakfast Ballroom BCD
8:15 a.m. to 9 a.m. Michael Sansolo
Retail Reinvention: How to Go Omni-Channel
Michael Sansolo
Speaker and Retail Food Expert
Ballroom BCD
9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Simon Bailey
Making the Customer Hero by Creating a Positive Customer Experience
Simon Bailey, Author
Ballroom BCD
9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Coffee and Networking Break Secchia Lobby
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Breakout Session I

• How “Real Millennials” Tackle Opportunities in a Competitive Retail Industry
• Convenience is the New Price
• Thinking Differently, the Disney Way
• Disruption Trends
• Power of Personalization
• Getting Innovation Right … Why Dark Horses Win
• How Wendy’s Connects Digitally with the Consumer
• Shopper Insights to Activation

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Breakout Session II

• Leveraging Big Data and Predictive Analytics for the Modern Shopper
• Using Artificial Intelligence to Win in Health & Wellness
• America is Winning an Economist Forecast
• A Lens on the Industry: What’s Next
• Meal Kits/Foodservice at Retail
• Working Across Generations
• 8 Dimensions of Leadership
• Cyber Security: Personal, Corporate and National Security

1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Lunch and Awards Ballroom BCD
2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Fred Morganthall
Closing Speaker
Fred Morganthall
Industry Statesman

•Former Chairman Food Marketing Institute
•Former President of Harris Teeter
•Recently retired Executive Vice President of Retail Operations, Kroger Company

Ballroom BCD



Access to all meals and sessions at the 2018 Food Marketing Conference for one person.

Table for 10

10 full registrations include access to all speakers and meals. You may bring 10 guests, or have open seats for students.

Reserve a Table

Benefits vary. Please review the sponsor packet or contact Lisa Youtzy at (269) 387-2132.

Sponsor Packet
Sponsor a Student

Students are able to attend the 2018 Food Marketing Conference at no cost to them. If you would like to help offset the cost of students attending the conference, please consider sponsoring a student.

Sponsor a Student

Visiting Grand Rapids

airplane in sky

Air Travel

  • Grand Rapids: Gerald R. Ford International Airport
  • Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport
  • Detroit: Metropolitan Airport
  • Chicago: O'Hare Airport, Midway Airport

Grand Rapids Aerial photo


Amway Grand Reservations
WMU's campus in Kalamazoo

Visit WMU

Kalamazoo, the home of WMU’s main campus is one hour south of Grand Rapids. WMU also two Grand Rapids locations. If you would like to tour a campus, please call the conference hotline.

(269) 387-2132

2017 Platinum Sponsors

Advantages Solutions Logo
Daymon Logo
EJ Gallo Logo
Hormel Logo
Kehe Logo
Kellogg's Logo
Kroger Logo
Learning Evolution Logo
Meijer Logo
Mondelez Logo
NeoGrid Logo
Pepsi Co. Logo
Smucker's Logo
Spartan Nash Logo

2017 Diamond Sponsors

Colgate Palmolive Logo
Constellation Logo
IRI Worldwide Logo
McClane Logo
VML Logo

2017 Gold Sponsors

Abbott Nutrition Logo
Acosta Logo
Alliance Logo
Bayer Logo
Campbell's Logo
Catalina Logo
Dawn Logo
Georgie Pacific Logo
Hershey's Logo
IGA Logo
Masterpiece Logo
NGA Logo
Nestle Water Logo
Nielsen Logo
Pepperidge Farm Logo
Pinnacle Logo
Sargento Logo
Smithfield Logo
Unilever Logo

2017 Silver Sponsors

Advantage International Logo
Aunt Millie's Logo
Bell's Brewery Logo
Burnette Foods Lgo
Conagra Logo
Country Fresh Logo
Eastern Fish Company Logo
Enjoy Life Foods Logo
Hackney Logo
Hudsonville Logo
Imperial Beverage Logo
Jewel Osco Logo
Litehouse Logo
Mars Wrigley Logo
Martin's Logo
Prairie Farms Logo
Progressive Grocer Logo
Proctor and Gamble Logo
PUR Logo
Starbucks Logo
Evolocity Sign Art Logo