WMU Food Marketing and Supply Chain Conference brings industry headliners to Kalamazoo

Contact: Stacey Anderson

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The Western Michigan University Food Marketing and Supply Chain Conference will return to the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo on Wednesday and Thursday, March 15-16, bringing a new format, new sessions in supply chain management and an all-star lineup of speakers with deep knowledge about food and consumer packaged goods. The conference, which on average attracts 800 industry professionals each year, will offer both keynote speakers and breakout sessions.

“I would stack the quality of our speakers and content up against any conference in the industry,” says Dr. Russell Zwanka, director of the event and associate professor of marketing. “We have some of the top CEOs, leading companies and an engaging flow of sessions, keynotes, networking opportunities and special events.” 

After an appearance by the WMU Bronco Pep Band and WMU cheer team, the conference kicks off on Wednesday with Leslie Sarasin, CEO of the Food Industry Association (FMI), who will give an overview of the state of the industry, including how industry is responding to inflation, the record-high prices of commodities and supply chain issues, all while continuing to be the engine that feeds the United States.

Sarasin will be followed by:

  • Steve Cahillane, CEO of the Kellogg Company
  • Vivek Sankaran, CEO of Albertsons Companies
  • Phil Rosse, president of Mark Anthony Brands, Inc.

Wednesday evening culminates with A Taste of West Michigan. A first-ever event at the conference, this collaborative food experience features Can-Do Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Valley Community College Culinary Arts Sustainable Food Systems Programs, ValleyHUB and Kalsec and is a time to network and learn more about food security and food education in the local area. “The new Taste of West Michigan is something to be especially proud of and cements our local connection in Kalamazoo,” says Zwanka. 

Thursday brings a full day of speakers and activities including keynotes from John Phillips, senior vice president, customer, supply chain and global go-to-market at PepsiCo; Mike Doss, CEO of Graphic Packaging International, and Justin Honaman, worldwide consumer products and retail go-to-market at Amazon.

Additionally, Thursday boasts a panel of female founders, a leadership panel and breakout sessions about food marketing and supply chain topics, covering a wide variety of expertise and interest areas for all conference attendees. All conference content is available in person or in live hybrid format.

Annually the conference raises more than $100,000 for student scholarships.

Visit the website to view the conference agenda, register and sponsor.

To arrange media coverage, contact Stacey Anderson at (269) 387-6936.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.