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Meijer CEO to speak at Food Marketing Conference

March 18, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Food industry leaders will gather Wednesday and Thursday, March 24-25, to discuss customer service, the future of retailing and the deployment of social media tools during Western Michigan University's 45th annual Food Marketing Conference.

Hank Meijer, co-chairman and CEO Meijer Stores, will share his thoughts on serving customers as part of the conference, which annually draws more than 400 food industry executives to Kalamazoo. The event will be held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel with the theme "Essential Business Lessons for the New Economy."

Wednesday, March 24

Kicking off the event at 4 p.m. on Wednesday is Kevin Hunt, president and co-CEO, Ralcorp Holdings Inc. His presentation and the follow-up executive forum at 4:30 p.m. will examine the customer's shifting need for value. Moderated by Michael Sansolo, author and retail food industry consultant, the panel will include Brian Audette, vice president of independent sales for Supervalu; Denny Belcastro, senior vice president for Kraft Foods Inc.; Carole Bitter, president and CEO for Friedman's Freshmarkets; and Michael Malenfant, vice president of customer business development for Procter and Gamble.

Wednesday evening will feature Sansolo along with co-author Kevin Coupe, founder of MorningNewsBeat.Com. The two will draw upon stories and lessons from their new book "The Big Picture," which examines how popular films provide a treasure trove of lessons large and small, profound and simple, to study how to become a better marketer, partner and leader.

Thursday, March 25

On Thursday morning, two concurrent presentations begin at 8:15 a.m. Dan O'Connor, president and CEO of Retail Network Group, will discuss "The Future of Retailing," and Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president of digital strategic services for The Nielsen Company, will discuss "Using Social Media Wisely.

Breakout sessions
10 to 11 a.m.

  • Leadership by Investing in People
  • Tracking Trends That Matter--Consumer and Shopper Insights to Drive Trips and Sales
  • Manage the Most Diverse Workforce Ever
  • Private Brands Aren't so 'Private' Anymore

Breakout sessions
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

  • Reinventing Retail: How Consumers' Shifting Values are Changing the Face of Retail
  • Making a Sustainable Difference in Our World
  • Understanding the Mindset of the Customer
  • Optimizing Center Store Meal Shopping: A Focus on Shoppers and Convenience Meals

At 2 p.m. Hank Meijer, co-chairman and CEO for Meijer Stores and the third generation to lead the Michigan-based retailer, will close the conference by offering his outlook for the future with his talk, titled "Customers Don't Need Us, We Need Them." The title is based on the foundation of the Meijer organization, a philosophy held since 1934.

The Annual Food Marketing Conference is presented by WMU's Food and Consumer Packaged Goods Marketing Program in the Haworth College of Business. Proceeds from the conference support Food and CPG Marketing scholarships and related program operations.

For more conference information, including cost and registration details, call the event hotline at (269) 387-2132 or visit the 2010 Food Marketing Conference online.

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Media contact: Valorie Juergens, (269) 387-5964, valorie.juergens@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400