AWMA Show to Feature Foodservice Pavilion

Also expanded exhibit hall

FAIRFAX, Va. -- The American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) has announced that its 2011 Show will feature an expanded Expo and the addition of a dedicated Foodservice Pavilion highlighting the latest foodservice products, programs and equipment for the convenience retailing industry. The AWMA Show will take place February 8-10, 2011, at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.

"Foodservice is probably the most important growth category for our retail customers and it is critical that wholesale distributors have access to the right products, food programs and information to [image-nocss] bring new ideas and execution solutions that meet the needs of our customers," said Keith Canning, managing partner of Pine State Trading and AWMA 2011 chairman.

"Consumers are looking for fresh, fast, high quality foods and the opportunity for convenience stores to satisfy that demand has never been better. Our goal is to provide wholesale distributors with access to key foodservice suppliers that they can partner with to either help develop a program or improve existing programs," he added.

The scope of products, programs and services to be featured in the pavilion include fresh and prepared items, hot and cold dispensed beverages, menu sign systems and equipment. AWMA has allocated 10% of its trade show to the Foodservice Pavilion--which also includes a lounge area for product tasting and business discussions--with a plan to expand this area each year to accommodate the anticipated growing demand among food companies that want to meet with key decision-makers from national, regional and local wholesale distribution companies.
On average, distributors who attend the show are purchasing product for more than 2,800 convenience stores with the largest distributors supplying more than 15,000 locations, AWMA said.

"We rely heavily on distributors to partner with us and we are eager to participate in the new foodservice Pavilion at AWMA's show. We are looking forward to the opportunity to meet with both current distributors and to introduce our foodservice solutions to new distributors as well," said Jerry Ryker, executive vice president of Land Mark Products.

"We have seen tremendous growth in c-store foodservice sales, and we have expanded our offering to accommodate the demand for high-quality food, starting with breakfast items and throughout the entire day. The ability for us to meet with dozens of distributors face to face who can sample our product is by far the most efficient way for us to build our c-store business."

Foodservice is among the strongest growth categories in convenience retailing--representing more than 15% of in-store sales--more than $28B in annual c-store sales in 2009, according to NACS' State of the Industry report."Our members have historically relied on several key categories for the majority of their business, and while those categories continue to play a critical role, as the convenience industry evolves distributors need to be at the forefront with new products, programs and merchandising ideas," added Scott Ramminger, AWMA president and CEO. "We are thrilled with the response from foodservice companies who will be exhibiting with us and we are focused on making sure that our members bring their key foodservice buyers to the show this year."

Beyond this new feature area, more than 200 leading manufacturers will be exhibiting in the Expo. Additionally the agenda includes more than 18 hours of educational sessions with three Super Sessions, concurrent sessions on foodservice, strategic leadership issues and key categories as well as a new track of programs geared specifically for smaller distributors.

AWMA is the only international trade organization working on behalf of convenience distributors in the United States. Its distributor members represent more than $85 billion in U.S. convenience product sales. Associate members include manufacturers, service providers, technology companies, brokers, retailers and others allied to the convenience retailing industry.

In addition to convenience stores, their largest customer segment, convenience distributors also service grocery stores, drug stores, tobacco shops, mass merchants, newsstands, concession stands, gift shops, fundraising groups, restaurants, institutions and more.