The general sessions have been announced for the Annual Meat Conference (AMC), to be held February 24-26, 2013, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Attendees will become better prepared to tackle the most pertinent issues facing the meat industry today through these sessions that focus on hot topics, including maximizing current consumer trends to increase sales and understanding the global market to remain competitive into the future.

Pat and Gina Neely, restaurateurs and co-hosts of two popular Food Network television programs, Down Home with the Neelys and Road Tasted with the Neelys, will share their Recipe for Success in the opening general session. From their latest success, New York City’s Neelys Barbeque Parlor, to the original Neelys Bar-B-Que locations in Memphis, cookbooks, merchandise and endorsement relationships with companies like Kraft and Sam’s Club, the Neelys know how to build a business from the bottom up and will share their secrets on how they grew an empire, turning their family restaurant into one of the most successful food brands in the South.

Jeff Simmons, President of Elanco, will follow the opening session with a presentation on Making Safe, Affordable, and Abundant Food a Global Reality. With demand for food rapidly increasing, highly efficient food production is vital in ending world hunger, lowering food costs, protecting consumer rights, and safeguarding our natural resources.

The last general session on the first day of the conference will be a presentation by Harvey Hartman, Founder, Chairman and CEO of the Hartman Group on Unwrapping Food Culture. With both the world of food and food culture being quite complex and constantly changing, Mr. Hartman will demonstrate how food culture is changing and how today’s consumers are redefining the rules for customer engagement. Meanwhile, Mr. Hartman will provide insights into the changing eating patterns of American consumers and their effect on meat marketers and retailers.

The second day of sessions will begin with The Economy and the Impact on Your Business, as three experts share their insight on economic trends. Paul Aho, Ph.D., President, Poultry Perspective, Randy Blach, CEO, Cattle Fox, and Steve Meyer, Ph.D., President, Paragon Economics, Inc., will all present and share their expertise on consumer spending trends, unemployment rates, and industrial capacity, while explaining how all of these economic factors will impact the livestock, poultry, and meat retail industries.

Following this economic presentation, Ron Elving, Senior Washington Editor of National Public Radio, will discuss the results of the congressional and presidential elections and their expected impact on national issues, as well as the potential implications for business and the marketplace, during the Politics and Current Affairs of 2013 session.

The final general session, The Power of Meat: An In-Depth Look at Meat through the Shoppers’ Eyes, will be presented by Anne-Marie Roerink, Principal, 210 Analytics, LLC. Her presentation will allow attendees to gain a clear understanding of what drives consumer purchasing decisions in the current economic environment, including trends in protein types, amounts, brands, nutrition, packaging, promotional tactics and purchasing channels. The top findings of the extensive consumer research will be shared, along with insights by guest panelists on implications for the meat and poultry industry.

Co-sponsored by the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the conference attracts 800 members of the retail food and meat industries each year. It is considered the leading educational event focusing on meat and poultry marketing innovations, merchandising issues and consumer purchasing trends.

Associate sponsors include the American Lamb Board, Beef Checkoff, National Chicken Council, National Pork Board and National Turkey Federation.

To exhibit or to register for AMC, go to

Source: AMI