Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) make up a significant portion of the U.S. meat and poultry industry. For example, more than 80 percent of American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) member firms are SMBs. On a broader scale, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 99.7 percent of all U.S. employer firms and 98 percent of firms exporting goods are considered small businesses, accounting for 46 percent of private-sector output.

But it’s not just the economic impact of SMBs that is significant. These manufacturers often lead the way in processing and packaging innovation. To help them continue to grow, PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013 (September 23-25; Las Vegas Convention Center) has launched SMB FastTrack, a program that provides special planning tools and resources for SMBs with annual revenues between $50 million and $500 million.

The latest industrial outlook report from the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) revealed that manufacturing firms with fewer than 50 employees expect sales to increase just 0.5 percent over the next 12 months, compared to 1.6 percent for larger manufacturers. Additionally, 57 percent of small manufacturers have a negative outlook, compared to 44 and 47 percent of medium and large firms, respectively.

In short, SMBs face difficult market conditions, even as they work to enhance sustainability, ensure compliance to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and minimize costs.

But SMBs also have a distinct advantage — greater agility — the result of their ability to implement innovative solutions that drive growth.

That agility, however, usually comes with a smaller staff, and time is often in short supply. SMB FastTrack will provide a means to optimize time spent at PACK EXPO and connect with exhibitors offering special incentives, discounts or support. 

The SMB FastTrack program also will provide advanced planning and on-site resources such as SMB-oriented networking and educational opportunities. “C-level executive” participants will be included in SMB FastTrack Platinum, with benefits such as:

  • A special retreat from the busy exhibition halls for refreshments or private meetings with suppliers

  • A Personal Equipment & Technology Sourcing Service prior to the show

  • A dedicated FastTrack Executive Lounge

  • Free advance show registration

To learn more about the SMB FastTrack program, visit

Beyond FastTrack, PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013 has much to offer meat and poultry processors of any size as they take their businesses to the next level:

  • The Food Safety Summit Resource Center, sponsored by BNP Media, will provide expertise on FSMA compliance and other food- safety regulatory challenges.

  • The Processing Zone, an area dedicated exclusively to processing technologies, will feature solutions to enhance production efficiency, advance sustainability goals and increase output. The Zone will augment processing solutions on display across the show floor.

  • The Brand Zone will showcase a range of material and container innovations that help brands gain a competitive edge at the point-of-sale and build consumer loyalty. 

  • The Allied Association Partners Pavilion will bring together a wide range of associations and institutions, including the American Meat Institute, allowing meat and poultry manufacturers to make the most of their trip to Las Vegas. 

  • Two Innovation Stage locations on the show floor will provide attendees ongoing education and close-to-the-action learning opportunities. 

To learn more about PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013 and to register for the show, visit Registration will be discounted to $30 until September 9. The cost of registration will be $60 thereafter and on-site. 

To learn more about PMMI, visit