2016 Food & Drug Conference Summary

Guided once again by the FDC watchwords “Connect, Learn, Inspire,” leaders of the supermarket and drug store industries returned to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for the 2016 Food & Drug Conference.

Among the many high points of the day was a “fireside chat” between top food industry analyst Meredith Adler and FDC director Ellen Anreder. In their far-ranging conversation, Adler shared insights into current trends in the industries, including online shopping, generational changes in grocery preferences and inroads by European super-discount chains into the U.S. market.

In a time of uncertainty brought on by the potential dismantling of the federal Affordable Care Act, attendees learned how one state has created its own successful system of mandated employer-provided health care. Paul Tom, principal of Benefit Plan Solutions, Inc., described Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act, which has overcome legal roadblocks to extend health coverage to large numbers of employees and dependents.

The 2016 Conference had the “Inspire” component well covered with two nationally recognized speakers, Nick Arnette and Clay Clark, who used humor and their personal stories to provide insights into effective leadership and removing roadblocks to success.

Attendees had ample opportunities to “Connect” as well during the formal program and at a reception and dinner in the famed Rao’s Italian restaurant at Caesar’s Palace.

In her remarks to conference attendees, Director Ellen Anreder addressed developments affecting the lives and careers of all who work in the food and drug industries, including e-commerce, political changes and the looming possibility of a national “right to work” law.

“We are all leaders in what we do,” Anreder said, “from checking groceries to enforcing and negotiating contracts, from serving one’s co-workers to leading great unions.

“We are so lucky to have the opportunity to help others, to serve others, to inspire others. When we keep this in mind, we won’t get lost in the minutiae.”