The Food Marketing Institute’s “Future Connect” conference, May 4-6, in Dallas will have several topics of interest to refrigerated and frozen food product developers.

One key presentation involves Thom Blischok, president of consulting and innovation at Information Resources Inc., Chicago. Blischok will share recommendations for retailers, wholesalers and suppliers to help build shopper loyalty, protect and potentially increase market share and safeguard revenue and income streams.

“We’ve identified major changes in shopper rituals that will impact manufacturing and retailing strategies during the current recession and in the future,” he says. “Shoppers are now overwhelmingly more focused and organized when planning their shopping trips. IRI research suggests that shoppers are altering their diets at home as an additional strategy to save money.”

Blischok says this “downturn diet” results in both positive and negative behaviors. For example, research found that people are buying healthier snacks and staying away from less healthy foods. Consumers also are reducing costs by cutting out supplements, stating that they can’t afford organic food and staying away from luxury items.

In another session, co-presenters Tim McGuire and Kevin Sneader will present “The Future of Food,” McKinsey & Co.’s research into industry efficiency and changing consumer demands. The session promises to examine how trading partners will source and deliver the foods of the future.