Few product rollouts, but big crowds at this year’s FMI.

Note the exciting photos below!

CHICAGO — Coca-Cola treated visitors to a taste of its two new diet flavors at the Food Marketing Institute Show, which concluded Tuesday.

Coke waiters and executives alike passed out zero-calorie cups of Coke Zero and Diet Coke with Splenda, both of which are key components of the company’s push to build more share within the diet soda category.

Aside from the preview of the Coke products, there were very few major new product announcements at the event; nevertheless, more than 1,000 companies came to FMI to show off their wares. Under the roof of the McCormack center, representatives of many other beverage brands, large and small, doled out wine, tea, sodas and juices.

The show featured five different components and allowed retailers, manufacturers, distributors and members of the food and beverage press to gather and exchange ideas, contacts and piles of tasty food samples, many of which might make it to store shelves in the next year.

While a series of seminars at the gathering focused on topics ranging from ethnic marketing to the impact of the dollar store, most of the action was on the show floor. Two of the smaller shows under the roof, one for organic products and one for fancy foods, showed off the rapid growth of both sectors, while stalwarts like Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, and Campbell’s joined relative newcomers like Monster Energy and Firefighter Brands in turning the main hall into a marketing extravaganza.

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