Industry News

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the agency's second annual analysis of how changes in America's energy profile are affecting national employment in key sectors of the economy. By administering a new supplemental survey to over 30,000 energy sector employers, the Department's 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) tracked dramatic growth in several key sectors of the U.S. economy in 2016. [...]
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
ACHR News
At the 2016 Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) Annual Conference in Colorado Springs, NATE recognized nine HARDI member companies for their outstanding efforts to promote NATE technician certification in the HVACR industry. [...]
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
ACHR News
Each year BACnet International hands out annual awards honoring members whose contributions to the BACnet community set them apart. This year, as the main sponsor, BACnet International will be bestowing awards upon its members as part of the ControlTrends awards ceremony. [...]
Fri, Jan 20, 2017
ACHR News
By: Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute Food retail is sometimes referred to as a noble enterprise because it incorporates into a business  entity the delicate art of serving communities by engaging people and providing them the food that nourishes their bodies and feeds their spirits.  Today's food retail persona results from the cumulative efforts of many visionary leaders who have shaped the industry and sculpted it into the high calling that it is.   Spanning the decades, industry leaders have been operational wizards, marketing pioneers, service innovators and community cornerstones.  Leaders such as William H. Albers, the first president of the predecessor organization to FMI, the Super Market Institute, established new industry norms through his passionate support of relationships between manufacturers and retailers. Sidney Rabb, the founding force behind the establishment of the Super Market Institute, championed the consumer by positioning supermarkets as "a laboratory for consumer research,*” while Robert B. Wegman inspired retailers to combine business success with humanitarian ideals, and elevated the importance of customer service to an even higher pedestal. It has been FMI's privilege to recognize the legacy of these and other great industry leaders through the annual presentation of our seven Executive Leadership Awards,  named in honor of industry pioneers.  At FMI's 2017 Midwinter Executive Conference later this month, we will again honor noted industry leaders when we present the following awards to individuals who represent the best of our industry:: William H. Albers Award For Industry Relations, recognizing a retailer for excellence in trading partner relations and consumer and community service; Sidney R. Rabb Award For Statesmanship, acknowledging a retailer for excellence in serving the consumer, the community, and the industry and Robert B. Wegman Award For Entrepreneurial Excellence celebrating the food retailer or wholesaler responsible for creating exceptional retail innovations. The winners of these FMI's 2017 Executive Leadership Awards will be announced at the 2017 Midwinter Executive Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona on Saturday, January 28 at the session beginning at 5:45 – 6:15 pm. . *(The First Forty Years. (1977). Chicago, IL: Super Market Institute), [...]
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
FMI News
Currently, HVAC service technicians are educated and trained via in-person, instructional classrooms and work labs. Brown has invested significant resources in replicating the Chris Walters educational process for online delivery. A video production team has been working with Walters for the past four months, creating a variety of HVAC eLearning products including a full HVAC technician course that includes the simulation of the hands on experience of the lab and physical school itself. [...]
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
ACHR News
By: Daniel Triot, Senior Director, FMI-GMA Trading Partner Alliance Technology continues to evolve, and it's impacting every aspect of today's supply chain. Though it's propelling the efficiencies of supply chains forward, it's also demanding enhanced collaboration between suppliers and retailers to deliver improved business practices. As more companies evaluate supply chain initiatives to better meet the needs of consumers living in a digital world, it's imperative that trading partners come together to engage in a synergistic supply chain transformation. The 2017 Supply Chain Conference offers trading partners the opportunity to collaborate, explore and discuss key areas of the supply chain, including fresh foods, transportation, regulatory, supply chain optimization and plenty of supply chain insights.  1. Fresh Foods: Today, many fresh produce cases are labeled with barcoded case labels that adhere to standards outlined in the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI). Traceability labeling initiatives are quite costly, but it's an investment in the future of your business. See How to Implement Fresh Produce Traceability and Reduce Operating Costs with Dan Vache, Vice President, Supply Chain Management, United Fresh Produce Association and Ed Treacy, Vice President, Supply Chain Efficiencies, Produce Marketing Association. 2. Transportation: How can a transportation strategy transform a supply chain? Can the exchange of data between trading partners bring more efficient storage? Find out the answers during the Modernizing the Supply Chain Through Enhanced Visibility and Operational Efficiency session.  3. Regulatory: In 2016, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) expanded the regulation of food safety. As the regulatory environment continues to rapidly change, how does the food industry meet regulations while keeping industry costs low? Learn more about regulatory compliances in The Regulatory Environment: Making Sense of it All session.  4. Supply Chain Optimization: On-shelf availability is not a new challenge for trading partners, but it is still not meeting customer expectations. Through the year, FMI/GMA Trading Partner Alliance (TPA) has worked to bridge retailers and manufacturers in implementing end to end supply chain visibility. Learn more in the On Shelf Availability – From Insights to Action session. 5. Supply Chain Insight: Arguably, there's no greater change affecting supply chain strategy than the advancements of technology. As more shoppers use e-commerce sites and mobile apps to purchase and consume food, supply chains will need to adapt to meet shoppers' expectations. What will a digitized supply chain look like? See what the future holds in Supply Chain 4.0: Are You Ready to Digitize Your Supply Chain? The 2017 Supply Chain Conference will be April 30 – May 2, 2017, in San Diego, CA. Register by January 31, 2017, and receive $100 off your registration fees with our Early Bird Special. Go ahead - catch that worm!   [...]
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
FMI News
Multistack LLC, a privately held Sparta, Wisconsin-based manufacturer of chiller systems and heat pumps, has acquired Desert Aire Corp., a Germantown, Wisconsin-based manufacturer of commercial and industrial humidity and climate control systems. [...]
Thu, Jan 19, 2017
ACHR News
The Hill Group, a SMACNA Greater Chicago contractor, was recently named a 2016 Midwest Top 50 Specialty Contractor by the Engineering News Record (ENR) magazine's Midwest edition. The firm claimed the No. 4 ranking this year, securing a top 5 spot for at least 12 consecutive years. [...]
Wed, Jan 18, 2017
ACHR News
By: Steven Harris, Director, Policy Development and Regulatory Compliance, Food Marketing Institute The world still has two days before the new administration takes office, but the 115th Congress was sworn-in over two weeks ago. Republicans held on to majority control of both the House and Senate, and lawmakers reelected Paul Ryan (R-WI) as Speaker of the House, while Senate Democrats have a new leader in Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) following the retirement of Harry Reid. The House and Senate calendars suggest that we can expect an ambitious legislative schedule for 2017, but much remains to be seen in how the incoming administration will interact with congressional leadership. Most of the committee assignments have been announced for the new legislative session, and Senate committees of jurisdiction have already begun the process of holding nomination hearings for some of President-elect Trump's cabinet positions. With its “advice and consent” power, the Senate must approve the incoming cabinet picks with the support of a 51-vote majority. FMI is in the process of surveying its members to ensure that we are accurately representing the industry's priorities in Washington. These priorities will also help lawmakers better understand which policy decisions will have an impact on the business operations of the food retail industry, an industry that has representation in every state and congressional district across the country. Given the leadership in Washington, we can expect to see legislative action on important yet complex issues like health care and tax reform, among many others. Our portfolio of issues continues to expand, so it is important for you and your company to stay informed. FMI publishes a government relations report for its members that provides a detailed overview of the public policy developments from the past week. Please sign up for FMI's GR Report or one of our many other policy newsletters if you or a representative from your company wish to receive updates on FMI's public policy and advocacy work. FMI will continue to represent the supermarket industry in Washington as issues new and old are debated in the halls of Congress and in the regulatory agencies. We look forward to seeing many of you come visit your member of Congress to tell your stories on behalf of the industry. Please join us for Day in Washington, May 2-4, 2017 and share your voice on Capitol Hill.  Helpful Congressional Links: Congress.gov Senate Leadership House Leadership Senate Committee Assignments House Committee Assignments [...]
Wed, Jan 18, 2017
FMI News
The report highlights the remarkable accomplishments and capabilities of the National Labs, evaluates some of the improvements the DOE has made in recent years in its management and coordination with the labs, and charts a course for continued American leadership in science and technology. [...]
Wed, Jan 18, 2017
ACHR News
Do all of your service technicians provide service that is repeatable and consistent? Think about your service department for a moment. It is profitable? Staffed properly? Is it steady in workload? Are you growing? Is it a department you're proud to run? [...]
Wed, Jan 18, 2017
ACHR News
In an effort to provide customers with high-quality training and support to efficiently and effectively manage their HVAC systems, LG Electronics USA has opened a new, 4,100-square-foot HVAC training academy in Orange County, California, with interactive courses on the latest LG technologies. [...]
Wed, Jan 18, 2017
ACHR News
Nortek Global HVAC has revamped and improved its Micro-Channel coils website to include even more training and technical content. It is part of the company's ongoing mission to provide the latest online educational resources for today's busy HVAC contractor. [...]
Wed, Jan 18, 2017
ACHR News
Danfoss has launched a mobile training unit equipped with carbon dioxide (CO₂) solutions and interactive learning modules to help boost CO₂ refrigeration system competency among system builders, refrigeration contractors, service technicians, installers, and technical departments of food retailers. [...]
Tue, Jan 17, 2017
ACHR News
By: Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute  The following article appeared in the January/February 2017 Edition of Retail Leader. President-elect Donald Trump's successful campaign for the office of President was marked by its unconventional tenor and free-wheeling populist spirit that challenged the existing political protocols. As a result, his first 100 days in office will receive intense scrutiny. The more conventional minded on both sides of the aisle are wondering if he'll temper his approach as he experiences the ways holding the office differ from running for it. And the populists who elected him will be watching to see if the unconventional candidate they supported maintains the fire in his belly that captured their imaginations. President-elect Trump has not previously held a government leadership position, so we have no experiential basis from which to forecast how he will govern. Some may tease insights from his business management style, but that path is fraught with perilous speculation. I prefer to ground my observations in what we know based on clear signs revealing what his priorities likely will be. First, if we accept the notion that we are known by the company we keep, those the President-elect identifies and recruits for his leadership team offer critical insights into his thinking. We are deeply in to this team-building process and thus far President-elect Trump has not shied away from controversy, conversing with people who in some cases are irritating to his supporters and in other cases talking with potential leaders who add fuel to the fire of those who opposed him. In some cases, he has tipped his practical hat to the need to surround himself with individuals having government experience, but he has also not shied away from having high ranking cabinet positions held by those he considers not part of the "swamp." Thus far, the emerging picture framed by Trump's cabinet choices has not deviated far from the priorities he espoused during his campaign. What will be telling is his degree of success in getting the team he wants, as the slate he puts forward begins to go through the numerous confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate, followed by full Senate votes on the vetted candidates. Even with a 51-vote threshold on confirmations in a Senate controlled by 52 Republicans, these steps take some time for vetting and voting. The process will reveal much regarding how Mr. Trump's administration will approach its work with Congress. Second, based on the content of his post-election communication, we can clearly expect the Trump administration to continue with its populist messaging on nearly all policy issues. At FMI, we are refining our messages to ensure the populist goals are clear in our priority issues. The impact of our policy ideas on employment and the lives of customers must be paramount. Third, there is a certain amount of back-logged work to be done and folded into the administration's agenda. Congress concluded its 2016 session by finalizing a government funding bill, which ultimately kicked the funding can down the road for four months to [...]
Tue, Jan 17, 2017
FMI News
On Jan. 6, the HVACR Industry Alliance sent a letter to Vice President-Elect, Mike Pence, outlining the industry's priorities and offering support to the incoming Trump administration in accomplishing the goals in the letter. [...]
Tue, Jan 17, 2017
ACHR News
The annual awards competition honors the most inventive and original products, systems, and technologies showcased at each year’s AHR Expo in 10 categories. [...]
Mon, Jan 16, 2017
ACHR News
As one of the largest events in the HVACR industry, the AHR Expo will host close to 2,000 exhibitors and bring in crowds of more than 60,000 industry professionals. [...]
Mon, Jan 16, 2017
ACHR News
With 86 papers, 248 presentations, and 331 speakers, the technical program at the ASHRAE 2017 Winter Conference is bound to have something for everyone. [...]
Mon, Jan 16, 2017
ACHR News
By: Ashley Eisenbeiser, MS, CFS, Director Food and Product Safety Programs, Food Marketing Institute, Sarah Malenich, Senior Manager for Sales & Marketing, Safe Quality Food Institute For most food safety professionals, 2016 was a busy year.  More than likely, the ‘Food Safety Modernization Act or FSMA' was the most commonly discussed topic throughout the food industry-that probably won't change in 2017.  But as we start 2017, we thought we would highlight some things you can expect this year from food safety along with FMI resources that will help you throughout the year. From the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you can expect: Compliance Dates for several major FSMA Regulations. Sanitary Food Transportation of Human and Animal Food (April 2017) Foreign Supplier Verification Program (May 2017)  FMI's FSMA Resource Center provides the tools to help FMI members implement the FSMA regulations. A new edition of the FDA Food Code—In late 2017, FDA should publish the 2017 FDA Food Code.  The Food Code is a model that assists jurisdictions, at all levels of government, develop food safety rules that are consistent with national food regulatory police.  The FDA publishes a new edition of the Food Code every 4 years.  From the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), you can expect: Ground Beef Recordkeeping Outreach—FSIS will continue to conduct outreach on recordkeeping requirements related to grinding logs in order to improve compliance with the new requirements. FMI Ground Beef Recordkeeping Resource Document Listeria monocytogenes Compliance in Retail— FSIS will be determining the extent of industry's adherence to FSIS Lm compliance guidelines by verifying that retailers are following FSIS's recommended actions to control Lm contamination of RTE meat and poultry products. This includes obtaining data by surveying deli operators on whether, and to what extent, they are utilizing the Lm control at retail guidance document. FMI Listeria Action Plan for Retailers FMI Listeria Action Plan for Retail Delis For more on what to expect from FSIS, see FSIS's FY 2017 Annual Plan. From the Partnership for Food Safety Education: The 2017 Consumer Food Safety Education Conference –The Partnership for Food Safety Education will hold their Consumer Food Safety Education Conference January 25-27 in Washington D.C.  This year's conference will feature leading experts on the topic of behavior change-the heart of improving food safety practices at home and at work. Of course you can expect the Partnership to provide you a number of food safety resources to help support your food safety education efforts.  From the Safe Quality Foods Institute (SQFI), you can expect: A new SQF Code (Edition 8), including a new SQF Retail/Wholesale Grocery Code—SQFI has been working for some months on reviewing and updating Edition 8 of the SQF Code.  Edition 8, which includes draft Retail/Wholesale Grocery code as well as the draft Storage and Distribution code, is now available and open for public comment until COB February 6th EST.  Please provide any comments and suggestions that you have by using the boxes indicated on the Excel spreadsheets that are available here and [...]
Wed, Jan 11, 2017
FMI News
By: Doug Baker, Vice President Industry Relations-Private Brands, Technology, Food Marketing Institute As a group of food retailing industry executives who took advantage of an FMI-organized trip to International CES 2017 realized, there is no way around it: Consumers are quite happily and increasingly connected. Products on display at the massive annual consumer electronics event proved exactly why FMI and Nielsen have forged a strategic alliance to uncover comprehensive insights on the “Digitally Engaged Food Shopper.” Results from this multi-year initiative will focus on current and future digital shopping behaviors, incorporating perspectives from top retailers, CPG manufacturers and technology providers, along with extensive consumer research by FMI and Nielsen. Initial results from this project will debut at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference in the keynote session The Age of Connected Commerce: Digitally Engaged Shoppers.   Plenty of the new technologies and products on display at CES did their job of dazzling the industry executives. There were demonstrations of “smart” appliances in connected kitchens and drones that conjured up ideas of how retailers might deliver products to consumers in the future. However, the FMI group got a good look at some of the emerging technologies that might not be as alluring, but will guarantee that the food industry retains the increasingly connected consumer: Retailers can add new click-and-collect technologies to their growing arsenal of home delivery and direct-to-consumer models. Consumers now want – and will have – the ability to buy a product online and then, instead of waiting for it to be delivered, make a quick stop at the local brick-and-mortar store to pick it up. Third-party fulfillment technologies on display at CES introduce both opportunities and threats to the traditional food retailer. While these new fulfillment opportunities level the playing field for small and independent retailers who struggle to compete with service that help consumers replenish pantry items, it also means they offer greater competition now to traditional food retailers who also offer their own online shopping services. The Internet of Things (IoT) has advanced the ability to automate purchasing, particularly for CPG products. Consumers now can routinely order detergent or paper towels on schedules or the use of refill buttons that they don't even have to think about. Food retailers, with the help of IoT, will know when a consumer's supplies are running low and send them automatically. The food retailing executives who joined FMI at CES had a glimpse into the future with technologies like geo-location apps, order wands, re-order buttons and auto-order smart appliances, all of which are destined to change their business models for years to come. In our next blog post about the visit, we will provide you photos and descriptions of specific items on interest we found at the show. FMI members interested in learning more about the FMI trip to CES or want to join next year's trip can contact Doug Baker, FMI vice president for industry relations – private brands, technology. [...]
Tue, Jan 10, 2017
FMI News
By: Jennifer Hatcher, Chief Public Policy Officer & Senior Vice President, Government Relations Americans pay the highest card swipe fees in the world every time they use a credit or debit card. The credit and debit card companies collect nearly $79 billion each year in these fees. What's more, consumers may not even realize they are paying these hidden fees ranging from 23 cents to $4 every time they use their cards. In a society that often chooses plastic over coins and cash, this is simply outrageous, and shoppers should not be forced to pay a penalty for using their debit cards – a card that should be less expensive and faster. FMI has launched a digital campaign that shines a light on the clandestine swipe fee practices of banks and credit card companies. We need your help supporting this campaign, engaging associates and customers in telling Congress to keep successful debit reforms and competition in place. The campaign against unfair swipe fees is built around the community, Citizens Against Unfair Swipe Fees. Your voice is critical and needs to be heard! Below are eight steps of how you can be involved: Visit the website: unfairswipefees.com; Like the Facebook page; Like, comment and share Facebook content; Follow @unfairswipefees on Twitter; Use the hashtag #unfairswipefees on your social media posts; Favorite, retweet and comment on tweets; Take a stand and send a letter to your Member of Congress via the website urging them to oppose big banks taking money from your pockets and trying to reduce competition; and Help educate your customers on how these fees impact their personal finances and grocery prices. FMI wants to be an ally for you, and we will continue to fight for your businesses and customers on Capitol Hill. We have resources to help you engage your customers in the fight against unfair fees. We appreciate your support of this campaign. [...]
Tue, Jan 10, 2017
FMI News
By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh Foods, Food Marketing Institute When you're in the kitchen trying to grow your culinary skills, you want to make sure you're prepared with the right ingredients that will set you up for success. In a similar way, wholesalers and retailers spent 2016 cultivating their fresh foods community to deliver a prosperous 2017. Thanks to our members, the fresh foods community experienced tremendous growth this year; we introduced a new council, and a handful of new research and goals. FMI formed the Fresh Foods Leadership Council (FFLC) In addition to the Fresh Executive Committee (FEC), which includes 22 retailers and wholesalers, the newly formed FFLC brings together various associations, such as, International Dairy Deli Bakery Association, Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh, North America Meat Institute, Pork Board, Chicken Council, and many leading suppliers, for example, Smithfield, ReadyPac, Johnsonville, Mastronardi Produce, Trident Seafood, AquaStar. The Committee is an opportunity to create synergy between wholesalers and retailers when discussing supply chain issues that affect the greater operations of food retail. In January, the group launched a new webinar series that would provide grocers with an easy to digest outline of recent findings of  the Top Trends for Fresh. The series focused on five key trends in fresh: Top Trends in Fresh: Connected Consumer Top Trends in Fresh: Convenience Top Trends in Fresh: New Supply Chains Top Trends in Fresh: Fresh Prepared Top Trends in Fresh: Food Transparency FSMA regulations also captivated the fresh foods community in 2016, so in preparation, the FFLC received briefings on their 2017 implementation. Finally, in July the FFLC reconvened at FMI headquarters to investigate the ability to provide food retailers with a certification in Fresh Retail Training. This project is still in its preliminary status, but the opportunity exists to create training for retail employees in fresh departments with an emphasis on food safety, cold chain, and product knowledge. This is a project we're excited to work toward in 2017. The “Power of” 2016 This year, the fresh foods community and research went hand-in-hand. We released five reports that combined consumer insights with data to tell the story of how these areas of the store are changing in consumer's minds: Power of Meat Power of Fresh Prepared/Deli Power of Produce Sophistication of Supermarket Fresh Prepared Foods Trends in Mass-Market Floral in collaboration with the Produce Marketing Association Seafood remains a growing category for the grocery business Consumers and seafood are still wading murky waters when it comes to knowledge and preparation at the retail level. As part of FMI's proactive efforts to develop tools and resources for our industry, the Seafood Strategy Committee (SCC) created the 2016-2017 FMI Seafood Calendar, which aims to help retailers promote and educate consumers on the consumption of seafood through marketing and communication plans each month. A large focus of 2016 was [...]
Mon, Jan 09, 2017
FMI News
By: Doug Baker, Vice President Industry Relations-Private Brands, Technology, Food Marketing Institute The whole world is connected. And, if it isn't yet, it will be. The same goes for the food retailing industry. That is what representatives from the industry's leading companies discovered when they joined an FMI-organized Jan. 5-8 visit to International CES 2017. The giant consumer electronics show that takes over every inch of all the major venues in Las Vegas year after year is the showcase for products that the world's consumers soon will be using – but just don't know it yet. Technology executives from the food retail industry like KeHe, Wegman's, Brookshire, Big Y and Kroger spent two days touring the countless aisles and discussing the latest technologies that will soon impact the way people shop for and consume food. Products on display on the CES showfloor demonstrated that there is no way around the fact that connectivity is the future when it comes to how consumers live their lives. The FMI group of executives saw plenty of examples of this with items linked to the Internet of Things, vehicle-to-vehicle communications and voice-activated communications—think Amazon Echo (aka Alexa) and Google Home. The FMI group experienced everything from a way to wirelessly recharge the battery on an electric car to a “Sleep Tech” pavilion with products that will help people – and not just scientists either – monitor their own sleep patterns with sensors embedded in their mattresses. Most importantly, however, the group focused on the new technologies destined to have an impact on food retailing. They saw and tried out “smart” appliances in connected kitchens exhibited by companies not typically associated with the industry like Hyundai, Carrier and Bosch. Nearly 40 companies had products in a drone marketplace, highlighting all the ways companies soon will be able to use drones – including the delivery of food products directly to consumers. After their visit to the showfloor, the food retailing executives talked about what they saw in a stimulating discussion led by Thom Blishock, chairman and CEO of the Dialogic Group and a futurist who focuses on the retail and CPG industry. The CIOs and CMOs involved with the trip to International CES left with a better understanding of three important issues: Which technologies they and their companies might be able to implement today; Which technology they could expect to be the biggest industry disruptor in the future; and Which technologies create the most serious competitive threat to their current business models. FMI members interested in learning more about the FMI trip to International CES or want to join next year's trip can contact Doug Baker. [...]
Fri, Jan 06, 2017
FMI News
By: David Fikes, Vice President, Consumer/Communication Affairs and Communication and Heather Garlich, Senior Director, Media and Public Relations Each of us maintains our own unique pantheon of trusted sources we reference when we want to know what's hot, what's not, what's in and what's on its way out. In the food retail world, that list is incomplete if it doesn't include the name of a supermarket communications officer or consumer affairs professional. This group of dedicated professionals may not have the resources of a fashion critic, the audience of a television celebrity or the twitter-following of a media diva, but they can still provide the most accurate assessment of what is going on in the aisles of today's grocery store. They keep their finger on the shopper's pulse and can tell you the questions customers are asking, the concerns they have, and their thoughts about the store they're in, the products they're buying and the service they are receiving. They know what's trending without having to reference social media hits. Consequently, a compilation of the monthly agendas for the 2016 resource calls of FMI's Communications and Consumer Affairs Council (CCA) reads like the chapter headings of Everything You Wanted to Know about Food Retail in 2016, But Were Afraid to Ask. Popular topics discussed by the CCA this year included: GMO labeling and legislation, cage-free eggs, FMI's new Grocery Revolution, menu labeling, food fraud, SNAP and WIC, and Tariff Act, product date labeling updates, Environmental Defense Fund's carcinogenic flavor petitions before FDA, Superbugs, Organic Eggs, Chickens and Antibiotics, BPA (again), Seafood Calendar, Maine SNAP debate, Ad Council: Save the Food campaign webinar, SNAP online pilots, D-SNAP, Economic Trends, Deflation, Modified Atmosphere Packaging, FoodKeeper updates and National Family Meals Month. FMI Communication Channels Tracking the most popular 2016 blog topics opened by FMI members this year, the titles echo the concerns listed above and reinforce that the CCA has an accurate read on food retail reality. Out of the more than 200 blog posts published this year, the top topics of interest were federal GMO labelling legislation and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) implementation. Our blogs form the basis of our member digital communications channels – feeding content to the FMI News App, the monthly member-only newsletter and ww.FMI.org. In addition to all these communication methods focused on keeping FMI members connected with the news, FMI also scored some significant success in 2016 in keeping the news connected with FMI members. Sharing the food retail industry's story in such publications as Wall Street Journal, New York Times and National Geographic, FMI ensured that the Voice of Food Retail had a global reach. Grocers Doing Good As a means of highlighting the oft-unheralded good grocery stores perform in their communities, FMI again hosted the Community Outreach Awards. We congratulate our 2016 award recipients: Northgate Gonzalez Market - Youth Development category, Family Fare, a Spartan Nash company - Programs Addressing Food Insecurity category, Food Lion, Neighborhood Health Improvement [...]
Fri, Jan 06, 2017
FMI News
By: Mark Baum, Chief Collaboration Officer, Food Marketing Institute Total Store Collaboration is a core strategic pillar of FMI and is our wrap-around means of describing our approach to fostering partnerships between retailers, manufacturers, and distributors in the food industry. While retailer/supplier collaboration is an oft-discussed topic and wished for industry aspiration, FMI is in a unique position to facilitate the conversations needed for true cooperative effort to move from dream to reality. In the past year, we've built significantly on the initiative (started in early 2014) by expanding our collaborative communities and focusing on high priority industry issues. A rising tide The Total Store Collaboration initiative is spearheaded by the Industry Collaboration Council (ICC), a parity-based body whose governance model reflects the spirit of shared interest that the initiative seeks to inspire throughout the industry. Through the ICC, FMI develops insights to better understand four focus areas: Share of Stomach, Share of Wallet, Share of Talent and Share of Capital in the food industry. We are convinced that these four uniting forces mark the turf the industry must occupy to seize growth opportunities and better serve consumer needs. Going on offense The Senior Merchandising Executive Forum is a successful peer-to-peer network of chief merchants from retailers and wholesalers, and now boasts 67 members. This year, FMI delivered three high-impact content features with the theme of “Going on Offense,” underscoring the reality of today's world that retailers must actively experiment and innovate to succeed in the future: In April, FMI hosted a virtual roundtable on how to build your own click and collect offering; At FMI Connect in June, an in-person meeting featured a transformational approach to assortment by extracting customer behavior insights from transaction data; and In September, another roundtable highlighted key components of a mobile experience – including payments, loyalty programs, and mobile apps. Making modifications to the successful Senior Merchandising Forum model of offering content, FMI branched out to reach another audience by socializing the Senior Operations Executive Forum.  As its title implies, this forum provided content features and discussion platforms expressly contoured for food retail operators. Top of mind FMI continues to prioritize “hot-button” focus areas for future support of industry initiatives. Throughout the year, we've been developing ways to elevate and connect innovative new suppliers with retailers, and building capability assessments (e.g., cyber risk mitigation, food safety readiness) as a valuable service to members. Specifically through the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA), a joint leadership group between FMI and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the grocery supply chain addresses priority and emerging operational issues. These include SmartLabel, On Shelf Availability, Hazardous Waste, and Product Code Dating, and the ongoing adoption of Rapid Recall Express, Facts up Front, and participation in the GS1 US Data Quality program. It has been a busy and productive year, and we look forward to showcasing the culmination of further development and research at Midwinter 2017!  [...]
Thu, Jan 05, 2017
FMI News
By: Sue Borra, RD, Chief Health and Wellness Officer for FMI and Executive Director of the FMI Foundation Consumers believe their food retailer is a trusted ally to help them achieve their health and wellness goals. According to 2016 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends research, 45 percent of shoppers say their grocery store is working to help them stay healthy. In addition 89 percent of shoppers believe eating at home is healthier than eating at a restaurant. For these reasons, almost three-quarters of retailers say that consumer wellness and family health is a strategy they use to build a competitive advantage and most say they will use more nutrition, health and retail dietitian programs in the future. (Speaks, 2016) To proactively assist retailers in serving the health and wellness needs of their customers, FMI's Health and Wellness Council developed a new strategic plan in 2016. The new mission and vision for FMI's Center for Food Retail Health and Wellness is that “food retailers will be a key partner in health and wellness in the communities they serve.” To assist retailers in achieving this mission, FMI will track trends and issues; serve as a resource on best practices; communicate food retail's commitment to health and wellness; assist retailers and suppliers to network and collaborate on health and wellness for consumers and employees; and identify tools and benchmarks to evaluate progress of health and wellness in food retail. In January 2016, FMI partnered with Deloitte and GMA to publish the study, “Capitalizing on the Shifting Consumer Food Value Equation”. This consumer research found that roughly half of Americans surveyed (51 percent) prioritize “evolving drivers”—including health and wellness—in their purchase decisions, in addition to the “traditional drivers” of taste, price and convenience. FMI has identified consumer health and wellness trends and emerging issues that are important to food retail and is providing resources on these issues to members. Food labeling issues, including menu labeling, GMO and nutrition facts panel, along with transparency are high priorities to meet the needs of customers. FMI has partnered with Rodale, Inc. for more than 20 years to study shoppers' awareness, interest and attitudes regarding food, health and nutrition. The 2016 research, Shopping for Health, presents a practical understanding of how health and nutrition concerns influence grocery purchases. The study revealed that two-in-three shoppers believe that food choices affect their health, but half say they struggle to find the motivation to eat healthfully. This means that food retailers have the opportunity to help their customers find and distinguish dietary choices and share convenient, healthy meal ideas that help feed families. Promoting best practices and case studies serve as excellent models for food retail health and wellness programs. Many retailers have adopted National Family Meals Month™ in September as a key program to deliver health and wellness to customers. To assist in this effort, FMI is developing a guide of best practices in National Family Meals Month™ programs as a first in a series of health and wellness best practices guides. Building on the current [...]
Wed, Jan 04, 2017
FMI News
By: Sue Borra, Chief Health and Wellness Officer for FMI and Executive Director of the FMI Foundation In 2016, the FMI Foundation made huge strides to help Americans eat one more family meal at home each week. September, National Family Meals Month™ transitioned from a social media campaign to a living, breathing campaign alive in stores, on TV, on the radio, and in print and digital advertising. Some of the top examples are: National Family Meals Month™ featured on billboard in New York City Times Square National Family Meals Month™ PSA featured on Litton's Weekend Adventure on ABC Television Retail Dietitians were featured in TV news segments—here is an example from Kroger's Little Clinic Fifty-six retailers, 15 suppliers and 36 allied organizations promoted family meals in September. Each group personalized their extraordinary efforts in unique ways including meal kits, in-store cooking classes, photo contests, community partnerships and more. The best National Family Meal Month™ campaigns will be recognized with Gold Plate Awards in January. To inspire creativity for additional 2017 National Family Meals Month™ activities, the FMI Foundation has produced retailer and supplier toolkits that are full of ideas to implement next year. In addition to adding more pizazz to National Family Meals Month™, the FMI Foundation has completely redesigned the annual fundraising activity to highlight family meals. The brand new event called Stir It Up! is an exciting, friendly, and fun cooking challenge that will provide retail and supplier sponsors the opportunity to showcase their culinary artistry and win awards honoring Family Meals – Healthiest, Easiest, Tastiest, Most Affordable, and Best Culinary Adventure. We know food retail executives can take the heat in the boardroom, but can they cut it in the kitchen? Find out in January! In 2016, the funds raised by the Foundation were used to award ten Food Safety Auditor Scholarships to encourage students pursuing careers in food safety. Additionally, grants were provided to important food safety programs such as Partnership for Food Safety Education program and conference, the International Food Protection Institute's Applied Science, Law and Policy Fellowship, Institute for Food Technologists Global Food Traceability Center and the Center for Produce Safety. These programs all reinforce the mission of the FMI Foundation to focus on research and education to address food safety, health and nutrition concerns. [...]
Wed, Jan 04, 2017
FMI News
By: Doug Baker, Vice President Industry Relations-Private Brands, Technology, Food Marketing Institute This year taught us to be true to our brands. In 2016 the food retail industry faced significant challenges and private brands were arguably at the center of every one of the year's most significant and historical events. Private brands were engaged in the GMO legislation battles in Vermont and the massive efforts on the federal level. Private brands were front and center when it came to updating FDA Nutrition Labeling and Education Act regulations and were at the epicenter of the ground-shaking effects of implementing Food Safety Modernization Act rules, with its systemic overhaul. Through it all, private brand owners navigated government disruptors in addition to managing deflationary pressures; aggressive competitors; grocery shoppers' increased affinity for prepared foods from non-traditional channels; and stagnate shopper traffic. While other factors sought to alter the direction, these food industry brand architects actively engaged in shaping their own destination. In particular, the FMI Private Brand Leadership Council helped navigate blue prints and offered guidance to FMI by providing quantifiable data related to the hard and soft costs associated with state and federal legislation and regulation. Additionally, we had a number of stakeholders participate in meetings on Capitol Hill in order to clearly articulate the business argument directly to the people who could positively impact the outcome. This year saw brand owners work to hone the story of their brands. To better understand the private brand audience, FMI invested in new research launching in 2017 that attempts to offer consumer, business, industry and global perspectives regarding the power behind preserving and building consumer awareness of grocery private brands. The final research product will be shared with the FMI board of directors at the Midwinter Executive Conference and to our broader membership via trade media, webinars, and blogs to offer additional context. Any brand manager will tell you that it's important to set clear goals and take calculated risks in order to be successful, and so FMI serves as an educational platform to support private brand managers' confidence in the decisions they must make. We hosted our 2nd Annual Private Brand D.C. Summit in October to discuss policy and trade issues that have direct implications for private brand managers. We also explored consumer insights by looking specifically at the millennial shopper and how private brand owners can best leverage their knowledge of this new generation's attitudes and acceptance of private brands. It's evident from FMI member surveys that the investment in private brands will continue to grow, and as brand owners, we have the opportunity to serve as writers, narrators and moderators to the storyline of our industry's future. Further advising the council's projects over the next two years will be Linda Severin, vice president of marketing, for Topco as its member council co-chair. As we welcome Linda, we offer our gratitude to Western Family Foods' Bob Cutler for his leadership over the last two years and we look forward to building on his [...]
Tue, Jan 03, 2017
FMI News
New issue includes a focus on supermarket maintenance [...]
Mon, Jan 02, 2017
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning