Industry News

The Chicago barbecue sandwich shop has closed all of its locations [...]
Tue, Nov 19, 2019
Supermarket News
Retailer partners with Infarm on vertical farming solution [...]
Tue, Nov 19, 2019
Supermarket News
National Grocers Association appoints KeHE, SpartanNash executives as board members [...]
Tue, Nov 19, 2019
Supermarket News
Former Microsoft and Amazon.com exec Chris Rupp joins retailer [...]
Tue, Nov 19, 2019
Supermarket News
The Idea Supermarket at the 2019 PLMA Trade Show in Chicago clearly showed that retailers are upping their game in private brands in terms of quality, selection and package design. Displaying the latest store brands now on the market or soon to be ro [...]
Tue, Nov 19, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Marjorie DePuy, Senior Director, Supply Chain and Sustainability, FMI We've written before about the headaches long dwell times can cause for both food retailers and suppliers. Long dwell times can strain carrier relationships, increase costs and hurt production. It's a problem both food retailers and suppliers can agree needs to be addressed. That's why the Trading Partner Alliance (TPA), including both FMI and GMA, conducted a pilot project to examine the issues the impact dwell time. Reducing System Dwell Time Through Collaboration outlines the process of this pilot project, what we discovered and solutions. The Dwell Time Pilot Project For three months, we took a deep dive into the operations at four facilities: Coca-Cola, Auburndale, FL. Land O'Lakes, US Cold, Quakertown, PA. Giant Eagle, Crafton, PA. Wegmans, Rochester, NY. For each facility, we tracked key metrics in a ‘Dwell Scorecard' developed by our project partner, FourKites. Each week of the study, key attributes such as load number, live/drop, product type, and timestamps for key events were evaluated. The ‘Dwell Scorecard' provided an accurate snapshot of what was happening on the ground. A group of supply chain managers and directors from each participating company took part in weekly calls along with their carrier partners. These calls involved looking at the scorecard data and brainstorming opportunities to reduce dwell time. Three Key Dwell Time Factors Each facility had their own unique factors impacting dwell time and each facility utilized different solution options. However, there were some prominent dwell factors we observed, including: Imbalance in load volume by time of day and day of week. Arrival delays/on-time performance. Inefficient on-site processes such as check-in, dock assignments etc. For each of these factors, we outline different solutions tested in the full report. Solutions to Reducing Dwell Time The major take-a-way from our pilot project is the power of data collaboration. Implementing robust, real-time reporting tools and combining that with collaboration throughout the supply chain can result in a reduction of dwell times that translates to a two to four percent increase in transportation capacity. Download Reducing System Dwell Time Through Collaboration [...]
Tue, Nov 19, 2019
FMI News
New products and ingredients bring new challenges, Scott Gottlieb says at PLMA show [...]
Mon, Nov 18, 2019
Supermarket News
Shoppers can try free same-day delivery now through Nov. 26 [...]
Mon, Nov 18, 2019
Supermarket News
At PLMA, former Amazon exec says retailers need to ready last-mile solutions [...]
Mon, Nov 18, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Allison Febrey, Specialist, FMI Foundation Growing up, the hottest food on the playground was fruit snacks. If you had one of those strawberry gummy snacks, everyone wanted to be your friend. By middle school the food fad was chewing gum. In high school and college, coffee became the vice of choice. For the grocery industry, trends aren't always as easy to identify. Some, like the Keto diet, can create confusion for the consumer. On the other hand, a hot item like plant-based proteins can spark consumer demand. No matter the food trend consumers desire, food retailers responding to The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2019 report see consumers' focus on health and well-being as having a positive impact on their business strategy. For the second year in a row, food retailers identified the top two issues positively impacting sales/profits as the health and wellness proposition (82%) and the food as medicine trend (76%). Over the next two years, survey respondents plan to increase their investment in: Consumer health and well-being programs (45%). Cooking schools/classes (40%). Nutrition programs (37%). Pharmacy (19%). Retail dietitian (19%). The Health and Wellness Concept While food retailers are seeing benefits from health and wellness programs, the concept of health and wellness tends to look different to everyone. According to U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends research, consumers define eating well as anything from “I ate nutritious foods” to “I ate within my budget” to “I ate foods that are produced in an environmentally sustainable way.” While grocery stores can agree that health and wellness is positively affecting sales, how can they meet the various needs of consumers? Grocery stores take various approaches towards personalizing health and wellness. Here are two examples:   Education One approach is to educate consumers surrounding disease. Albertsons Companies, a Community Outreach Award winner, has hosted store tours focused on diabetes information. These tours review key information that inspire people to make healthful food choices and achieve better blood sugars. Customers also have the ongoing support of their local pharmacy team. Adding Some Fun Another way grocery stores have personalized health and wellness is by introducing some fun surrounding mealtime. Sharing family meals has all sorts of health benefits. Festival Foods, a Gold Pate Award Winner, introduced a quiz to determine a shopper's style of dinner. People could be Adventurous, Family Focused, Timesaver and Bargain Hunter. Then, based on a customer's meal style, Festival Foods' Mealtime Mentors recommended recipes. How Your Store Can Emphasize Health and Well-Being Every department of the grocery store represents an opportunity to showcase health and well-being. FMI has many resources for boosting health and wellness within your store, including: Best Practices and Excellence in Fresh Department Health and Wellness Programming. Delivering Health and Wellness with Private Brands. Best Practices for Family Meals. For more resources visit our health and wellness webpage. Download The Food Retailing Industry Speaks [...]
Mon, Nov 18, 2019
FMI News
In other popular content found on supermarketnews.com: Albertsons has new plans for Plated; Storefronts next for AmazonFresh?; and H-E-B debuts in-store beauty boutique. [...]
Mon, Nov 18, 2019
Supermarket News
This week, H-E-B opened its second location in Kingwood, Texas. The regional grocer said the 102,000-square-foot store brings residents in this northeastern Houston community “a world-class, spacious shopping destination” that delivers “unsurpassed f [...]
Fri, Nov 15, 2019
Supermarket News
New hire joins food retail sector after decades in luxury brands arena [...]
Fri, Nov 15, 2019
Supermarket News
Growth of private label products and rewards program continues to pay off [...]
Fri, Nov 15, 2019
Supermarket News
Veteran retail exec joins club chain after overseeing Neighborhood Markets [...]
Fri, Nov 15, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations - Private Brands, Technology, FMI Momentum for private brands continues to build, according to the latest FMI report based on IRI data. The 2019 edition of FMI's Power of Private Brands: From the Consumer finds that food retail private brands are advancing in several ways: They are driving higher purchase levels from consumers across multiple generations. They are doing the same across a bigger variety of income groups. They are increasingly known for their ability to draw shoppers to stores. Three-Year Trends Highly Positive This year's report marks the third year of FMI consumer research based on a national shopper survey from IRI. The trend lines have become clearer. Consumers are becoming heavier purchasers of private brands, as these items represent a greater share of shoppers' baskets. In particular, more shoppers are moving beyond “light” buying patterns, defined as representing less than 26% of a shopping basket. The momentum is playing out across generations. While millennials have shown the most engagement until now, older generations are starting to catch up by stepping up private brand purchases. Gen X consumers reduced their light buying by eight points since 2016, and Boomers did so by five points. No less important is how private brands are impacting different income groups. The longtime stereotype is that lower income shoppers are the biggest proponents of private brands. However, in the past three years, middle- and higher-income shoppers have stepped up buying the most. Their buying patterns have been moving from light to heavier. Private Brands Accelerate ‘Destination Impact' Retailer brands are showing off their magnet-like abilities to draw consumers to stores. This stems from the success of private brands in meeting a wide variety of consumer needs, from value to lifestyle. Forty six percent of consumer respondents said private brands are highly influential in their choice of store, up significantly from 35% three years ago. The results vary somewhat according to retail channel, which shows that consumer expectations differ by type of store. Meanwhile, 54% of millennials emphasize a big store destination impact of private brands. This represents a huge positive as retailers are successfully courting younger shoppers. Price and Value Grow in Importance Even as retailers leverage private brands for lifestyle strategies, ranging from organic to specialty, price and value are still crucial. In fact, the 2019 research shows these aspects are even more important to shoppers.  This finding likely reflects the increased ability of consumers to compare items across a wide range of stores and retail channels. Consumers want high quality and innovative private brand items, but they also want it on their terms, with the best possible prices and value.  Next Steps — From Packaging to Marketing This year's report offers guidance to retailers. It includes the imperative of keeping up with the shifting needs of younger shoppers, and the importance of continuing to boost price perception. There's also a recommendation to make sure that packaging communicates quality, given that a minority of respondents, 18%, [...]
Fri, Nov 15, 2019
FMI News
Sean Mahony, Matt Reeve appointed senior VPs [...]
Thu, Nov 14, 2019
Supermarket News
Grocery pickup and delivery remain U.S. sales catalyst, execs say [...]
Thu, Nov 14, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations - Private Brands, Technology, FMI Succeeding in private brands requires great products, but that's not all. Increasingly it's also about pursuing key strategies to accelerate the business. A number of strategies were discussed at the recent FMI Private Brands DC Summit, including: Powerful branding. Solid engagement with consumers. Strong relationships with suppliers. It's important to further understand these strategies and how they are playing out today in private brands. The Summit attracted a wide range of private brand retailers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Powerful Branding The importance of branding was underscored during an interactive segment of the Summit. I asked audience members to call out what they consider key attributes of a brand. We recorded the numerous responses on large sheets of paper, and hung these on a wall. Here are attributes the audience used to describe brands: trust; purpose; integrity; emotional connection; safety; loyalty; promise; control; ownership; intrinsic value; consistency; transparent; strategic; and differentiated. Why was it important to conduct this exercise? In the 2019 FMI The Power of Private Brands: From the Industry report, retailers overwhelmingly used the word “brand” over “label” in describing how they view this business. All of this indicates “label” is more tactical, while “brand” is more strategic. Solid Engagement with Consumers The Summit also spotlighted a number of ways for private brand retailers to solidify relationships with consumers. One of these is by promoting the FMI Foundation's National Family Meals Month™ campaign. John Evans, director of private brands for Weis Markets, described how his company made private brands a centerpiece of its 2019 efforts around this campaign. Initiatives included running ads in the retailer's circular and HealthyBites magazine, showcasing meal solutions, making coupons available, conducting in-store events with dietitians, and leveraging social media, podcasts, and media appearances. Another Summit presentation relayed how private brands are increasingly driving consumer decisions on which stores to shop. Mark McKeown, client insights principal for IRI, outlined findings from FMI's latest The Power of Private Brands: From the Consumer research. Citing IRI data, he noted that 46% of consumers say private brands are very or extremely influential in their choice of food retailer, up significantly from 35% in 2016. Moreover, millennials are especially on board with this point – 54% point to a strong connection between private brands and store choice. “If you're a retailer, that's really good,” said McKeown. “Your younger shoppers are saying that your brands are more important. So I would double down on that. What do you need to do with your brands to continue to have them be a critical part of why these consumers shop with you?” Strong Relationships with Suppliers The Summit underscored the importance of retailer engagement with private brand suppliers. A new research report on this topic was unveiled by David Taylor, client success director for Solutions for Retail Brands (S4RB). “Private brands by its very DNA is a collaborative endeavor between manufacturers and retailers,” said Taylor. “Collaboration can become your competitive advantage. Successful supplier engagement means successful private [...]
Thu, Nov 14, 2019
FMI News
By: Hannah Walker, Vice President of Political Affairs, FMI  While we are optimistic that the government will stay open past November 21, we encourage members to be prepared in case of a federal shutdown. Any food retail operation that may need to renew or apply for a new Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) license in the coming months should do so immediately.  What's Currently Happening?  Last month, Congress passed a “stop-gap” funding bill to keep the government open through November 21. This was necessary as they had yet to complete work on any of the FY2020 funding bills, including the Agriculture Appropriations bill that funds SNAP. The Senate recently passed a package of FY2020 funding bills that includes Agriculture Appropriations, with the House passing their version earlier this year. The conferees will now work on incorporating the two bills into one final package that can pass both chambers.   While we hope Congress completes this work before the November 21 deadline, we also know it just may not be realistic. In that case, Congress will need to pass another funding bill to keep the government open or ultimately fall into a shutdown.  If A Shutdown Situation Occurs All of that being said, if we are in a shutdown situation, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will not be able to process any SNAP license applications, whether you are applying for a new one, or renewing. If you have any licenses that need renewing or issued before the end of the year, you may want to go ahead and get it done before November 21. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) are ready to accept your applications. Additionally, FMI has spoken with FNS regarding issuance of SNAP benefits in the event of a shutdown. SNAP benefits are funded for the month of December, so we can expect normal distribution next month. They are currently looking at if and how they can issue January benefits if a shutdown goes into 2020.   While we certainly hope and expect Congress to keep the government open, political tensions are on the forefront, and we must be prepared for a shutdown situation.  Please contact Hannah Walker with any questions or comments. [...]
Wed, Nov 13, 2019
FMI News
By: Kelli Windsor, Director, Digital Communications, FMI I recently read a New York Times article about Sonoma County citizens who were forced to evacuate because of fire and took up residence in a local Walmart parking lot. Many had stayed there before when evacuating from other fires and finding hotels and shelters full. Walmart supported these fire evacuees by providing portable toilets and washing stations. But more than that, the store was a safe place for people to be and provided access to basic needs. Through FMI's Community Outreach Awards program, I often hear about the good grocers do across the country. Nominations outline programs that help feed those in need, support the growth of local youth and strengthen neighborhoods. It's the stories that all food retail members can tell, but don't often get heard. According to The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2019 report, 93% of grocers who responded to the survey use community support and ties as a service differentiation strategy and 73% see it as successful—the highest of any strategy. These stats make me think that while, yes, community support might be a strategy for a grocery store to set themselves apart, perhaps since so many are using this strategy and seeing success, community support is really just a part of the core nature of grocers. Here's another Speaks stat that makes me think community support is ingrained in grocers—45% of survey respondents plan to increase community donations or outreach programs over the next two years. Grocers are doubling down on investing in their communities and programs that are proven to support them. In an era of digital mayhem, grocery stores are finding a benefit in going back to their roots and supporting the communities they serve. One of those Sonoma County fire evacuees said, “Walmart feels like home.” When the world spun out of control, these customers trusted their grocery store as a community cornerstone. I think that's what most food retailers are—a trusted member of the community. Download The Food Retailing Industry Speaks [...]
Tue, Nov 12, 2019
FMI News
By: Andy Harig, Vice President, Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development, FMI Solving the food waste problem takes collaboration throughout the supply chain and recently leaders from the leading food industry associations shared their commitment to this cause: “The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) was founded with the conviction that the entire supply chain has a role to play in reducing food waste; food retailers are committed to fulfilling their responsibility in addressing this issue of such tremendous impact for the communities we serve.” – Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO, FMI “Food waste remains the single largest category of material in U.S. landfills. By collaborating with FMI, NRA and these federal agencies, the CPG industry can better share best practices to reducing waste and find innovative, scalable solutions to keep valuable material like food and packaging out of landfills.” – Geoff Freeman, President and CEO, GMA “The restaurant industry is one of opportunity, and reducing food waste provides our members with more opportunities to serve our communities and our customers.” – Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association These founding members of FWRA signed an important memorandum of understanding with three key government agencies – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agreement means the industry and federal government will be working hand in hand to implement food waste reduction efforts across the supply chain. Here's a breakdown of what's including in this MOU: Collaboration and Education The FWRA and federal agencies will collaborate on a national effort to: Educate and engage industry members to reduce food waste, including strategies to prevent, recover and recycle excess food. Inform stakeholders of food waste reduction recognition programs currently available at each respective federal agency. Share best practices on successful, creative and innovative solutions to reduce wasted food across industry sectors. Increase industry awareness of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act in an effort to encourage safe and effective food donation and recovery. Identify Infrastructure Gaps Under the MOU, FWRA and federal agencies will collaborate to better understand infrastructure gaps and other constraints to food donation, scrap recycling and adoption of innovative technology in order to identify potential areas for improvement. Regular Meetings Through standing internal update calls, FWRA and federal agencies will discuss ongoing education and advocacy efforts related to food waste reduction in food supply chains. An Open Invitation Beyond the new MOU, FMI recently participated in a congressional staff briefing on business efforts to combat food waste hosted by the Congressional Food Recovery Caucus. More than 40 Capitol Hill staffers were in attendance to hear representatives of FWRA describe supply chain efforts to increase food donations, find alternative outlets for unused food, and reduce the amount of product sent to landfill. The event highlighted the industry's extensive donation programs, the GMA-FMI voluntary date labeling effort and was an opportunity to showcase the work of food retailers on this issue. If your company is working to reduce food waste, [...]
Fri, Nov 08, 2019
FMI News
By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations - Private Brands, Technology, FMI My daughter showed me this great recipe on Instagram from our local grocery store the other day. It looked interesting and I instantly wanted to give it a try. In a perfect world, I would have been able to put all the ingredients I needed directly into my shopping cart right from the Instagram post for Sunday dinner. But that would be a perfect world. Instead, I had to write down the ingredients I needed and then add them to my online order for pickup later that day. This is an example of a missed opportunity. I was intrigued by content, in this case a recipe, but when it came down to it, shopping that content wasn't seamless. But, maybe someday it could be. FMI has partnered with FitForCommerce, a boutique consultancy firm specializing in ecommerce and omnichannel retail, on the 2019 Grocery Omnichannel Index. After mystery-shopping 26 U.S. food retailer's online grocery shopping experiences and evaluating them based on a list of 175+ online, mobile and in-store criteria, we've developed this benchmarking index designed to help food retailers meet expectations for seamless and convenient online grocery shopping experiences. Specifically, the index pinpoints six critical indicators contributing to the customer omnichannel shopping experience including: Convenience. Data practices. Personalization. Content and digital tools. Mobile experience. Pick up experience. The Checklist Included in the report is The Omnichannel Shopping List, which has several key elements food retailers should consider when developing or fine-tuning their online grocery offering. This checklist for food retailers should be customized by each company and aims to help ensure seamless online grocery shopping experiences. The list includes: Design experiences around customer journey. Ace the basic digital best practice functionality. Personalize across all touchpoints. Deliver relevant content and make it shoppable. Integrate digital shopping tools across channels. Bridge loyalty and transactional apps. Leverage threshold messaging at multiple stages. Elevate customer service. Double down on convenience. Optimize in-store signage. Differentiate through experiences. Aha Moment One of the light-bulb moments we had developing this report was around shoppable content. Food retailers are content kings—producing recipes, product reviews, family meal plans, dietitian advice and more. Consumers find this content highly valuable, but how often do grocers make it easy for shoppers to shop this content? Only 50% of the grocers included in our mystery shopping have taken steps to make content shoppable, and only 38% digitize printed fliers and make them shoppable. Clearly there is an opportunity to improve in this area and in other areas to make online grocery shopping truly seamless. Join us Wednesday, November 13 for an online learning experience on New Benchmarking Insights on the Omnichannel Roadmap to Success.  Download 2019 Grocery Omnichannel [...]
Thu, Nov 07, 2019
FMI News
By: Sue Wilkinson, Senior Director, Information Service & Research, FMIThis year marks the 70th anniversary of The Food Retailing Industry Speaks report. Throughout the decades, this research has documented important benchmarks and facts and figures of food retailers and wholesalers. The report's value can be measured by the countless ways in which the data have been used: By members desiring to make informed business decisions.By FMI in regulatory comments and testimony on the Hill.In trade and business news stories. By students from grammar school to postdoctoral programs. And the list goes on. It's because of the vision of leaders of the Super Market Institute (one of FMI's predecessor associations) that we have this report today. Here's the backstory.Since 1944, Super Market Institute (SMI) tried to develop a comprehensive research program to study the operations of a then nascent grocery industry. After some disappointing attempts, in January 1949, under the leadership of its president, Sidney Rabb (also Chairman of Stop & Shop), SMI utilized the Marketing and Research Department of Stop & Shop as the research department for the Institute. It was headed up by William Applebaum and Curt Kornblau, two familiar names to some readers.In that same year, Kornblau was released to the Institute by Rabb and together with Applebaum, they brought out the first edition of The Super Market Industry Speaks. Kornblau would serve FMI as senior vice president until his retirement in 1994. Applebaum, after working in management for Stop & Shop until 1953, became an industry consultant, and throughout his career authored many books and articles about the industry.If there is any doubt about the importance of the first edition of Speaks, let me share this tribute to William Applebaum found this past summer in the FMI archives. It reads:ToWilliam ApplebaumA seeker after truthto serve his fellow manIn appreciation for the comprehensive study“The Super Market Industry Speaks”a research projectthat will long endureas a living testimonialto his vision, his knowledge,and his intellectual integrity.He has earned the respect, the affection,and the gratitude of the industrywhich he has served with such selfless devotion--and whose cause he has done so much to advance.A Resolution “In Appreciation” by the Officersand Directors of Super Market InstituteMay 8, 1949The leadership of SMI would be pleased to know just how much this research has long endured thanks to the many companies that contribute invaluable data every year. Now that you know the story of how Speaks came to be, I urge you to download the 2019 report and see how the grocery industry is performing today.Download the Food Retailing Industry Speaks [...]
Wed, Nov 06, 2019
FMI News
By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations - Private Brands, Technology, FMI If you want to measure performance in food retail, you look at the sales data. When it comes down to it, the scan of that product at the register is the ultimate gut check on how your strategy is performing. That's why, for the third year, we've teamed up with IRI to look at the register data for private brands and truly determine the power of the category. The 2019 Power of Private Brands: From the Register report finds private brands continue to lead momentum for food retailers across channels. The solid growth of private brands reflects the success of retailers treating private brands as brands, rather than just following the lead of national brand trends. Here are some key multi-year trends we found in the report: Results Reflect Turnaround for Private Brands Private brands led manufacturer brands in dollar sales growth across multiple retail outlets for the second consecutive year, up 5.4%. Private brands posted U.S. sales of $153 billion in calendar year 2018 across multiple retail outlets and convenience, according to IRI, which spearheads the data analysis for the FMI Private Brands Leadership Council. The private brands dollar figure represents edible and non-edible segments. Positive momentum is reflected across many private brand categories, geographic regions, consumer generations and income levels. Momentum for private brands is being driven by a range of factors, including increased shopper trips, higher dollars per trip, increased velocity, shoppers adding more items to carts, and expanded distribution. Impact of Ecommerce on Private Brands While it's still early days for ecommerce, it's already possible to recognize opportunities for private brands, based on data that includes a wide range of categories. The report finds the fastest growing private brand categories in ecommerce are: Paper Towels. Salty Snacks. Meat-RFG. Private Brands Success Factor for Grocery Power of Private Brands: From the Register offers useful insights at a time when retailers outside of the grocery channel have been building momentum in private brands. IRI data points to areas of increased opportunities for grocery retailers to boost performance in coming years. This includes enhancing investments to attract younger generations, such as Millennials, Gen X, and younger Boomers. Download Power of Private Brands: From the Register [...]
Tue, Nov 05, 2019
FMI News
By Kelli Windsor, Director, Digital Communications, FMI My favorite story in the grocery industry is about the CEO who started his or her career as a bagger or cashier. They work their way up to a store manager position, maybe eventually become a regional manager and after lots of grit and hard work, today are CEO of the company. It's truly amazing how many of our CEOs today can tell this similar tale. While this story of growth and passion is a cornerstone of the grocery industry, today's workforce can tell a different anecdote, one more along the lines of, “I never thought I'd be doing this in food retail.” That's because the grocery industry is being pressed for change by emerging technologies and evolving shopper needs. Yes, there are still baggers, cashiers and store managers. But there are also a growing number of technology-related jobs emerging in the grocery industry. At the same time, careers that create in-store experiences and personalized customer service are also in demand in the grocery industry. The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2019 report asked food retailers to share their plans for labor investments over the next two years. Here are some of the new jobs you can expect to see in the grocery industry: Online Purchase Fulfillment and Delivery Experts With expanding grocery ecommerce models in food retail, employers are planning to hire staff that excel in skillfully fulfilling online orders while providing exceptional customer service and delivery with a smile. Fifty-seven percent of grocers surveyed plan to increase the number of “pickers” or online fulfillment experts they have on staff over the next two years and 40% plan to add more delivery staff to their roster. Data Analytics/Data Technologist Here's a career challenge—take all the shopper data a grocery store has about a customer and decide how it can help the store better anticipate and meet the shopper's needs. Now repeat that for every shopper. Over the next two years, 47% of food retailers surveyed plan to hire more talent to crunch numbers and analyze data, thus changing the grocery shopping experience for customers. In-Store Experience Crafter Grocers want more from their weekly grocery shopping trip—they want a memorable experience that delights. Grocers are looking to specialty department staff and customer service professionals to help create these exciting in-store experiences that keep shoppers coming back. Thirty-five percent of food retailers surveyed plan to hire more butchers, produce butchers, cheese monger etc. in the next two years and 28% will be increasing the number of customer service experts assisting guests. Professionals to Help Shoppers Eat Well Whether meeting health and wellness goals or solving the “what's for dinner” question, food retailers plan to increase the number of staff who can offer customers solutions to eating well including hiring more dietitians/nutritionists (23%), trained chefs (20%) and scratch bakers/pastry chefs (20%). Growth From Within While today's grocery industry labor story might be different from previous years, the model of growing and retaining talent from within a company is still strong. With a tight labor market, food retailers are [...]
Mon, Nov 04, 2019
FMI News
FMI Food Safety staff members, Ashley Eisenbeiser and Adam Friedlander, participated alongside local, state and federal regulators in an Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) Environmental Sampling Workshop in Washington, D.C. This workshop helped participants gain a better understanding of how to conduct environmental sampling in retail facilities during foodborne outbreak investigations.  For more information on how FMI helps members mitigate risks of contamination and advance food safety programs, download these free food safety resources and please share them with your colleagues.  Cleaning and Sanitation Guide for Food Retail Listeria Action Plan for Food Retail (Revised) Hepatitis A Information Guide for Food Retail FMI Recommended Food Safety Practices for Leafy Greens FMI Food Safety staff participated in AFDO's Environmental Monitoring Workshop in Washington, D.C. with local, state and federal regulators. Instructors and participants shared important perspectives on how to conduct a foodborne outbreak investigation and protect public health.  Adam Friedlander (FMI) discussing proper environmental monitoring techniques in a kitchen facility with regulatory officials. [...]
Fri, Nov 01, 2019
FMI News
By: Elizabeth Tansing, Senior Director, State Affairs, FMI  History tells us that people have smoked tobacco for thousands of years. More than three generations ago, the public began to speculate about the health of smoking, and some fifty years ago, the Surgeon General ruled that health warnings were required on each pack of smokes. The next few decades saw the significant rise of tobacco taxes, the introduction of the minimum purchase age and the passage and implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.  In this decade, tweaks to existing laws have dominated the spectrum of tobacco legislation, and none as much as the minimum tobacco purchase age. The 1980s and 1990s saw the states establish a tobacco purchase age of 18, with a handful at 19. And that is the age where many states left it for several decades.  How States Address Tobacco In 2015, Hawaii was the first state to raise their tobacco purchase age to 21, effective in 2016. Since then, another 17 states and more than 500 localities followed suit. Massachusetts tops the list with the most local laws at 236. In fact, when Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation in 2018 to raise the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21, more than 170 Massachusetts localities had already raised it. Of these 18 states, six (AR, CA, MD, TX, VA, UT) have military exemptions, and Utah even has a military exemption for spouses and dependents.  Tobacco At The Federal Level On the federal front, several bills were introduced in 2019 to restrict tobacco purchases to age 21. Most notably, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced S. 1541 in May. It is a straightforward bill with no exemptions, for example, for military personnel. Among the other pending bills are: “Tobacco to 21 Act” (HR 2411,S.1258); “Tobacco-Free Youth Act” (S. 1541); “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019” (HR 2339); and the “SCOTT Act of 2019 (HR 2084). Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill, the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act” (H.R. 3942), by a voice vote. Co-sponsored by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Congressman Kelly Armstrong (ND-AL), the bill closes loopholes that exempt online e-cigarette retailers from federal age verification requirements. FMI serves on the board of directors of the We Card Coalition, since its inception in the 1990s. We Card provides an array of tools to assist retailers in navigating the various laws on age verification. Visit their website at wecard.org for more information. In the meantime, FMI will continue to monitor and report on age verification bills in the local, state and federal realm.  More on Tobacco Sales [...]
Thu, Oct 31, 2019
FMI News
By: Sarah Malenich, Director, Marketing & Sales, Safe Quality Food Institute The food supply chain has become more complex from advances in technology, pressures from a “prosumer” world, and new risks and regulations for food and beverages. With growing challenges and a heightened focus on the food supply chain, it behooves food businesses to emphasize the importance of propagating a culture of food safety. When management is committed to creating a food safety culture, recalls and market withdraws are reduced, efficiencies are increased, and costs are lowered. As food safety professionals, we can take advantage of training and conferences/industry meetings that provide solutions to food safety problems.  At the upcoming 2019 SQF Conference, we will address critical issues in food safety. Here are three key sessions on the agenda: Fake Food: Combating the Scourge of Food Fraud and Adulteration From “honey laundering” to melamine in baby formula and horse meat in beef products, it is estimated that food fraud and adulteration costs the global economy more than $49 billion a year. Incidents of food and beverage mislabeling and fraud, particularly in high value food commodities are on the rise, damaging public trust in the integrity of the food chain and impacting the competitiveness and resilience of food businesses. Gain insights from experts in this area on recent examples of food fraud and learn how food fraud can be predicted and mitigated. Learn More Forced Labor and the Impact on Supply Chains: What Retailers and Manufacturers Need to Know  According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 25 million people around the world are trapped in forced labor, a significant percentage of which are associated with manufacturing supply chains. In this eye-opening and compelling keynote, you'll get an overview of this troubling issue, hear strategies being implemented to address it and learn about food retail and food manufacturer liability and reputation risks. This session will offer proactive monitoring and auditing approaches that will help ensure compliance with the SQF Ethical Sourcing Code and demonstrate how companies can play a pivotal role in responsible sourcing. Learn More Cannabis Edibles: Understanding the Risks and Regulations In April 2019, the FDA moved one step closer to developing regulations for foods and beverages infused with CBD, the non-hallucinogenic compound in cannabis. Regulations are already in place in Canada and the Caribbean and cannabis-derived products will soon become mainstream. Understanding both the regulations and risks of cannabis as a dietary supplement or food ingredient will be essential for current and future certified SQF sites. In this illuminating discussion, a panel of industry experts in cannabis regulations and product/ingredient manufacturing will provide their learnings to date and answer questions from the audience. Learn More  More Information on the SQF Conference [...]
Wed, Oct 30, 2019
FMI News
By Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh, Industry Relations, FMI Sustainability is a topic of growing importance to consumers, and it needs to be prioritized by leaders in the fresh foods industry. However, this is easier said than done. Sustainability is a complex subject that includes aspects such as packaging, food waste, recycling and the future of plastics. The fresh industry recognizes the importance and is identifying meaningful strategies to make progress. This was clear from a sustainability panel and related breakout sessions at the recent FMI FreshForward conference in Minneapolis. Emphasizing Collaborative Efforts Panelist Tom Windish, president of retail, Cargill Protein-North America, emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts to enhance sustainability across the supply chain. He said Cargill is focused on that goal, and suppliers and retailers need to work together to find realistic solutions. “We need to connect people, markets, and products across the globe,” he said. Windish said Cargill's BeefUp Sustainability Initiative aims to achieve a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in beef by 2030 through efforts such as collaboration with ranchers and farmers, and reduction in food waste. He also described Cargill activities to support water saving techniques for farmers, and other initiatives that focus on traceability and blockchain. Putting Plastics in Perspective The topic of plastics and packaging was spotlighted by panelist Janis McIntosh, director of marketing innovation and sustainability, Naturipe. She said clamshell packaging revolutionized the berry category by improving visibility of product, enhancing food safety, and reducing food waste, among other benefits. Recently, however, consumers and retailers have been increasingly focused on achieving plastics reduction. She pointed to unintended consequences that may result from switching to fiber/corrugated trays. This includes shrink resulting from packaging that may get wet in bad weather, and reduced visibility of products for shoppers. Environmental impacts would include the need for trays soiled with food stains to be sent to landfills, she added. McIntosh said the best solution is to eliminate plastic waste, not eliminate plastic. She said innovative recyclers such as rPlanet Earth are making positive changes for plastics. For example, she said, recycling PET uses fewer resources than creating virgin resin. She urged the industry to help support the efforts of recyclers, including through the use of adhesives that won't contaminate the PET. Getting Smarter About Packaging Panelist Francesco Fazio, principal, Deloitte Consulting, focused on “smart packaging” as an opportunity to address major problems such as food waste, temperature assurance, and counterfeiting. How does packaging get smarter? It does this by leveraging aspects such as design, materials and connectivity, he said. The applications span the entire value chain – from enabling better inventory and lifecycle management, to ensuring product integrity and authenticity, to enabling different kinds of user interactions. He shared examples of smart packaging that achieve low environmental impact, such as through significantly reduced plastic. He described a dynamic pricing and inventory management solution for retailers, enabled by connected packages, which has led to 33% reduction in food waste.  He also pointed to an auto-replenish concept with built-in sensors to trigger usage-based auto refills. Fazio said the industry can make progress by focusing on [...]
Tue, Oct 29, 2019
FMI News