Industry News

Pronto Eats caters to on-the-go consumers in compact urban space [...]
Wed, Aug 21, 2019
Supermarket News
CEO Brian Cornell: “Our second-quarter profitability was well ahead of our expectations” [...]
Wed, Aug 21, 2019
Supermarket News
By Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute The expression “put your money where your mouth is” first appeared in America in the 1930s or 1940s. The idea behind this idiom is that while it's easy to talk about doing something, it's much harder to actually take action. When it comes to improving society, we all have ideas on ways to do things better and many of us can be quite vocal about our suggestions. However, few of us actually take action or “put our money where our mouth is.” I've had the extraordinary experience of seeing many organizations take significant actions to improve the way our population eats. This is especially true through their participation in National Family Meals Month™.   We began with a simple concept – design a platform for food retailers and suppliers to support consumers in making family meals a reality and, in turn, help them reap the physical, social, and psychological benefits of doing so. What began as a campaign to shine a light on the importance of family meals during September in 2015 has grown exponentially over a period of four years into a verified societal movement with approximately 230 partners – food retailers, suppliers, collaborators, media and celebrities – participating. Nielsen data impressively substantiates that mealtime behaviors are changing because of National Family Meals Month! Nine out of 10 consumers said they took action after seeing the campaign in September 2018. Top consumer behavior changes reported include: Cooking more meals at home (43%). Making healthier food choices (37%). Eating together as a family more often (33%). Purchasing more fruits and vegetables (32%). These data provide extraordinary proof that “putting money where our meals should be” really works. It is the continued, tangible outreach efforts that build the message momentum that change awareness, attitudes and behaviors around family meals. To help underscore this notion, please take note of some steps two new partners are taking to elevate the family meals message. This September, Nestle's brands of Stouffer's and Lean Cuisine are making National Family Meals Month the centerpiece of their sales and marketing efforts. The company is working with retailers on displays/features to motivate consumers to stock up on additional, easy family meal solutions with their branded products. This includes placement of window clings on freezer doors that remind consumers of the myriad benefits of family meals. Moreover, the brands are literally “putting money where the meal is” with full-page FSIs that offer valuable coupons and product rebates. In addition to paid advertising, the brands are supporting this effort on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. What a powerful commitment to getting one more family meal on the table – and what a smart way for these brands to serve as convenient and affordable meal solutions. In October – after National Family Meals Month officially ends – the Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) will celebrate National Seafood Month. However, for the first time, [...]
Wed, Aug 21, 2019
FMI News
The new CEO is looking to grow the fast-casual chain [...]
Wed, Aug 21, 2019
Supermarket News
Wegmans earns top score in J.D. Power’s annual pharmacy study [...]
Tue, Aug 20, 2019
Supermarket News
Healthier options and more flavor varieties are helping to fuel segment growth [...]
Tue, Aug 20, 2019
Supermarket News
New retail marketing team formed to better support stores, e-commerce [...]
Tue, Aug 20, 2019
Supermarket News
Retail grocery veteran also serves as chief marketing officer [...]
Tue, Aug 20, 2019
Supermarket News
Other popular stories: Giant plans an innovative flagship store in Philadelphia; CBD product retailers still risk legal encounters; and Kroger reduces its food waste footprint. [...]
Tue, Aug 20, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Ashley Eisenbeiser, Senior Director, Food and Product Safety Programs, Food Marketing Institute Grocery shopping with a toddler is like shopping with a ticking time bomb. You have a finite amount of time to get your shopping completed before the inevitable meltdown ensues. From the parking lot to the check-out aisle, I live life like an Olympic track star, speed and time are my strongest assets.   What does it mean to live life on the verge of a meltdown? It's finding a tri-solution of a convenient meal, convenient location and a convenient offering of products. Those factors may vary week to week depending on schedules, sanity, toddler mood swings and my family's shopping needs. On the bright side, the growing trend of personalization across the grocery industry helps overcome many of these challenges as retailers support shoppers in meeting both their personal and household needs. Convenient Meals Family meals are important to my family. Eighty-four percent of households with kids want to eat more meals at home together or prepare more meals at home, according to 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends.  Although our ‘family meal' has transformed over the years, we always make it a priority to gather as a family around the table. My aspiration to continue eating well, coupled with an increased desire for convenience, empowers me to seek creative solutions to ensure my family's needs are met.   That means the microwave is now my biggest asset for preparing meals. Frozen is my new fresh. My desire to explore new recipes has transformed into a desire to explore new convenient meals. I've evolved from hater of leftovers to lover of leftovers.  And, my husband plays a greater role in preparing meals. Convenient Location While, the average shopper visits 4.4 different retail banners in a typical month, I calculated that I visit at least nine different banners in a month. I am part of the eight percent of shoppers who do not have a primary store. Some weeks I find myself shopping at a traditional, full-service supermarket while other weeks I shop at a supercenter, a club store, a convenience store, a dollar store, or even a drug store. And, if the store offers grocery carts in the shape of a car…that is an added BONUS. My diverse shopping experience across various channels and banners is a means of personalization – albeit, nine might be a bit much.  I am confident that in the coming years my grocery experience will change.  While the number of channels and banners I will shop at remains unknown; undoubtedly, the evolution of food shopping will include enhanced efficiency and convenience.  Convenient Offerings  Although the number of different banners I visit in a given month is almost double the average shopper, I try to limit my weekly shopping visits to once per week.  My one to two weekly trips to the store for groceries is consistent with most shoppers who on average make 1.6 trips each week, according to the latest Trends report.  The revolution of the grocery industry to meet the needs of changing shopper types has made the grocery shopping experience a little bit easier. The expansion of non-food [...]
Tue, Aug 20, 2019
FMI News
Fiscal performance shapes executive compensation trends [...]
Mon, Aug 19, 2019
Supermarket News
Stock awards drive big gains for executives at public companies [...]
Mon, Aug 19, 2019
Supermarket News
Good & Gather to eventually replace Archer Farms and Simply Balanced brands [...]
Mon, Aug 19, 2019
Supermarket News
Walgreens health and beauty products to debut in Kroger stores [...]
Mon, Aug 19, 2019
Supermarket News
Ahold Delhaize USA chain adds to Pennsylvania expansion [...]
Mon, Aug 19, 2019
Supermarket News
Research looks at consumer acceptance, choice and willingness to pay for beef burger alternatives [...]
Fri, Aug 16, 2019
Supermarket News
Market is chain’s largest to date offering click-and-collect service [...]
Fri, Aug 16, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Margaret Core, Vice President, Marketing and Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute Rapidly evolving technologies are having a profound effect on the grocery industry, impacting everything from the customer experience to the supply chain, like in the area of micro-fulfillment. Earlier this year, we hosted a group of FMI members on a field trip to Sedano's in Miami to see first-hand the partnership between Sedano's and Takeoff Technologies, Inc. and to witness how micro-fulfillment works. As robotics is becoming more commonplace in grocery stores and warehouses. I'm excited we will continue great dialogue and interactions with FMI's participation in the second annual Groceryshop conference, taking place next month, from September 15-18, 2019, at the Venetian in Las Vegas. It will be great to have a chance to hear from innovators creating these disruptive technologies--as well as the forward-thinking brands and retailers adopting them. We are excited to see more robotic applications and some of the most cutting-edge use cases for robotics via an immersive, 360-degree experience in the Groceryshop Exhibit Hall. Groceryshop brings together 3,000 leaders from established and emerging brands, grocery retailers, investors and more who want to understand and embrace innovation. Nearly every session on the Groceryshop agenda including the FMI sessions, will touch on technology in some capacity, providing attendees a unique opportunity to learn about the latest innovations that pertain to their roles within their organizations. For a look at the myriad ways artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are revolutionizing the industry, Groceryshop commissioned Coresight Research to create a framework to help companies understand what these solutions can do. Attendees will gain solid grounding in the fundamentals, as well as specific examples to illustrate the spectrum of AI use cases in grocery. In this piece of Groceryshop Original Content, the Groceryshop team will provide an in-the-field look at how three innovative startups—RightHand Robotics, Takeoff Technologies and Bossa Nova Robotics—are using robotics to tackle very different challenges in the grocery supply chain.  Technology is also transforming the in-store experience, as physical retail adopts aspects of the ease, convenience and personalization of ecommerce. On the Technology-Enabled Store session, executives from Sonae, Schnuck Markets and GIANT Food Stores will share how they evaluate store-based technologies to ensure they are investing in solutions that improve the customer experience and deliver a return.  A variety of technologies and solutions has grown up to support grocery and CPG operations—increasing efficiency and transparency in areas like supply chain, fulfillment, distribution and logistics. I am looking forward to the Groceryshop session, Rapid-Fire Review: 10 Technologies Transforming Operations, where three industry leaders will help the audience understand the real impact of some of the most talked-about technologies in the market—and audience members will get to share their views as well. In the Emerging Technology Spotlight, attendees will also hear from the Founders and CEOs of 20 early-stage technology startups on as well as the leaders of sixteen later-stage, venture-backed startups on the Disruptive Technologies track. Speakers on these tracks have pioneered solutions ranging from more accurate demand forecasting for fresh food to real-time [...]
Fri, Aug 16, 2019
FMI News
FMI Chief Food and Product Safety Officer, Senior Vice President, Food Safety Programs, Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, CFS, recently participated in the Food Safety Matters Podcast, Episode 45, which highlighted The Challenges of Communicating Food Safety to Consumers. After hearing the podcast, Auto Mercado, a grocery chain in Costa Rica, began using the Safe Recipe Style Guide in its stores. Auto Mercado worked with its nutrition and marketing team to include the Safe Recipe Style Guidemessages in store recipes and translated the materials into Spanish. They also developed and sold color-coded reusable thermal bags, which included the Spanish version of The FoodKeeper and refrigerator magnets to celebrate Food Safety Day.   The Safe Recipe Style Guide provides easy modifications to any recipe to improve food safety practices. Multiple studies show that when consumers follow recipes that incorporate basic food safety instructions, they significantly increase food safety behaviors. Here are some photos of Auto Mercado's Safe Recipe Style Guide activations:       [...]
Fri, Aug 16, 2019
FMI News
By Allison Febrey, Specialist, Health and Wellness, Food Marketing Institute Any internet search for "healthy" will show there is no one size, fits-all approach. As a 24-year old type-1 diabetic, I need to take good care of my health, especially through my diet. My husband, Nick, still has a young person's metabolism and eats like it too, but he is also in the Navy and regularly must pass fitness tests. Lucky for us, it's never been easier to personalize health and well-being at the grocery store and at home. According to FMI's 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report, amongst co-shopping households, 37% of Millennials and Gen Z go to the grocery store together. For our household, health and wellness starts with a grocery list and a trip to the store. While I pick out fruits and vegetables for the week, Nick finds snacks. For him, health and well-being goes beyond staying in shape—he wants to enjoy the foods he eats, too. By splitting up in the shopping trip, we both get exactly what we want, meet our health needs and personalize the grocery shopping experience. At the grocery store, 82% of shoppers actively look for at least one front-of-package claim. Nick looks for foods that are made ethically; this is another aspect of health and well-being important to him. He doesn't feel that he has “eaten well” unless the foods were made ethically. Turns out Millennials are more likely to look for “free-range” and “certified humane” front-of-package claims. For me, health and well-being are about nutrition, so I look to avoid negatives with front-of-package claims like “low carb” and “low calorie.” Personalizing health and well-being continues at home. In multi-person households with no kids, 84% of people eat the same dish, but each person can customize. This is often our household's approach to sharing meals. One of our favorite meal solutions is a rice bowl because I can swap out the rice for lower-carb cauliflower rice and Nick can add hot sauce, one of his favorite condiments. For all the definitions of “healthy,” there are even more ways to personalize eating well. And at the end of the day, our grocery store helps us sit down together for a family meal, which might be the healthiest thing we can do together. Download U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends [...]
Thu, Aug 15, 2019
FMI News
By: Sam DiCarlo, Chief Financial Officer, Food Marketing Institute  Robotics, automation and artificial intelligence. We hear these three words weekly in the world of food retail. Conversations, in the media and among food retail professionals, are abuzz trying to navigate the pros and cons of robotic process automation (RPA), how it will improve efficiency and, ultimately, impact the grocery workforce. Using next-gen functions to parse data strategically leverages technology to improve operational performance, insightfulness, and risk intelligence across the enterprise.  At the 2019 Financial Executive and Internal Auditors Conference, I listened to panelists from Deloitte discuss how to navigate the digital transformation within one's controllership function including positioning foundational ERP, deploying process automation (such as RPA) and using the analytics and insights derived to deliver value to the greater organization. Here are a few takeaways from the session: What are Some Pros and Cons of RPA? To achieve true digital transformation through automation takes scale and is enabled by appropriate business operation structures. The technology offers a flexible automation platform that can be configured easily to fit your company's needs:  It's user-friendly interface. It's typically quick for business to setup. It works best for rules-based processes. Companies should evaluate if RPA is the appropriate solution to the problem over process. There are circumstantial challenges when using RPA, including: Difficult to use for processes requiring significant judgment/exception handling. Not likely to scale / standardization of processes to receive highest Return on Investment (ROI). Company should rationalize if RPA is the appropriate solution to the problem over process. Why your employees should embrace RPA? It requires less manual effort for tedious rules-based tasks and streamlines existing processes. RPA has permeated the market and may become as commonplace as standard office applications. Additionally, it can extend existing capabilities and help build capacity for more analytical tasks. Lessons learned in automation: Start at the top: A leading practice is to appoint a chief digital officer (CDO) to drive your automation initiatives. Don't commit digital drive-bys: Launch automation initiatives to advance business strategies, not as stand-alone technology. Get everybody ready to roll: Identify and engage all stakeholders that may be affected by your automation initiative, up front.  Implement a center of excellence (CoE): A CoE can help govern and manage your automation program to help avoid ricks, ensure consistency, maintain oversight, share leading practices, and eliminate redundancy. Find synergies: Focus on a limited number of processes and then build for scale. Remember the humans: Rethink work architectures to increase the value of both people and machines.  Think beyond one tech at a time: Identify processes that need to be improved – then decide which technology can improve them. Avoid analysis paralysis: Consult with trusted advisors to advance your automation program. Download Report [...]
Wed, Aug 14, 2019
FMI News
By: Karen Furman, Executive Assistant, Food Marketing Institute The response to my family's “what's for dinner?” question is usually chicken. Chicken is a natural compromise for my family when deciding together what to have for dinner. Invariably, one family member would be happy with some steamed zucchini and another wants a steak. So, we meet in the middle with a chicken dish. When asked who makes the household food decisions, some people may think of the 1950's model of homemaking, where a stay-at-home wife did most of the shopping and food selection for a family. FMI's 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report indicates that is not how most families shop and eat today, but there do seem to be some differences of opinion within families about how the shopping responsibilities are shared. Who Influences Family Meals? Of those surveyed, 61% of women say they have the most influence over what their family eats, while 41% of men think they are the primary influencers. However, when asked if men and women shared influence equally, 50% of men think they share influence, while only 36% of women believe they share responsibilities equally. Clearly there are some differences of opinion here. Who's Doing the Grocery Shopping? There is evidence that how households shop for groceries is changing, and it's a change that food retailers should pay attention to. Trends notes that 38% of shoppers in multi-person households that share shopping responsibilities shop together, and 55% of these shoppers stick together the whole time they are in the store. More than half say they split-up grocery shopping responsibilities in some way. When asked why they shared grocery shopping responsibilities, 31% say it is because they have different tastes in food and want to make sure their preferences are represented. What Is the Important Lesson for Food Retailers? Personalization Matters. More and more families come to the grocery store together, but each member comes with their own tastes, preferences and shopping styles. When consumers are asked to explain what would allow them to experience the most satisfaction from grocery shopping, these are the top three responses: Understands me personally. Gives me a shopping experience customized to my specific needs. Makes it easy for me to satisfy the eating needs and preferences of my household. Retailers that want to maintain or capture more market share must guarantee shoppers options that please everybody in their family while continuing to meet shoppers' needs for product quality, selection, information and customer service. So, what does this mean for my family? Maybe we need to diversify our dinner options and start allowing for each person's personal preference to take a turn at the dinner table. Download U.S Grocery Shopper Trends [...]
Tue, Aug 13, 2019
FMI News
By Heather Garlich, Vice President, Media and Public Relations, Food Marketing Institute It started innocently enough. I thought it would be enjoyable and convenient for someone else to pick out my wardrobe based on my style preferences. I took a 15-minute quiz to help define my fashion penchants and then my “stylist” mailed me what she thought would match my personal taste. Next, the excitement for having something designed exclusively for me parlayed to my diet and well-being goals. The precipice was steep; I signed up for both prepared meals delivered to my doorstep in addition to a series of short-lived relationships with meal kit companies. Oh, and I may have dabbled in personalized vitamins with my name on the daily-dose packages, too. But wait! My dog needed to feel this same sense of specialized care, so I signed him up for a monthly box of toys (he's a heavy chewer) and gluten-free dog treats. One morning as I was brushing my teeth with a new electric toothbrush head I received in the mail the day before, I had a moment of clarity: I needed to scale back on my subscriptions, but I was addicted, as evidenced by the litany of recyclable boxes I was receiving in the mail. In addition to my weekly grocery store visits mixed with online grocery shopping, these added services pointed to a broader enthusiasm for personalization led by my desire for experiencing new products – or at least that's what my AI-stylist-turned-therapist counseled. I've always been a pushover for predictive analytics, and I take solace in the fact that I'm not alone among those who relish in custom products and services. According to U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2019, I'm one of the 8% of U.S. shoppers who have subscribed to have specific grocery items delivered on an ongoing basis, such as coffee or disposable razors. And by the way, these items are also popular subscription-based ecommerce models that compete with grocery retail. In addition to subscription amenities, individual orders for same- or next-day delivery, home delivery using standard shipping and pick up at the local store or a kiosk are just about equally popular among consumers (13%, 17% and 17%, respectively). One-in-five U.S. shoppers is a regular online grocery shopper, and they appreciate four overarching services: 1). 50% of shoppers use list-building tools based on previous searches; 2). 44% have returned unwanted items; 3). 42% leverage subscribe-and-save for frequently purchased items; and 4). 29% of these shoppers like the integration with other online services. For instance, it's a windfall when I find an online recipe for a dinner party and I can simply click a button to build a cart at my local store. We witness in our national surveys that neither age nor affluence are barriers to online shopping. My generation is even starting to catch on to the convenience and value of grocery ecommerce. Gen-Xers can pat themselves on the back this year – we did it! We embraced online grocery shopping: from 29% in [...]
Mon, Aug 12, 2019
FMI News
By: Carol Abel, Vice President, Education Program Development, Food Marketing Institute One trend emerging at the center of food retail store design is the Micro-Fulfillment Center (MFC), a new automation in the food retail industry. Although small, as the name implies, these warehouses are well equipped to autonomously fulfill online orders – fast and efficiently. Micro-fulfillment offers an end-to-end solution plugging into any grocery store's already existing network and making ecommerce profitable. I was lucky to get a first-hand look at how micro-fulfillment works at Sedano's supermarket in Miami, FL, partnering with Takeoff Technologies, Inc., one of the first companies to jump on the micro-fulfillment bandwagon. During my visit, I got a better understanding of micro-fulfillment's importance in food retail from Curt Avallone, chief business officer of Takeoff Technologies, Inc. Here's a bit of what I learned from Avallone. We will be covering all you need to know about micro-fulfilment at the 2019 FMI Energy & Store Development Conference, September 8-11, 2019 in Dallas, TX. From the 30,000-Foot Level, What Is Micro-Fulfillment? Avallone: “Micro-fulfillment is miniaturized, automated fulfillment. An MFC is a micro-automated warehouse that is compact enough to place almost anywhere. The size of a micro-fulfillment center gives retailers several key advantages: It can be placed “hyperlocally,” on the store level, meaning it is close enough to where shoppers live that it dramatically reduces the last-mile delivery cost. Furthermore, the MFC is a significantly lower investment than a large automated warehouse. These two benefits give retailers the flexibility to make more targeted and strategic decisions about where they believe automated ecommerce fulfillment will be most successful.”  How Will Micro-Fulfillment Centers Change the Food Retail Landscape? Avallone: “When Clarence Saunders opened his grocery chain, Piggly Wiggly, in 1916 he launched what is now known as the self-service revolution. He placed goods on a shelf, inviting customers to hold items in their hands, and examine labels, inside brightly lit, attractive stores. He united fulfillment and marketing. Micro-fulfillment, and ecommerce as a whole, stands to break marketing and fulfillment apart. The store is migrating online, meaning marketing can be fully digital -- a retail store can now fit into a shopper's hands. Micro-fulfillment has the capacity to make ecommerce accessible to a broader range of retailers because it cuts down major costs: The cost of picking (through automation). The cost of the last mile (through hyperlocal placement). The cost of real estate (through condensing fulfillment centers down into MFCs). For the grocery industry, where products are difficult to manage and the margins are slim, this has the capacity to shift the entire landscape.” What Are the Implications of Ecommerce Growth in Food Retail for Real Estate Development Over the Next Decade?  Avallone: “Stores are currently very oversized and are a huge investment for retailers. Micro-fulfillment is a great opportunity for retailers to optimize store space by stacking goods strategically, taking advantage of vertical space, and using robots to retrieve items. An MFC typically takes up only a [...]
Fri, Aug 09, 2019
FMI News
By Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh, Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute Rapidly evolving technologies and consumer preferences are having profound effects on the grocery industry. This is evident throughout the store, but some of the biggest obstacles and opportunities lie within the fresh category. Fresh presents unique challenges to grocery ecommerce as well as to automation, and the quality and variety of a retailer's fresh selection are significant differentiators. Whatever else changes, fresh will continue to play a vital role in food retail, even as technology enables new products and sources. For a chance to hear from innovators focused on fresh in these changing times, I'm excited that FMI is participating in the second annual Groceryshop conference, September 15-18, 2019, at the Venetian in Las Vegas. Groceryshop brings together 3,000 leaders from established and emerging brands, grocery retailers, investors and more who want to understand and embrace innovation. Here are some program highlights related to fresh: In a Groceryshop keynote, Seth Goldman, executive chair of Beyond Meat, speaks on the growth of consumer interest in perishable plant-based proteins. Marc Oshima, the co-founder and chief marketing officer of AeroFarms, discusses how indoor, hydroponic farms can grow produce closer to the shopper. Speaking directly to the fresh category's role as a differentiator and a driver of store traffic, Marcia Webb, vice president of retail sales at Nielsen, presents research titled “How Fresh Departments Continue to Drive Total Store Success.” Several Groceryshop speakers explore ways technology is changing how fresh products are handled, both in-store and across the supply chain. Ramesh Gopinath, vice president of blockchain supply chain solutions at IBM, updates the audience on an industry initiative to use blockchain to improve food safety and traceability. Martha Montoya, co-founder and CEO of AGTools shares how her technology startup leverages machine-learning to deliver detailed, specific intelligence on produce pricing and availability for both buyers and growers. Frank Scorpiniti, CEO of Earth Fare, speaks to serving health-and wellness-conscious consumers, while working to raise the health-consciousness of all shoppers. Lisa Sedlar, CEO of Green Zebra Grocery, describes how the need to make fresh foods more convenient motivated her to establish her chain of c-stores in Portland, Oregon. The FMI team is hosting co-located sessions at Groceryshop, including omnichannel-focused topics. FMI session speakers include Amy McClellan, senior vice president, retail, Martin's Super Markets and Erin Dress, Walmart omnichannel team lead, Unilever. My colleague Doug Baker presents findings with our FitForCommerce partner on how food retailers are delivering on customer expectations for unified shopping experiences across digital (online and mobile), in-store and cross-channel criteria. Attend Groceryshop [...]
Thu, Aug 08, 2019
FMI News
By: David Fikes, Vice President, Communications, Community and Consumer Affairs, Food MarketingInstitute Each of us has had our world shaken a bit by the recent rash of heartbreaking stories and news accounts of unimaginable situations across our nation. These disturbing scenarios contribute to a heighten sense of just how fragile our world is and how quickly our life-circumstances can change.   To cope with these disturbances, we could all use a little goodwill to help restore a sense of order and balance – and bolster our sagging confidence. We hope that the good news of FMI's Community Outreach Awards shines a little light into the darkness; illuminating that there is good in our world by highlighting some acts of benevolence and concern. Through these awards, FMI recognizes the usually unmentioned contributions grocers make to enhance the communities they serve. It's my pleasure to announce this year's winners of something we call Grocers Doing Good in their Neighborhoods. This year, grocers across the country have stepped-up their various acts of generosity with personalized programs and initiatives to impact and benefit their communities. Here are the “best of the best” in the four categories of the Community Outreach Awards: Neighborhood Health Improvement Category: Mind Body Social LLC: Mother's May Wellness Series presented by Publix Launched in 2018, this initiative celebrates and honors mothers in the community throughout the entire month of May, with a series of free wellness activities and tools that provide opportunities to live healthier lives and facilitate improving the balance between work and family, starting with their own self-care. Youth Development Category: Smart & Final: KFI AM 640 & Catrina's Club 8th Annual PastaThon All 250+ Smart & Final stores participated in the 2018 PastaThon with promotional materials at registers inviting customer to donate $10, which Smart & Final turned into pasta, pasta sauce, forks, bowls and napkins for kids in need. Efforts raised $62,280, including 4,528 $10 donations, $12,000 from canister donations and a $5,000 check donation from the Smart & Final Charitable Foundation. Addressing Food Insecurity Category: Hy-Vee, Inc. Flood Relief Donations and Fundraising Heavy rains throughout March 2019 overwhelmed levees along the Missouri and Platte rivers and resulted in catastrophic flooding for thousands in southwest Iowa and Nebraska. Hy-Vee immediately responded to assist the communities it serves in the affected areas and teamed up with the Nebraska National Guard and Highway Patrol to send eight semi-trucks filled with bottled water and supplies to Fremont, Nebraska. People's Pick Category: GIANT Food Stores, LLC: Healthy Weight Food Pharmacy Children Hospital of Philadelphia's Healthy Weight Food Pharmacy is designed to help decrease food insecurity in low-income neighborhoods. Families found to be experiencing food insecurity are referred to the onsite Food Pharmacy where they will receive a three-day supply of healthy food and are connected to additional resources to address their needs. Our thanks to all the nominees for the good you do and our congratulations to those programs selected as recipients of 2019 Community Outreach Awards. [...]
Thu, Aug 08, 2019
FMI News
By: Adam Friedlander, MS, Manager, Food Safety and Technical Services, Food Marketing Institute Developing the next generation of food safety leaders is a top priority for FMI members. To help in this effort, the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) serves as an organization committed to cultivating leaders and fostering professional growth among food safety professionals. Each year, IAFP hosts an annual meeting that brings together food safety professionals from around the world to share innovative solutions and forward-thinking research with the aim of protecting our global food supply. This year's meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, brought together nearly 4,000 attendees, including food safety professionals from FMI member companies.  Undoubtedly, there were many sessions that were of value to the retail food industry, but the presentations on the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) were fascinating and of particular interest to me, especially from a food safety perspective.  In a presentation titled, “Use of AI for Food Safety in Retail and Food Service,” Claire Zoellner, PhD, a food safety scientist expert, discussed the importance of including food safety teams in managerial discussions surrounding the incorporation and return on investment (ROI) of AI and ML  in a retailer's daily operation.  Here are a few scenarios where AI and ML applications can help retailers strengthen their food safety programs:   Train employees, from new hires to retail executives, on proper hygiene protocols and sanitation procedures using augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) to improve overall food safety knowledge Utilize predictive modeling in food preparation areas by mapping out high-risk production environments, informing managers to take corrective actions and preventing re-contamination  Partner with public health agencies, academic institutions and technology firms to leverage AI and MLdata that assists in the identification of contamination sources during foodborne outbreak investigations Food retailers are frequently at the forefront of introducing emerging technologies that help protect public health. Yet, artificial intelligence and machine learning cannot solve all food safety problems by themselves. While they can be useful tools for overcoming or assisting in food safety challenges, they're not without risk. Human bias, security (vulnerability to malicious attacks) and data inaccuracy are a few inherent risks that retailers must consider when implementing AI or ML for their operation.  Therefore, the introduction of AI and ML in the retail space will require the next generation of food safety professionals to think and work differently. Adoption of AI and ML technologies will require a diverse workforce who have backgrounds in sociology, computer science, regulatory and food safety to ensure safe, secure and accurate application and implementation. Ultimately, retailers can continue to develop robust food safety leaders and ensure the health and well-being of all customers, all while exploring the feasibility of AI and ML technologies to improve overall food safety programs. For more information on artificial intelligence and machine learning, check out these FMI resources: The Promise of Artificial Intelligence for Food Retail The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Food Retail Grocers, Get Ready for the Artificial Intelligence-based Transformation AI Powers the Customer [...]
Wed, Aug 07, 2019
FMI News
By Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh Foods, Food Marketing Institute These days, convenience is the name of the game. Just look at how shoppers select their primary store. According to FMI's 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report, 67% of shoppers rate convenience from home as one of the key attributes of their primary grocery store and 50% say a store must be convenient from work or along daily commute. These findings are even more pronounced for Gen Z and Millennial shoppers. With the need for ease and simplification so high among shoppers, why would more and more consumers be willing to inconvenience themselves when it comes to foodservice? FMI's 2019 Power of Foodservice at Retail report looks at consumer behaviors around the deli and foodservice departments in grocery stores. Initial findings of the report, which will be released in early September, suggest the foodservice department is a key area where food retailers can differentiate themselves. For example, shoppers report being willing to drive further or visit a store they do not often frequent in order to purchase high-quality foodservice items. Think about that for a second. You're driving home from work and haven't solved the what's for dinner question. You decide a healthier meal option would be to pick up something prepared or somewhat pre-made from a supermarket. What we're seeing is more and more shoppers are willing to make their daily commute longer in order to visit a store they perceive to have high-quality foodservice offerings. In an age of wanting what we want, when we want it, anything that is causing shoppers to go the extra mile is worth giving pause and consideration to. Stay tuned for more on the 2019 Power of Foodservice at Retail and join me at the Total Meal Solutions Summit, September 9 – 10, where I'll share more findings from the report. [...]
Tue, Aug 06, 2019
FMI News
By: Canaan Rice, Ethical Sourcing Manager, Safe Quality Food Institute In today's “prosumer” world, consumers are placing greater pressure on suppliers and retailers to raise their standards and performance with regards to how products are made and who makes them. Product sourcing is a supply chain responsibility and the accountability rests on the shoulders of many people, companies, and governments. The Safe Quality Food Institute's Fundamentals Factors for Social Responsibility Standard (F2SR), based off ILO (International Labor Organization) guidelines, includes provisions to mitigate against forced labor.  To address the growing importance of ethical sourcing in the supply chain and meet the demand for accredited, third-party, socially responsible certification in this area, I recently came on board at SQFI to manage and grow the Ethical Sourcing certification program. As part of my exploration into ethical sourcing issues, I recently had the opportunity to talk to Matt Friedman, an international human trafficking expert and CEO of the Mekong Club, on the topic of forced labor and what role retailers and manufacturers can play in mitigating it.  Matt, what is the Mekong Club? The Mekong Club is a non-profit organization that uses a business-to-business approach to fight forced labor. Bridging the gap between the public and private sectors, the Mekong Club helps companies to understand the complexities of forced labor and to reduce vulnerability within their supply chains. Through our corporate tools, private sector ambassadors, and awareness and advocacy efforts we have reached more than 1,000 companies, trained 50,000+ professionals, developed 17 corporate tools, and offered technical assistance to more than 600 companies.  How broad is the problem of forced labor within the supply chain? According to the ILO, 25 million people around the world are trapped in forced labor, a significant percentage of which are associated with consumer goods supply chains. Of the 16 million victims of forced labor in the private sector, 11% are in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector; 9% in the wholesale and trade sector, and 15% in manufacturing.  How can technology can be used to address the issue?  In collaboration with The Mekong Club, the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) has developed a cost-effective audit tool called Apprise. This application can be downloaded to a Smartphone and used to screen vulnerable populations in the fishing and seafood processing, manufacturing and entertainment industries. Apprise allows workers to anonymously and confidentially respond to questions about their work conditions. It is currently being tested and piloted to screen migrant workers across supply chains in Asia and the Pacific region. The Mekong Club is also working with technology companies to create blockchain-based tools for the private sector to identify and eradicate forced labor from their supply chains. The first project was launched in Thailand earlier this year and focused on working with Burmese migrants on Thai shrimp farms.  What's the first step for responsible manufacturing in the food industry?  Conducting a risk-assessment is the first step to preventing and mitigating forced labor situations. Retailers and suppliers can: Conduct investigative audits that illuminate the real conditions faced by workers throughout the supply [...]
Mon, Aug 05, 2019
FMI News
By: Michael Green, Senior Manager, Advocacy & Local Policy, Food Marketing Institute Lawmaking – whether by city councils, state legislatures or the U.S. congress – has a significant impact on businesses, customers and employees. Therefore, it is essential to engage with your elected officials at all levels of government.  It sounds so simple, but there really is nothing more powerful than the voices of constituents sharing their stories with legislators. The data is clear. A whopping 92 percent of Congressional staff have said that "individualized email messages" from constituents would have at least some influence on an undecided lawmaker. Nearly 80 percent agree that personal stories from constituents related to an issue are helpful in shaping congressional opinion. To help the food retail industry share its story, recently, FMI launched a new, easy to use grassroots advocacy platform. From our Capitol Hill perspective, the new FMI Advocacy Center keeps us connected with our members of Congress, and makes sure we stay engaged with them on important issues. The platform is currently promoting six grassroots efforts on confidential business data, pharmacy DIR fees, USMCA, the truck driver shortage, security in payments and fixing the “retail glitch.” Visit the FMI Advocacy Center to learn more about any of these issues and to contact your member of Congress directly.  Because policymaking occurs not just in Washington, D.C., but in state capitols, cities and counties across the country, the food retail industry must have the capacity to engage across the country. And FMI could not do that alone. Roughly 100 state and regional trade organizations representing food and retail provide our industry's “boots on the ground” at the state and local level. These state associations are actively lobbying at their respective state capitols. When called upon, FMI works to provide resources and support to the state associations. This support includes access to our advocacy technology to create grassroots platforms tailored to specific state legislatures.   Fellow State Associations have shared their success with the platform:  Michelle Kussow, vice president government affairs, Wisconsin Grocers Association, said:“Using the advocacy platform was critical to our success on efforts to repeal the personal property tax. We were able to react immediately when needed, for example the Senate Majority Leader commented publicly that he did not feel momentum on the personal property tax. Within 24 hours we had generated more than 350 emails into his office and other key Senate offices. In addition, the advocacy platform was helpful from our members perspective to help them get involved and give them a quick and easy way to make contact with their legislators. In the end, the advocacy platform was key to our success on this issue leading to a $75 million exemption in the personal property tax.”  Mike Karbo, vice president of government affairs, Minnesota Grocers Association said: “Connecting members to their local elected officials is a key component in achieving collective legislative success for the food industry.  FMI's new grassroots services made engagement easy for our members and allowed them to send over 3,000 emails to assist in defeating egregious legislation this year.”  Now, when the U.S. Congress [...]
Fri, Aug 02, 2019
FMI News