Industry News

Aldi, Save Mart, Albertsons among chains unveiling Earth Day initiatives [...]
Mon, Apr 22, 2019
Supermarket News
On Stop Food Waste Day, individuals and businesses alike set a goal of not wasting anything for an entire day [...]
Mon, Apr 22, 2019
Supermarket News
Everspring household essentials line includes more than 70 everyday items [...]
Mon, Apr 22, 2019
Supermarket News
The following opinion piece appeared in USA Today on April 22, 2019.  Revealing store-level SNAP sales data will not illuminate the government's activities: Opposing view By: Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute The nation's grocery stores have long kept confidential the amount consumers spend at individual stores with cash, credit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. To business owners large and small, this store-level sales data is undoubtedly confidential because its release would provide an unfair advantage to competitors. We have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify the appropriate standard for exempting this data from public release — including whether the plain meaning of “confidential” should be applied or whether businesses must prove substantial competitive harm in every instance. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was created to shine a light on the government, not on private parties. Congress expressly exempted confidential commercial information from mandatory disclosure because that disclosure can harm private interests without adding much insight about the government's own work. Revealing store-level SNAP sales data will not illuminate the government's activities; it simply opens grocers to unfair competitive harm. The food retail industry has also worked diligently to mitigate any stigma associated with being a SNAP recipient and to protect these customers' privacy. The Food Marketing Institute certainly supports transparency, including as it relates to SNAP. But the public already has access to a wealth of SNAP information, such as the total amount of SNAP dollars redeemed by month, by state, by county and even by store type. Importantly, this case is bigger than SNAP sales in grocery stores. The Supreme Court's decision will provide valuable guidance regarding the government's responsibility to protect private commercial data in the future. Congress understood and addressed that concern when it drafted FOIA to provide protection for private parties' confidential information. We are simply asking the Supreme Court to apply the plain meaning of FOIA's text. [...]
Mon, Apr 22, 2019
FMI News
Artisanal trend of cured meats, specialty cheese attracts consumers to charcuterie [...]
Mon, Apr 22, 2019
Supermarket News
Workers return to stores as agreement reached on tentative new contract [...]
Mon, Apr 22, 2019
Supermarket News
Other Top 10 articles covered the UFCW's strike against Stop & Shop, Smart & Final's $1.12 billion buyout and how multicultural consumers are changing grocery shopping. [...]
Mon, Apr 22, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh, Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute Recently, Burger King introduced the Impossible Whopper—a vegetarian version of the classic Whopper—and there are claims of other fast food restaurants following this trend. Taste testers in the pilot location of St. Louis, Missouri, are giving the Impossible Whopper rave reviews. Who would have thought that in my lifetime a major fast food chain would turn its classic burger vegetarian? What's behind this shift in consumer appetite? Is it the rising millennial population segment setting this trend? Rising Meat Alternative Market According to the 2019 Power of Meat report, plant-based meat alternatives represent $878 million in annual sales and have grown 19.2 percent in the last year. Shoppers—Gen Z and young millennial shoppers to be exact—are motivated by health, ethics and the rising cost of meat when buying meat alternatives. Millennials and Meat During the 2019 Annual Meat Conference, the presentation of the Power of Meat report looked at both current consumption and interest to try plant-based meat alternatives. Findings suggest that interest among Gen Z and millennials for plant-based meat alternatives is high, while boomers are significantly more likely to have no interest purchasing these items. Getting to the Meat of the Matter Eighty-six percent of shoppers classify themselves as meat eaters and 10 percent describe themselves as flexitarian. While younger generations have a stronger appetite for new and different foods, the majority of U.S. consumers still ask, “Where's the meat?” Still, its clear many consumers are experimenting with plant-based meat alternatives, while others are committed to it. Going forward supermarkets will need to have offerings of alternative meats, and fully understand that when it comes to meat, many consumers will want both the real deal and the alternative.  Download 2019 Power of Meat Report Photo credit: Impossible Foods [...]
Mon, Apr 22, 2019
FMI News
Safeguarding the environment: The future is here. [...]
Fri, Apr 19, 2019
Supermarket News
Operating area to move into New York City and farther south [...]
Fri, Apr 19, 2019
Supermarket News
Here's everything you need to know about Walgreens', CVS's and Rite Aid's ventures into the explosively popular (but still legally murky) world of hemp CBD [...]
Fri, Apr 19, 2019
Supermarket News
As we celebrate Earth Day on Monday, April 22, Supermarket News takes a look at some of the latest initiatives from retailers taking a stand for sustainability and improving the environment. [...]
Fri, Apr 19, 2019
Supermarket News
Jeff Bezos highlights importance of brick-and-mortar locations to shareholders [...]
Fri, Apr 19, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Allison Febrey, Assistant, Health & Wellness/FMI Foundation/Food & Product Safety, Food Marketing Institute There was a place for everyone at Hy-Vee's family table during National Family Meals Month™. To reach every customer in their stores, Gold Plate Award-winner Hy-Vee provided customers with tips and tools to make mealtime more manageable, and partnered with other organizations to reach customers outside their stores. A great example of Hy-Vee's in-store activations are family meal deals that were highlighted weekly for customers looking for grab-and-go dinner options, such as prepared foods or Hy-Vee Mealtime Kits. Consumers felt Hy-Vee's family meals momentum on social media too Hy-Vee shared on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, daily dinnertime recipes that took less than 30 minutes to prepare with only a few simple, tasty ingredients. Also, Hy-Vee added star power to its social media messaging with actor and producer Mark Wahlberg. Hy-Vee's employee family joined the proverbial family table From dietitians and chefs, to kitchen and deli employees, to Hy-Vee Market Grille and Hy-Vee Market Grille Express team members – Hy-Vee's employees had a role to play in promoting NFMM and encouraging families to eat together. Hy-Vee included its extended family to the community Hy-Vee partnered with suppliers to bring family meals to more people. In partnership with Hormel, Hy-Vee donated 26,000 jars of Skippy Creamy peanut butter to Harvesters – The Community Food Network, in Kansas City, Missouri. This amount of peanut butter was enough to make more than 370,000 peanut butter sandwiches. Recipe cards with instructions on making meals and the importance of eating with family members were included with the donations. Congratulations to Hy-Vee on its Gold Plate Award winning National Family Meals Month campaign! Watch this sizzle reel summarizing all the great Family Meals we saw this past September. Now is the perfect time to start planning for National Family Meals Month September 2019. There is no fee to participate. Go to www.FMIFamilyMeals.com for ideas on how you and your company can join the movement. Learn more about some of the award-winning programs on our Gold Plate Awards page. [...]
Fri, Apr 19, 2019
FMI News
Produce Rx program to launch at D.C. store next week [...]
Thu, Apr 18, 2019
Supermarket News
Rollout of online grocery pickup also part of capital plan [...]
Thu, Apr 18, 2019
Supermarket News
Amazon, Walmart, ShopRite are pilot’s first retailer participants [...]
Thu, Apr 18, 2019
Supermarket News
Digital shoppers seek savings and convenience via coupons and loyalty programs [...]
Thu, Apr 18, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Cynthia Brazzel, Director, Member Relations and Advocacy for the Western Region, Food Marketing Institute In 2017 FMI welcomed food retail University and College programs to become full-fledged members so they could access the research and resources of our association. At the same time, our University and College members offer our retail and wholesale members an important opportunity—access to career enhancement and life-long learning opportunities as well as access to an incoming talent pool of graduates. We'll be profiling each of our University and College members to showcase their programs and how they can help advance food retail industry professionals. Cornell University's Food Industry Management Program (FIMP) is part of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management in the S. C. Johnson  College of Business and has been educating students and food industry professionals since 1958. The program offers three ways to educate about the food industry: Traditional courses resulting in bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees; Research focused on high-priority issues facing the food industry; and Executive education for industry leaders. This trifecta of learning opportunities makes the Cornell FIMP program unique and has produced graduates who today are abundant throughout the food retail and food industries. FMI has a long history of working with Cornell in addition to the FIMP, including partnering with Cornell University's Department of Food Science, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop the FoodKeeper, a database of food safety and storage advice to help shoppers maintain freshness and quality of foods. I recently spoke with two faculty and staff members of Cornell's FIMP program, Edward McLaughlin, Robert G. Tobin Professor of Marketing, and director of FIMP and Bill Drake, senior extension associate and director, executive education of FIMP and asked them for some insights on the future of the food retail workforce. McLaughlin started by pointing out the main issue food retailers face around workforce today, saying, “Retailers have watched with forlorn as some of the best college graduates have gone to other industries after graduation. Most recently, graduates of our program have chosen careers in finance or emerging ecommerce or technology ecommerce companies or even with experiential retailers over traditional food retail and food industry roles.” “Retailers need to be realistic about the career paths they offer and look for ways to enhance them,” said McLaughlin. “For example, the employee that started working in your store at the age of 16 could benefit from exposure to the opportunities that exist at your headquarters, many of which they are never even aware of.” Recruiters for the food retail and food industry today are looking for graduates with more than just a set of background knowledge. McLaughlin and Drake regularly survey recruiters about the traits they are looking for in new hires and report that, “Analytical skills, such as spreadsheet modeling, coupled with a track records of leadership and strong communications skills,” repeatedly come out on top. On the flip side, when it comes to attracting newly graduated talent, [...]
Thu, Apr 18, 2019
FMI News
By: Amanda Saxton, Education, Manager, Food Marketing Institute There is a huge desire to trace goods, particularly fresh goods, from farm to table. With the potential for more foodborne illness outbreaks resulting in recalls, the industry must be able to more readily recall and identify the source of the contamination. I discussed the possibilities of blockchain with Jay Schulman, national leader, blockchain and cryptocurrency of RSM US LLP, to learn how food retailers can use this technology now and in the future.  Q: How is blockchain impacting retailers? Schulman's Answer: Blockchain is a great use case for tracking food through the supply chain and ultimately providing a trace back which may improve our ability to identify the source of the foodborne illness. In order to track a vegetable from the farm to the table, each participant has to supply information.  Q: What else can retailers use blockchain for? Schulman's Answer: Once the data are on the blockchain, there are so many other uses for the same data.  Very easily, you can provide traceability information to consumers to allow them to see which farm their lettuce came from and on what day it was picked.  As a retailer, providing transparency on generic items can decrease the impact on brand name goods by providing origination information about the products. Additionally, being able to track trade promotions, facilitate the payment of invoices, and verify that goods were transported as specified are use cases that are currently in development. But blockchain is just a way to collect data on the goods that retailers use. The competitive advantage between retailers will be their ability to use that data to transform their business. While just putting the data on the blockchain will provide meaningful improvement in many areas, actually being able to make informed business decisions will separate the competitors in this space. Q: How does blockchain affect retailers' relationships with their suppliers? Schulman's Answer: Logistics companies will be in an interesting position once IoT data is placed on the blockchain. Today, issues with product are generally between the supplier and the retailer. [For example,] with IoT data recording the temperature of the truck, whether the truck door is open or closed and other key data, the supplier and retailer can identify instances where on a hot day in Arizona, the truck couldn't keep goods cool enough and the shipment needs to be written off. It will be interesting to see the dynamic between a retailer, supplier and transporter change as each party shares and utilizes the same data on a blockchain. Q: What are three takeaways that attendees should expect to have from this session? Schulman's Answer: At this point in the evolution of blockchain in the food industry, it's not an if but a when.  Attendees will understand how blockchain and the common use cases (such as food recall) work, what retailers need to think about today as they anticipate utilizing blockchain technology and what are the uses cases beyond fresh groceries that will also impact retailers. In Summary There are plenty of examples on the use of blockchains in the financial industry and [...]
Wed, Apr 17, 2019
FMI News
By: Steven Harris, Director, Policy Development and Regulatory Compliance, Food Marketing Institute We recently finished the first quarter of 2019, which included three months of the new 116thCongress with one of the youngest and most diverse freshmen classes in recent memory. As a result of the 2018 elections, there are now close to 100 new lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate. Including the respective staff members of these new offices, we are looking at hundreds of new faces walking around the halls of Congress, many of whom are likely not as familiar with the workings of the supermarket industry as we would like, which is why now is an important and very relevant time to visit Washington to help introduce them to the industry. In just two weeks, FMI will be hosting dozens of its grocery members for its annual Day in Washington fly-in, during which food retail executives will be on Capitol Hill meeting with their members of Congress. We have well over one hundred appointments scheduled so far and have strong participation from the CEOs and executive teams of many of our member companies. This year, our main policy focus will be on tax policy and payments security. Our most effective advocacy strategy for educating congressional offices on these important topics is to let them hear directly from our members; to hear first-hand how certain policy decisions will affect their business operations, such as how a drafting error in the tax reform law has prevented companies from making important investments. Or how the U.S. payments system, with its growing threat of fraud, is in critical need of reform. We look forward to seeing many of our members in Washington later this month, and we expect to have a productive fly-in event on behalf of the industry. FMI Advocacy App We encourage everyone to download the FMI Advocacy App, even if you are not attending Day in Washington. The app will have event schedules, issue talking points, congressional appointment schedules and other helpful tools for your time on Capitol Hill. Search for “FMI Advocacy” on either the Apple App Store or on Google Play to download the app. The congressional directory also includes a full list of lawmakers, their contact information and committee assignments, which is a useful tool for advocacy both in and outside Washington. [...]
Tue, Apr 16, 2019
FMI News
By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh, Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute Serve up a pie at a gathering of family and friends, and you can see pretty quickly how tastes differ. Someone takes a big wedge, while another person asks for “just a sliver.”  There are “crust” people who savor every last pastry crumb, and there are those who dive right into the filling. You might get a request for a scoop of ice cream for pie a la mode, while another guest may remark that they prefer their pie plain and simple. Slicing into the overall bakery market that racked up $59.7 billion in grocery sales in 2018, there are similar diverging preferences for baked goods of all kinds. The first Power of Bakery report, recently released by Food Marketing Institute and the American Bakers Association, reveals how different drivers are shaping demand for bakery products sold in supermarkets. To begin with, although bakery items are found throughout the store, consumers define bakery differently. According to the Power of Bakery, center-store bakery purchases are balanced between functional items like breads, buns, or rolls, while in-store bakery department sales come from desserts, sweet/goods, snacks and cookies. There are also demographic differences. Millennials buy more indulgent bakery items and desserts but purchase fewer functional bakery products than Baby Boomers. When it comes to health claims, Boomers pay attention to sodium, sugar and fiber, while younger shoppers look at calories, carbs, protein and gluten. Younger consumers also tend to gravitate to baked goods considered all-natural, hot/warm and organic. Meanwhile, growth within retail bakery is coming from distinct areas. Smaller categories are performing well: seven of the top 10 fastest growing subcategories had sales between $10 million and $139 million. Products considered “fresh” represent another area with great potential, as the top bakery-related claim important to today's shoppers. To get a bigger piece of the general bakery pie, the Power of Bakery report identifies opportunities for food marketers to build traffic and sales. For instance, although 74 percent of shoppers typically buy functional bakery items at their main supermarket, conversion is lower for in-store bakery items like indulgent baked goods, desserts and special occasion products. This opens the door for stores to emphasize their bakery as a destination for treats and special events. At a time when shoppers are increasingly avoiding artificial-looking or tasting products, retailers can also tout their use of “real” ingredients. Keep in mind that three quarters of shoppers are looking for specific ingredients and/or health callouts when buying functional items in the center store. Retailers can make bakery decisions more convenient for shoppers with layout and merchandising. Although the in-store bakery and the bakery aisle have distinct shoppers, the Power of Bakery report shows that many consumers would like those areas to be physically closer to make browsing and buying decisions easier. Finally, bringing it back to the notion of serving desserts at gatherings, one can't dismiss the power of emotion when selling bakery items, especially considering that breads and baked goods are bought by 99.9 [...]
Mon, Apr 15, 2019
FMI News
FMI's Kudzu Share Group was in Parma, Italy, this week experiencing some international culinary flare, doing store tours, and attending the Cibus Connect Expo. Here are some photos from their trip:  Visit by FMI's Kudzu Share Group to the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factory. FMI's Kudzu Share Group visits the Alma International Italian Culinary School in Parma, Italy.  FMI's Kudzu Share Group visits Parmacotto and Terre Verdiane in Parma, Italy    [...]
Fri, Apr 12, 2019
FMI News
By: Andy Harig, Senior Director, Tax, Trade & Sustainability, Food Marketing Institute Government buildings typically are not known for their splendor; but sometimes what goes on in their halls can be truly grand. On Tuesday, the Washington headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted a joint event with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to unveil a new strategy to address food waste.  This followed an earlier proclamation from President Trump declaring April “Winning on Reducing Food Waste Month.”  The new multi-agency strategy focuses on six key areas: Enhance Interagency Coordination Increase Consumer Education and Outreach Efforts Improve Coordination and Guidance on Food Loss and Waste Measurement Clarify and Communicate Information on Food Safety, Food Date Labels, and Food Donations Collaborate with Private Industry to Reduce Food Loss and Waste Across the Supply Chain Encourage Food Waste Reduction by Federal Agencies in their Respective Facilities This new announcement – while exciting in its own right – could not have come at a more perfect moment. It coincides with a revitalization and reemergence of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), the oldest industry-run coalition focused exclusively on reducing food waste in the supply chain. FMI founded and runs FWRA with our industry partners the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and National Restaurant Association (NRA); it has produced groundbreaking research and case studies on food waste that have been used by academics, NGOs and government agencies.   The FWRA never went away – its members have been meeting and working diligently – but its work has been overshadowed a bit by other emerging issues like plastics and packaging. In the fall of 2018, however, the FWRA's member companies reaffirmed their commitment to addressing food waste and tasked the founding associations with developing a new workplan focused on innovation, aggressive action and measurable progress. This work is already well underway; the FWRA will meet for a status update on May 2-3 at the offices of GMA in Rosslyn, VA.   The EPA-USDA-FDA commitment to reducing food waste opens up an exciting new opportunity for a revitalized FWRA to partner with government to create real and lasting change. With new resources being brought to bear, new partnerships being formed and new voices entering the fray, the next chapter in addressing food waste is being written right now. [...]
Fri, Apr 12, 2019
FMI News
By: Rebecca Daniels, Assistant, Education, Food Marketing Institute The responsibilities of store managers are shifting just as rapidly as the food retail industry itself. No longer are these incredibly hardworking individuals just responsible for running brick and mortar operations, they're running complex, multi-faceted businesses. While navigating the ever-changing needs of consumers online and in-store, they remain consequential cornerstones of their communities. Please meet the 2019 Store Manager Awards finalists: Category A: (1-49 Stores) Finalists     Lori Hodgkinson, ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc., Croton-On-Hudson, New York Lori Hodgkinson thinks “engagement” whenever she thinks about how to improve financial performance at her ShopRite of Croton. That is, engagement with employees. Hodgkinson adds team-building activities into almost every weekly department manager meeting.  Jeff Kramm, Lunds & Byerlys, Wayzata, Minnesota Jeff Kramm takes what he calls a “bells and whistles” approach to marketing. He doesn't want any customer to leave the store without everything they need and want. Customer service surveys prove Kramm may be on to something. Customers approved in 2018 with a 67-percent score for selection of products, 81 percent for friendliness of cashiers and 75 percent for quality of products.    Tom Slott, Martin's Super Markets, Inc., Granger, Indiana Store manager Tom Slott caused customer count to grow 8.3 percent over the last five years. Once a customer is in the store, it's his goal to deliver the best service possible by executing innovative in-store experiences. This incredible ability to communicate also translated to team development and a long list of assistant store managers becoming store managers at other Martin's Super Markets. Category B: (50-199 Stores) Finalists   Tim Collins, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., Pikeville, Kentucky Tim Collins' reputation as a promotor and merchandiser extends far beyond the walls of the Food City store he manages. Collins' store typically ranks as one of the top five performers in the Food City chain when it comes to promotional sales activity and customer loyalty programs. Evidence for customer loyalty can be found in the numbers: More than 86 percent of his total store sales are generated by his base (most frequent) customers. Ray Jackson, Brookshire Grocery Company, Hallsville, Texas Ray Jackson took over leadership of his current store in 2012 and showcased a 38-year career with the company last year by winning its Store Director of the Year award. When employees deliver truly remarkable customer service or go above and beyond in their jobs, Jackson presents them with a special token or a ribbon to display on their name badge. Brian McMillan, GIANT Food Stores LLC, Lancaster, Pennsylvania Competitively speaking, 2018 was a wild year for the GIANT Food Stores in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Store manager Brian McMillan was asked to absorb 48 new associates and to undergo extensive - and quick - enhancements to deal with both new competitors and staff additions. McMillan focuses on teaching, coaching, and lives the “One Team” culture, seen through associates having a great sense of energy, engagement, and positive morale. Category C: (200+ Stores) Finalists   Henry Samaniego, Meijer, Inc., Hudsonville, Michigan Recognizing the needs of a changing marketplace, Henry Samaniego's Meijer store first doubled and then tripled its sales of Hispanic items [...]
Thu, Apr 11, 2019
FMI News
By: Steve Markenson, Director of Research, Food Marketing Institute The first ever The Food Retailing Industry Speaks (Speaks) report appeared in 1949. Seventy years later, this report continues to provide the food retail industry with important benchmarks, facts and figures that are used in our advocacy work on Capitol Hill, in conversations with the media and by our members desiring to make informed business decisions.  As FMI reported last year in the 68th annual edition of the Speaks report, the food retail industry was riding a number of positive trends, while grappling with unprecedented challenges to their businesses. But food retailers have shown themselves to be resilient by taking proactive approaches and fine-tuning their strategies. Last year, FMI reported an improved financial picture and renewed optimism for this year and the future. What will we learn about our industry this year? The Speaks report will of course continue to trend key financial and operational benchmarks, while incorporating questions about new industry issues and challenges. Some of the new areas included for this year's Speaks study include: The survey has continued to develop its look into the impact of technology and ecommerce. From efforts toward using technology to personalize the shopper experience to the role of artificial intelligence, the survey has expanded its exploration of the role of technology throughout various aspects of the industry. The food retail industry pulse issues will continue to assess the impact on the industry of health care costs, interchange fees, upward wage pressures and recruiting/retaining employees, but will also assess the impact of pharmacy DIR fees, transportation capacity, trade/tariffs and other emerging issues. New areas of inquiry have been added to our look into space allocation, labor allocation, product differentiation strategies and service differentiation strategies based on how the industry is evolving. Speaks will continue to assess the impact on the food retail industry of the tax reform passed by Congress. How is FMI able know all of this about the food retail industry? Directly from the food industry, when your company responds to The Food Retailing Industry Speaks annual survey. In 1949, an amazing 64 percent of the industry responded to the first survey. We need your help to get your company to respond this year. Contact Steve Markenson (SMarkenson@fmi.org) to learn how your company can participate. We want as many voices as possible to Speak. Learn more and download the full 2018 Speaks report at FMI.org/GrocerySpeaks. [...]
Tue, Apr 09, 2019
FMI News
By: Allison Febrey, Assistant, Health & Wellness/FMI Foundation/Food & Product Safety, Food Marketing Institute For National Family Meals Month™ (NFMM), three-time Gold Plate Award winner Skogen's Festival Foods took on the challenge that parents face daily: engaging kids. I reached out to Lauren Tulig, nutrition communications manager at Festival Foods, to learn about their NFMM program.  Question: Why did you decide to make reaching kids the goal your National Family Meals Month campaign this year? Answer: Our goal with this year's campaign was to get kids talking about food and time around the table as a family. In order to make this happen, we knew that we had to make it fun, interactive and engaging. When kids are excited about something, they share it with their parents, teachers and friends. We wanted to make kids our "mini" influencers for family meals. Our hope was that they would start asking their parents to have a build- your-own-pizza night at home as a family or make a smoothie together with a secret green ingredient. Q: Along with your focus on kids, your omni-channel campaign took on a new communications this year- YouTube. What was your rationale for choosing YouTube? A: Analytics show that more than 80 percent of kids ages 12–17 use YouTube, with two-thirds of kids on YouTube daily. We talked to several parents who shared that their kids love watching other kids on YouTube. We decided that the best way to reach and engage kids would be to produce YouTube videos starring other kids. These "mini" series stars were sourced from our guests and associates. Many of them had something to say about food and family meals, but we didn't know what that something was until we got them in our test kitchen and in front of the camera. Q: Can you tell us more about the content of the videos? A: In our seven episode “mini” series, our little guests built their own pizzas, made their own taco cups, talked about their favorite family meals, tasted sneaky foods that had hidden healthy ingredients, dished on their go-to snacks, tried new breakfast recipes and more. We partnered with vendors including Campbell's, Hormel and General Mills, to share their products and capture the kids' feedback. Q: What are some other ways that you engaged kids during National Family Meals Month? How else did you promote Family Meals? A: We kicked off our National Family Meals Month campaign with a Facebook live broadcast featuring a few of our “mini” guests chatting about family meals and making a fun Turkey & Cheese Sushi recipe with Mealtime Mentor Jenni. This was a great way for the kids to talk about the "mini" series and tease the YouTube videos to come throughout the month. Our Mealtime Mentors, who are also registered dietitians, developed a number of kid-friendly recipes, which we promoted through digital and social media and email marketing targeted to parents. The Mealtime Mentors partnered with local dietetic interns to offer grocery store tours which included a $10 Meals Challenge activity to area Girl Scout and Boy [...]
Mon, Apr 08, 2019
FMI News
Last week the FMI Foundation attended the House Conference District Director Fly-in, where local district directors gathers on Capitol Hill to hear about national initiatives they can take back to their hometowns. The FMI Foundation discussed National Family Meals Month™ with attendees and the societal and health benefits of families that share one more meal together each week. District directors were impressed with the family meal solutions retailers are providing shoppers and were interested in the resources to proclaim September Family Meals Month in their state. FMI Foundation staff ready to talk family meals with Congressional District Directors. Congressional District Directors excited to raise their mitt and join the National Family Meals Month movement!   [...]
Fri, Apr 05, 2019
FMI News
By David Fikes, Vice President, Communications and Consumer/Community Affairs, Food Marketing Institute Navigating an interpersonal relationship is a tricky thing. In the beginning, it is a dance of knowing when, what and how to share information so that you come off as being sufficiently vulnerable and desiring a deeper relationship, without sounding desperate or sharing too much information too quickly and boring, scaring or creeping the other person out. If you survive those initial steps without crushing too many toes, the relationship can become a lifelong journey of making adaptations to those learned dance steps as your partner and you grow, change and evolve. The same is true of navigating a brand relationship. There is much information shared today about how consumers want to be more aware, familiar with and engaged with their food products than ever before. Shoppers are looking for more than just a product, they are questing interaction, information and involvement. The inter-industry talk we use to describe this, usually refers to the sharing of information as the consumer's desire for transparency, but this is not necessarily the language consumers use. The consumer desire for product engagement can also be just as readily identified as a negotiation of the brand relationship; knowing what information to share, when to share it and how to convey it. It is learning the relationship dance steps for the consumer who wants to know what they want to know, when they want to know it and in a way they can understand. Research that FMI did with Label Insight recently revealed that consumers identify the ingredient label as the original sniff test about whether this relationship will have legs – the interpersonal-relationship equivalent of checking-out how the other person is dressed. In the brand relationship world, consumers scan the ingredients listed to see if they are in easy-to-read plain English and if they convey clear nutrient information. Additionally, almost one-third of consumers appreciate other label indicators bearing information about allergens, how the product was made, and how the ingredients are sourced.  On the interpersonal front, after the attire has been checked out, the next-level of relationship inquiries is usually a variation of “is there more to this person?” On the brand management front this is when customers go looking beyond the package for intel; they search websites, apps, and other people's opinions to find out company values, positions on social issues, how they act upon their commitments and their level of follow-through. Attention to transparency has immediate business implications because seven in ten consumers indicate that they are willing to switch from their usual brand to one that provides more in-depth information beyond what appears on the label. Trust and brand loyalty are hard to earn, but in truth, they are as difficult to maintain, requiring the brand to understand the consumer's motivations and share relevant, clear, accurate and credible information that conveys honest disclosure. Failure to grow with your customer's needs often results in a brand break-up. More companies are recognizing the [...]
Thu, Apr 04, 2019
FMI News
By: Hannah Walker, Senior Director, Nutrition & Technology Policy, Food Marketing Institute It is hard to believe, but October 2019 will mark four years since the card brand-imposed liability shift went into effect, requiring retailers to invest significant time, resources, and capital to accept “chip” cards in their stores. FMI witnessed and heard first hand from many of our members the challenges the arbitrary deadline created and the unnecessary expenses it cost their stores. The good news is, most of FMI members report being EMV compliant and are seeing some degree of reduced chargebacks for fraudulent cards being used in your stores. Now that we are mostly over the EMV hurdle, what's next on the payment's horizon?  The Eight-Legged Octopus of Challenges & Opportunities That is a question much easier asked than answered. In many ways, payments are an eight-legged octopus, with potential for innovation in security for both in-store and online shopping. There are opportunities to advance mobile payments and other technologies, all while looking for what will be the major disruptor that both consumers and retailers will be eager to adopt.  Online Security – Secure Remote Commerce On the online security side, the major card brands have been very active in promoting a solution commonly called Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) as a safe “one button” check out solution. While at first glance a single pay button may sound attractive and reduce the number of abandoned baskets, the devil is always in the details.  Many questions remain unanswered: will retailers still have options on which debit network they want to route a transaction through? What will be the cost to the retailer? What other things must a retailer give up or take on in order to utilize SRC?  Contactless Credit and Debit Cards While we dig for answers on SRC, we also must remember most groceries are and will be sold in store. Some of the country's largest banks have announced they will start issuing contactless credit and debit cards. These contactless cards use a near field communication (NFC) technology. NFC is only one contactless solution but is the one the major card brands favor. Even more interestingly the EMV readers retailers purchased and installed in their stores came with NFC capabilities included.  Again, while NFC may sound like an interesting solution that can use both enabled cards and technologies like ApplePay, it also comes with a cost. The major card brands assert that if you turn on NFC in your store you must accept anything using NFC. For instance, if a retailer wants to accept the NFC cards, but not ApplePay, the card brands say you must. NFC also comes with its own inherent challenges when a retailer tries to choose one debit network over another. There is a great deal of exciting work being done resulting in positive developments in payments. I invite you to join us at the Financial Executive and Internal Auditing Conference in May as I have a one-on-one discussion with Kim Ford, head of global government affairs at First Data, to discuss what are [...]
Wed, Apr 03, 2019
FMI News