Industry News

Redesigned store concept set to launch at five locations [...]
Tue, Mar 26, 2019
Supermarket News
Launch marks new category for Ahold Delhaize USA premium brand [...]
Tue, Mar 26, 2019
Supermarket News
Updated guidelines designed to improve responsible sourcing [...]
Tue, Mar 26, 2019
Supermarket News
Aquaculture is a lot better than it used to be, but it’s hard to convince chefs [...]
Tue, Mar 26, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh, Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute As plant-based diets become more popular, is it time for grocers to have friendly plant-based “butchers” onsite? Or deploy produce department employees as produce mongers, similar to cheese mongers? Just as consumers are rethinking fresh produce in their diets as they embrace more plant-based foods, grocers can also take a new look at their merchandising mindset for fresh fruits and vegetables. The opportunity is certainly ripe: the newly-released Power of Produce 2019 report finds that nearly 100 percent of American households buy fresh produce and 97 percent are trying to eat more of it. Prepared by 210 Analytics LLC for FMI, the Power of Produce 2019 underscores the importance of merchandising in getting consumers to eat fresh produce more frequently, which is the key to lifting sales at grocery. According to the latest findings, 40 percent of product is sold on merchandising. Effective merchandising includes a combination of advertising, price and promotions, including in-store efforts that capture consumers' attention, provide needed information and ideas and encourage them to return. These in-store efforts can engage shoppers and drive continued category growth. With such a high household penetration, it isn't as much about attracting new produce eaters as it is encouraging more eating occasions. Form Follows Function: According to the newest Power of Produce report, 38 percent of shoppers want their produce department to carry more snack-sized vegetables, compared to 15 percent in 2017. Likewise, 35 percent of shoppers are seeking more snack packs with fruit. By offering and merchandising more snack products, grocers can tap into consumers' snack (and health) cravings and create new buying opportunities. Juicing is another way to capitalize on shoppers' thirst for nutritious, produce-based and often-personalized offerings. Thanks to the growing number of inventive produce forms, like squash noodles and sweet potato cubes, shoppers are also exposed to new and intriguing items to branch out to items they haven't bought before. That extends to produce varieties that seem new and trendy to consumers, such as dragon fruit. Keeping It Local: The Power of Produce 2019 reveals that 53 percent of shoppers want to see a greater assortment of locally-grown produce items at their primary store. There are ways that grocers can deliver on that interest and provide a local experience, such as setting up in-store farmers markets that replicate the charm and assortment of a community farmers market. On another level, some retailers own their own farms or have exclusive partnerships with growers to offer locally-grown fruits and vegetables under their brand or banner. Putting the “Pro” in Produce: To bolster eating occasions, grocers play a visible, crucial role in educating consumers about various types of fruits and vegetables and how to prepare them. Stores can conduct more demos, share information on their digital sites and maximize ways for employees to serve as resources, akin to a butcher or cheese specialist. Why just stock produce when you can spur sales by providing ideas and tips? Download the Power of Produce 2019 [...]
Tue, Mar 26, 2019
FMI News
VanDenabeele joins IGA Exclusive Brands from Fresh Thyme Market [...]
Mon, Mar 25, 2019
Supermarket News
FMI finds the fairly small but affluent group is worth the effort [...]
Mon, Mar 25, 2019
Supermarket News
Headquarters enhances FreshDirect’s “farm to fork” distribution model [...]
Mon, Mar 25, 2019
Supermarket News
CEO David McInerney bullish on growth potential of new HQ [...]
Mon, Mar 25, 2019
Supermarket News
Other popular content finds that Dollar General is moving to self-distribute fresh and frozen, Amazon and Walmart are at the "genius" level in online grocery and H-E-B showcases its ingredients at a surprise six-course dinner. [...]
Mon, Mar 25, 2019
Supermarket News
By Julie Pryor, Director, Emerging Brands, Food Marketing Institute The energy was palpable at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim earlier this month. There was truly a community feel throughout the event. See all the Expo West photos I took here! The FMI Emerge team was there to speak with emerging brands wanting to grow their distribution and scale sustainably. In the same way that Expo West brings the entire food and grocery retail industry together, this too is one of the key tenets of the FMI Emerge program and community. It is a nurturing environment with regional and nationwide retailers, the industry's leading experts, mentors, education, supportive outreach and access to investors. Our team helps emerging brands fully integrate into the larger industry, by getting the education they need, and accessing the resources they're seeking, fast. A highlight of Expo was catching up with FMI Emerge subscribers: MODe Sports Nutrition and Step One Foods were unveiling new products at Expo as they continue to grow distribution. World of Chia, the first chia fruit spread, also continues to expand their distribution and grow across e-commerce. FMI Emerge resources enabled these companies to tackle challenges such as finding the right co-packer partners, updating their packaging and revising their product formulations, and growing their e-commerce and Amazon sales.   Here are some notable trends and themes from Expo West: Regenerative Agriculture Many of the most progressive organic brands were either talking about regenerative agriculture—a type of farming system that involves recycling as much farm waste as possible—or already moving in that direction. Two emerging brands impressively showcased themselves during the Expo West Pitch Slam semis: Picaflor Live Cultures, founded in 2015 by chef and farmer Marcus McCauley who has a passion for regenerative farming and natural fermentation. A hot sauce company in Boulder, they lease land from the city in order to turn the acreage into regenerative farmland. Lumen Hemp Elixirs, pure hemp juice combined with potent superfoods and adaptogens to keep your body and mind feeling great. Better-for-you and convenient snacks, sauces and meal solutions A few that caught my eye were: Square Baby; real, convenient and customizable baby food that takes the guesswork out of nutrition, with any 3 servings providing 100 percent of a little one's daily nutrition needs. AvoLov Avocado chips crafted with 100 percent real, Haas avocados, Sweet Potato Awesome, freeze dried sweet potato slices and Popped Chickpeatos, baked green pea & chickpea puffs. Do Anything Sauce; so versatile, it can be enjoyed as soups, spreads, dips, marinades, and more! Primitive Feast entrees bring real ingredients, great flavors and convenience to busy, health-conscious consumers, with a focus on olive oil and other healthy fats. Egglife wraps made with eggs vs. flour or corn - seamlessly replace your favorite tortilla wrap! Plant Wisdom People have been eating plant-based diets for thousands of years. The range of benefits affiliated with plants have emerged as a guiding star of health and wellness in response [...]
Mon, Mar 25, 2019
FMI News
Chain responds to customer feedback for shopping list, wellness features [...]
Fri, Mar 22, 2019
Supermarket News
Kroger Co. chain first to do so under companywide effort [...]
Fri, Mar 22, 2019
Supermarket News
Nowhere in the supermarket are single-serve products as prevalent as in the snack aisle [...]
Fri, Mar 22, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Sarah Malenich, Director, Sales & Marketing, Safe Quality Food Institute  Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) is excited to announce that in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, the two organizations will develop the SQF Food Safety Code for Foodservice. This Code will provide a solution for the restaurant and foodservice industry to assess both their corporate and restaurant food safety systems.  How SQF Food Safety Code for Foodservice Helps Food Safety The SQF Food Safety Code for Foodservice will incorporate the food safety role at all levels of the organization – corporate down to the restaurant/site, be under the SQFI brand of Food Safety Codes, and meet the GFSI benchmarking requirements document for foodservice and catering. The Program will enhance food safety commitment and provide a needed solution for restaurant certification. The project will be completed in time for the National Restaurant Association show in May 2019 and include the development of the following: Part A: Implementing and Maintaining the SQF Code; System Elements (Formerly Level 2);  GRP sections (module16); Multi-site option; and  Glossary Food retailers can also use this program for foodservices destinations in their stores!   Submit Your Comments We welcome your comments and suggestions. The draft version of the SQF Food Safety Code for Foodservice can be found on sqfi.comor by following this link. We will close comments by close-of-business DST on April 11, so we can review, and adjust the draft for the release of the completed SQF Codes by May 1.   Note: Please provide your comments on the documents in email format and send  info@SQFI.com with the subject line: “Edition 8 Comments.”  We cannot accept comments in any other format. Thank you for your on-going support of the SQF Program and we look forward to your input. Please view the following documents for review and feedback:  SQF Food Safety Code for Foodservice, system elements and module 16 SQF Food Safety Code, appendix 2, Glossary SQF Food Safety Code, Appendix 4, Requirements for Multi-Sites [...]
Fri, Mar 22, 2019
FMI News
Performance, capabilities vary widely among retailers, study finds [...]
Thu, Mar 21, 2019
Supermarket News
A nuanced regulatory rule would be too little, too late [...]
Thu, Mar 21, 2019
Supermarket News
Jeremy King led retail giant’s e-commerce team [...]
Thu, Mar 21, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh, Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute The ocean floor stretches miles below the sea's surface, leaving a world of mystery to the human eye. In a similar way, the seafood category is distinct, intriguing and not as visible as others. What reveals the market potential for seafood at retail, given the diversity of products and varying availability and seasonality around the country? The Power of Seafood report – the first in FMI's “Power of…” series to focus on seafood – shares that one underlying characteristic of seafood shoppers is their discerning nature.  Discerning doesn't mean picky. Discerning means that seafood shoppers are selective in what, why, where and how they buy seafood to take home and cook or eat. One significant finding from The Power of Seafood is that although the seafood sector is comparatively smaller than fresh meat and poultry it is lucrative. For example, 44 percent of adults are not even occasional seafood consumers and the average per capita consumption of seafood is 16 pounds. Seafood shoppers have a higher average household income and education level and choose to spend more money on groceries, and when these shoppers buy seafood, the average basket size nearly triples versus non-seafood consumers.  Seafood shoppers put less emphasis on price than quality. In fact, product quality is the leading factor in the seafood purchasing decision, according to The Power of Seafood. Following quality, consumers look for freshness, taste/flavor and species.  According to The Power of Seafood, shoppers are also discerning in where they buy their seafood. Most shop for seafood at their primary grocery store, but 31 percent say they shop for seafood elsewhere. In addition, only 34 percent of seafood consumers purchase all their seafood from their primary store for seafood. Other places seafood consumers shop for their seafood include other supermarkets, seafood stores, farmers markets, seafood markets/stands, or natural/organic stores. Their selective taste and high expectations extend to shoppers' attitudes toward the benefits of eating seafood. The Power of Seafood confirms that seafood consumers are more likely than their non-seafood-eating counterparts to put effort into choosing healthy, nutritious items. Peeling back the shell, to borrow a relevant term, today's seafood shoppers are discerning in what they buy, too. Longtime favorites like shrimp, salmon and tuna are still king, representing a combined 60 percent of the market. That said, seafood counters and freezers, along with prepared food areas and delis, can carry more types of fin fish, mollusks and crustaceans. Retailers might consider touting (and sampling) other options like flounder, trout, haddock, crawfish, halibut, herring, swordfish, mussels, snapper, mahi mahi, sole, sea bass and grouper, to name a few. They also can tap into the potential for replicating restaurant experiences, since more than half of seafood consumers have tried making a seafood dish at home that they enjoyed when dining out. For all new and potential trials, education and shopper outreach is important. The Power of Seafood report reveals that less than 30 percent of seafood consumers say they are very knowledgeable about seafood. That means a whopping 70 percent of customers are fishing (excuse [...]
Thu, Mar 21, 2019
FMI News
By: Adam Friedlander, Specialist, Food Safety and Technical Services, Food Marketing Institute The food retail community works hard to train and demonstrate proper food safety practices within our stores to customers. We wear hair nets, we properly wash our hands, we use a food thermometer to ensure raw meat and poultry products are cooked to safe internal temperatures and we always clean and sanitize our work stations. In fact, 93 percent of shoppers trust their grocery store to ensure the food they purchase is safe.  Yet, I frequently witness top-rated cooking shows or recipe books exposing poor food safety practices to their audiences. Whether a celebrity chef cross contaminates every surface by not washing their hands after handling raw meat, or whether a recipe tells a person to cook their poultry until a specific color is achieved (instead of a measured temperature of 165°F), they are contributing to the subliminal dissemination of poor food safety practices.  Earlier this month, I attended the Consumer Food Safety Education Conference (CFSEC) to learn how retailers can take a leadership role in influencing the trajectory of how food safety practices are portrayed on our favorite television programs, recipe books or Instagram stories.  To kick-off the conference, the FMI Foundation and Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE) released the Safe Recipe Style Guide, to help standardize food safety recipe instructions. These instructions can help raise public awareness for proper handwashing procedures, temperature controls, prevention of cross contamination and safe produce handling. The guide is based on research published in the Journal of Food Protection, where consumers followed precise recipes that included clear and simple food safety instructions. The results showed that participants who used food safety instructions in their recipes were more likely to implement these practices when they used similar recipes at home.   To advance food safety awareness, cooking programs and recipe books must actively demonstrate and educate best practices to their audiences. Since retailers abide by strong food safety practices every day, and serve as trusted community leaders, we must begin to form stronger partnerships with influencers to help protect our customers from foodborne illness when they prepare food in their homes. By consistently sharing clean, cook, separate and chill messages with our customers, we can build a community that helps bring food safety to mainstream culture.  Because food safety matters, from consumers to chefs, we must engage everyone in modeling proper food preparation and hand hygiene practices – together, we can create a safer world.  For more information on how to implement food safety practices within your home recipes, visit www.saferecipeguide.org, or www.fmi.org/foodsafety.  [...]
Wed, Mar 20, 2019
FMI News
By: Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute Remember the days when having a competitor moving in across the street was an indicator of a hot market? Now, competitors are across the street, around the corner and also in the ether; intellectual property flows as fast as data through high-speed wireless, making businesses hyper-sensitive to keeping their confidential business information just that – secret and confidential.  A legal case heading to oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court this spring has far-reaching implications when it comes to something you hold near and dear -- your confidential commercial information. FMI is a named party in the case because we believe strongly that it is FMI's role to defend our industry's right to compete on a level playing field as well as its ability to serve a customer base as diverse as the nation's palate.  How – and why – FMI got involved In 2011, a reporter for the Argus Leader, a South Dakota newspaper, filed a Freedom of Information Act (or “FOIA”) request asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (or “USDA”) to divulge the annual Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) individual sales figures reflective of each and every retail location in the country. USDA, which had historically refused to release the requested data attributed to an individual store, again declined to release it based on two FOIA exemptions. The newspaper sued, and USDA defended its decision in court for years before eventually abandoning the case.  It was at that point that FMI intervened to pursue an appeal on behalf of our members.  We took this step because throughout the process many FMI members were deeply concerned that releasing this proprietary information would give competitors access to proprietary information that retailers keep confidential for a reason. Our members were also concerned about the precedent such information sharing would set. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled against FMI, but our case has since gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided on Jan. 11 that it will hear oral arguments. To emphasize the significance of this decision, the Court receives some 7,000-8,000 petitions each year, but typically grants certiorari and hears oral arguments in 70 or fewer. Our argument is based FOIA's Exemption 4, which protects from mandatory disclosure of all “confidential” private-sector “commercial or financial information” that comes into the government's possession. Store-level SNAP sales data clearly fits within that category; no retailer makes public any information about each store's market share in general, much less specifically for its customers who rely on SNAP. And the ordinary meaning of “confidential” requires only a showing that a business keeps something secret or away from public disclosure. As an industry, it is unquestionably true that retailers keep their stores' SNAP redemption data confidential. But federal courts use a very different definition of “confidential”— one that required FMI to prove that releasing this specific information would impose a likelihood of “substantial competitive harm.” FMI believes USDA made this showing at trial, and we believe it is [...]
Tue, Mar 19, 2019
FMI News
By: Amanda Bond-Thorley, Director, Education, Food Marketing Institute  It's been almost a year since FMI launched its inaugural Food Retail Leader Certificate. Having been deeply involved in its development, I recently set out to learn the impact that the certificate program has had on the participants who earned it in 2018.  The Food Retail Leader Certificate is the culmination of a series of on-and offline activities that form the learning sustainment plan offered to participants of the Future Leaders Program, which is offered as a live event (Future Leaders eXperience) or company-sponsored program (Future Leaders Direct). The program is based around the Root's Compass® leadership framework, developed by Root, Inc. and in conjunction with FMI.  The certificate demonstrates that earners have the right food retail industry knowledge, skills, personal attributes and competencies to excel at leadership positions in the food retail industry. It brings participants recognition in the food retail industry as qualified and committed food retail leaders and provides an edge in their professional career path. I'm thrilled that our expectations of the completion rate in this inaugural year was surpassed, with 93 retail professionals, representing 18 different retailers and CPG companies, earning the certificate. I spoke to a number of these dedicated individuals to gain some perspective on what they had learned and how the program impacted them.  The Future Leaders program requires a financial and time commitment from both the employer and employee. Participants certainly seemed to appreciate the investment from their companies. Rodney Clayton, specialist, retail operations support at SpartanNash commented, “It has been a very valuable experience, and I am glad that my employer has made the investment in me.” Jeremy Latimer, district manager, Weis Markets agreed and commented, “I am extremely grateful for having been given this opportunity. This will be an experience I will never forget and my organization as well as my personal development has benefitted greatly from the experience.” I wondered if the time commitment would be a barrier to employees in their busy lives, but by offering on demand seminars spaced out over three months and an easy to use e-learning portal that is accessible 24/7, this didn't seem to be the case. Scott Kaverman, category manager - salty snacks, cookies, crackers, & misc. snacks, Schnuck Markets, Inc. commented, “I felt that program overall was very well structured and provided some great leadership principles. The timing and pace were more than adequate to accommodate it into our busy work schedules.”  An opinion that was also shared by Catie Bieler, customer sales lead, immediate consumption, Campbell Soup Company  commented, “Great pace and very intuitive if you are unable to make the scheduled sessions.”   The value of the certificate program to those who completed it was clear to see. Christine Caratura, human resources, ShopRite of Lawnside shared her perspective on the program's impact by telling me, “This program was amazing, and I would do it all over again if I could! It brought me out of my shell even more and I learned a lot about managing. This helped me learn a lot about the way a business [...]
Mon, Mar 18, 2019
FMI News
This week, members of FMI's Supplier Diversity Committee visited Houston, Texas to tour several H-E-B. stores. The group toured various store formats with different customization and personalization experiences for shoppers.  [...]
Fri, Mar 15, 2019
FMI News
By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations - Private Brands, Technology, Food Marketing Institute According to a group of industry experts at Groceryshop 2018, if the ongoing digitization of food retail were a baseball game, the food retail industry is in the second inning.  With the game just underway, what is your company's plan for bringing your food retail business into the Digital Information Age?  That's the question speakers sought to answer in the Groceryshop panel entitled “How to Use Data Effectively to Unify Digital and Store Experiences,” which can be viewed in its entirety. “We've all been hearing that online grocery is still a very tiny part of the total market,” said Philippe Bottine, CEO, North America, for SES-Imagotag, “but it's expected to grow to 20 to 25 percent in the next few years or so.” So how do you get to that “20 to 25 percent”? There are several places you can start. Emphasize Values  Linda Filler, former president, retail, of Walgreen's, recommends focusing on a company's most important values. For instance, if a retailer's unique selling proposition is convenience, use digital tools to first improve the checkout experience. If it's variety, make that the priority for your digital investments. And, of course, if it's price - which it is for many retailers - start there. Increase Efficiency  Enhanced automation allows companies to leverage labor. The knee-jerk reaction to labor reductions is to push the savings down to the bottom line, but what if food retailers were to teach those employees whose time has been freed up by technology to use it to engage more effectively with customers to drive sales? Removing friction from every process can only make a food retailer more competitive. For example, Mike Molitor, head of e-commerce and loyalty at Raley's, spoke of the benefits of “rapid refinement pricing” that comes with electronic shopping labels, giving the retailer the ability to adjust prices almost instantaneously as market forces call for it. Digital Marketing Experiences Think about how much more “real estate” a food retailer would have available for promotions if they can convert shoppers from a paper platform (i.e., the weekly circular) to a digital platform? Adopt freely the best practices from other retail categories by using digital tools to create experiences for shoppers. It starts, of course, with an app that shoppers can engage with before they get to the store, while there and after they leave. But it could even involve something similar to the Red Robin restaurant chain's loyalty program that includes a device at every table which allows customers not only to order and pay for their meals, but to entertain themselves and their children while they wait for their orders to arrive. Additional Resources:   Download Finding the Profitable Path to Your Digitally Engaged Grocery Shoppers Executive Workbook 2019 to determine if you are ready for the digital adoption pace. FMI session at Groceryshop on how to use data effectively to unify digital and store experiences Nielsen FMI Digital Shopper free digital assessment tool   [...]
Wed, Mar 13, 2019
FMI News
By: Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh, Food Marketing Institute Shoppers are on a power trip when it comes to meat and poultry. And that's not a bad thing. People continue to enjoy power-packed protein in their diets, usually in the form of meat. Shoppers are taking the power on themselves to shop for and buy meat products that fit their schedule, eating plan, mood and taste, not just in the meat department but all over the store and beyond it to a lesser extent, on a retailer's e-commerce site. They are empowered to make decisions on what types of proteins to buy based on information they find and that is delivered to them. For the past 14 years, The Power of Meat report has provided insight into shopper preferences and behaviors when buying meat and poultry, focusing on the appeal of meat. The newest report, The Power of Meat 2019,focuses on the changes – some subtle, some remarkable -- in the overall food culture and the resulting implications for food retailers. According to The Power of Meat 2019, today's food culture reflects the powerful, ongoing evolution in the way people eat, shop and live. The report also reveals opportunities in leveraging the new food culture to provide solutions to consumers shopping for meat. Overall, meat-eating is still the norm, with 86 percent of shoppers reporting that they eat meat. In this $67 billion category with a household penetration of 98.9 percent, two-thirds of shoppers mainly prepare fresh meat and poultry.  That said, there have been enough changes in the marketplace for a deeper dive into how retailers can continue to grow the category and better serve their meat-eating shoppers. Many consumers, for example, are more adventurous in what they eat: 74 percent of shoppers are looking for ways to turn routine meals they already know how to cook into different culinary experiences. Another hallmark of change is the marked rise in flexitarian lifestyles and interest in plant-based foods. While six percent of Baby Boomers eat flexitarian diets, 13 percent of those in Generation Z consider themselves flexitarian. In general, women are also more likely than men to be flexitarian. A significant number of meat eaters say they do or would buy plant-based products, including blended products with meat and plants. So bring on that mushroom burger… or should I say a burger with mushrooms! This interest in plant-based foods is one example of the growing connection between what people eat and how they live, something which food retailers should take into account as they offer and merchandise meat products to their shoppers. The never-ending quest for convenience also exemplifies the lifestyle-driven nature of meat purchases. Sales of value -added meat and poultry that provide shortcuts of some kind have risen five percent over the past year. Meal kits introduce shoppers to new types and cuts of meat. The Instant Pot – literally named for convenience – is gaining traction, with 37 percent of shoppers saying they sometimes or frequently use their Instant Pots to prepare meat or poultry. Meanwhile, the way people shop also [...]
Tue, Mar 12, 2019
FMI News
By: Melaina Lewis, Manager, Communications, Food Marketing Institute In Greek methodology, Hermes was the herald and messenger to the Olympian gods. Famous for his diplomatic skills, he's depicted in many mythological episodes as providing guidance and counsel to Odysseus, Perseus, and other travelers. A similar line can be drawn between long-time industry and emerging leaders. Sharing information, ideas and industry knowledge can only help pass the torch of leadership in food retail.  Linda Cosgrove, executive director, learning & development, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. shares why she's excited for emerging leaders to join the food retail industry and watch the torch of leadership be passed along.  For more information on Future Leaders eXperience, visit FMI.org/FutureLeaders. [...]
Mon, Mar 11, 2019
FMI News
By: Jennifer Hatcher, Chief Public Policy Officer, Senior Vice President, Food Marketing Institute In order to prevent a confusing and costly patchwork system for labeling products containing or derived from bioengineered ingredients, Congress passed a law that FMI supported to provide one national standard for disclosing this bioengineering information to customers. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was tasked with writing a rule to implement the law, and FMI again was involved with a large farm to fork coalition – the Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food to provide comments to USDA on their framework. Now that we have a law and a rule, it is time to implement the rule. The food retail industry often discusses how shoppers crave customization, personalization and digital shopping experiences from their grocers. Consumers want more information about the food they buy, including more about the ingredients in their foods and the disclosure of certain attributes like those derived from bioengineering. Importantly, this desire for information is not related to food safety or nutrition concerns. According to our U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends study, customers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from and how it was grown.  Food retailers work diligently to provide as much information as possible in a format that is easily accessible to customers and provides retailers with the opportunity to communicate additional information or context that might be of interest to shoppers. We have found that this context is particularly important in the context of ingredients or foods that are or are not bioengineered. Recently, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (BE Rule) established a new standard for disclosure of information to consumers about the BE status of foods. FMI is pleased that this new standard allows information to be shared with customers in a variety of ways – digitally, on the package or by utilizing a symbol. From an industry perspective, here are three high-level takeaways from the final rule:  Uniform Standard The BE rule provides a uniform national standard to ensure that there is no patchwork system; that federal preemption is maintained; and that customers will receive consistent information about products regardless of where they are manufactured or purchased. Many of our member companies operate in a nationwide or even global food supply chain; not a state-by-state market. A national standard allows companies to produce and sell food products in a transparent and consistent manner throughout their operating area. Transparency  Grocery stores offer a large variety of products, from large national brands of manufactured foods to unique local and seasonal offerings that differ from location to location. Additionally, although grocery stores fully support providing customers with the transparency they desire, the manufacturers and suppliers are generally better positioned to provide information regarding the individual food items and ingredients used. The final rule significantly reduces the burden of disclosures for those fresh, prepared foods that are made and sold within a grocery store while ensuring that retailers are not only able to provide the required disclosures, but also those provided voluntarily. Consistent Industry Vocabulary  Economic impact studies and consumer feedback confirm that a single [...]
Fri, Mar 08, 2019
FMI News
By David Fikes, Vice President, Communications and Consumer/Community Affairs, Food Marketing Institute Among the saddest laments is any refrain that begins with the words, “if only.” If only… I knew then what I know now. If only… I had acted on the information I had. If only … I had handled things differently. But there is a means of avoiding the gripping regret of hindsight. The lesson in avoiding regret starts with the bleak reminder of how often we receive nuggets of information that we should act on but because we're busy or distracted or inundated we fail or choose not to do anything about them. The motivational lesson continues with remembering how often our neglect comes back to haunt us later only with a much larger price tag. Case in point, can anyone say, pink slime? Can anyone say, GMO? We have an opportunity to avoid future regret. The issue of gene editing is surfacing in the media in many ways these days; some of it as good news in terms of the promise this new biotechnology holds for disease treatment, but some coverage comes as startling headlines about how this tool is getting used in human breeding. What is not yet garnering a lot of exposure are the significant implications this new biotech application has for food production.  And that is unfortunate. It may not be the silver bullet solving all the current problems faced by food producers, but it does contain the possible solutions to many production dilemmas. All that said, gene editing is a significant biotechnological break-through and the nuggets of its potential impact are being delivered to us. Food industry leadership should be paying attention to these developments, studying them, understanding them, promoting them and setting up the guardrails where they are needed. This is a story with huge potential, and we can choose now what role we play in it. We can opt to say and do nothing now and risk paying a price for that silence later. Or we can do what we can to make sure that the potential good of gene editing does not get thwarted by either the lack of information or the purposeful distribution of misinformation. Everyone with a finger on the consumer's pulse, believes the use of gene editing in food production will be an issue of great interest to food shoppers. We must pay attention to the ways this technology is being presented now and preparing ourselves, our staffs and our shoppers for all this tool means. To ignore it now, will haunt us later. To help you tackle this complex, yet promising topic, FMI has prepared a white paper entitled: Implications of Gene Editing for the Food Retail Industry. This paper is intended to introduce the reader to the evolving vocabulary of gene editing, provide a grounding in the science of this new tool without going into overwhelming detail and finally offer a glimpse into the emerging gene editing regulatory environment. Furthermore, in anticipation that this will be an [...]
Thu, Mar 07, 2019
FMI News
By: Allison Febrey, Assistant, Health & Wellness/FMI Foundation/Food & Product Safety, Food Marketing Institute Family meals “made it” to the small screen by starring in GIANT Food Stores' first TV ad focused entirely on life happening around the dinner table. Gold Plate Award-winner, GIANT Food Stores, “Power of One More Family Meal” campaign reached 65 million people in-store, at home, and in their communities.  In-store “Wellness Walks” led by GIANT's nutritionists helped show families how they can capture “the power” with tips for easy-to-prepare dinners, ready-to-eat choices, and fresh ideas to make mealtime fun, healthy and achievable. More than 1,500 associates brought the campaign to life with in-store displays to make finding and saving money on family meals easier for customers.  At GIANT's support office, teams reached out to more than 50 manufacturing vendors including: Unilever, Kraft, Old El Paso and GIANT's own private brands to support the campaign. A cross-functional team met weekly to develop customer inspirations to encourage all families to experience the “Power of One More Family Meal.”  The out-of-store experience was amplified by the launch of GIANT's TV ad celebrating family meals.Broadcast radio, billboards, and GIANT's website provided inspirational snapshots of the “Power of Family Meals.” Mailers and GIANT's own Savory Magazine provided recipes, tips, and other resources to encourage and promote family meals. Social media intertwined videos of quick and simple recipes with celebrations of how the company and its customers are helping to make family meals easier for those who are food insecure in local communities. Each week, the in-store circular focused on providing quick and easy solutions with cost-saving offers across breakfast, lunch and dinner to further solidify the message that beneficial family meals can happen at any time of day.   As a long-standing commitment to local communities and through strategic year-round partnerships with local food banks, GIANT proudly donated over $50 million, as well as, products to hunger relief organizations over the last five years. Through these strategic partnerships, more than 1 million meals have made it to the plates of families in need. GIANT employees logged more than 350 volunteer hours at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank to make achieving family meals easier for food insecure families. Now is the perfect time to start planning for National Family Meals Month™ September 2019. There is no fee to participate. To see more of all the great family meal activities from this past September, watch this sizzle reel. 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. [...]
Wed, Mar 06, 2019
FMI News
By: Rick Stein, Vice President Fresh Foods, Food Marketing Institute I once visited a grocery store with a grand piano and a live pianist playing and taking requests. It was a grocery shopping experience I'll never forget—he was even wearing a tuxedo with tails! Food retailers can create in-store memorable experiences lots of ways, but I'm always particularly impress by the grocery stores that take the time to learn their local shoppers' fresh culinary preferences and build tantalizing experiences around them that draw customers in. Here are some examples: Catering to Culinary Cooking Interests At first glance, there's nothing unusual about cooking classes - except for the fact that different people in different communities want to learn to cook different things - and they're not always what you would expect. Otherwise, you might not go looking for a class in how to cook Korean bibimbap or a number of Thai dishes at some of the 16 Harmons Neighborhood Groceries in the Salt Lake City area. Reflecting the interest in healthy ingredients in the Northwest, shoppers can visit any of the six Town & Country Markets to learn how to make butternut squash, kale and brown rice casserole, muffuletta sandwiches, or crunchy baby bok choy salad. Shoppers can sign up for Miguelito's Cocina Club, a cooking school for kids in 38 Northgate Gonzalez Markets in Southern California. Promising the “truest ingredients imported from Mexico,” Northgate helps its many Latino shoppers assure culinary traditions are passed on to the next generation. Product Sample Immersions At the Market of Choice's six stores in Oregon, shoppers can pick out citrus fruits and ask staff to squeeze them into juice while watching. Then shoppers can enjoy fresh juice on the spot, sip it as they stroll the aisles or take it home. Shoppers at a select number of the Acme Markets in the Northeastern U.S., can stop into “The Frosted Mug.” These beer and wine departments have full-service bars, restaurant seating, plenty of warm and cold beer options and more than 80 kinds of wine. Shoppers can enjoy a mug of beer or glass of wine in the store, build their own six-pack to take home or fill a growler from the draft beers on tap. Helping With Health Hy-Vee, with hundreds of stores throughout the Midwest, takes their customers' health seriously. To prove it, they have a team of dietitians who provide a number of services: Nutrition tours of stores so customers can locate the healthiest foods for themselves; Free diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol screenings; A Healthy Bites program that provides weekly menus with easy, nutritious recipes and shopping lists; Individual medical nutrition therapy; A lifestyle and weight loss program; and Presentations on healthy choices throughout their communities. There are more tips on health and wellness in the fresh department in our Best Practices for Health and Wellness in Fresh Department guide.  Food retailers who understand their community's interests and tastes can create memorable in-store experiences that excite and [...]
Tue, Mar 05, 2019
FMI News