Industry News

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal offers positive outlook for continued strength in North American trade picture [...]
Fri, Jan 17, 2020
Supermarket News
As traditional milk sales continue to struggle, retailers and the industry look to different flavors and packaging [...]
Fri, Jan 17, 2020
Supermarket News
Affordable and fun wine brand to debut at 57 stores in Virginia [...]
Fri, Jan 17, 2020
Supermarket News
National Retail Federation reports 4.1% overall gain and 14.6% growth in online [...]
Fri, Jan 17, 2020
Supermarket News
By: Carol Abel, Vice President of Education Program Development, FMI  In a matter of days, the food industry will land in Phoenix for the 2020 Midwinter Executive Conference. Top industry executives will gather to discuss proven and emerging trends, and how it will influence future business operations.  Here are some record-breaking numbers that offer a sneak peek into who's attending and what the program entails:  1093  Registered attendees  248    Retailer and Wholesaler attendees  521    Associate Member attendees  93      Product Supplier attendees  35      States and 5 countries represented  216    First-time attendees from retailers and brands 98       Companies participating in Strategic Executive Exchange business meetings  16       Education sessions addressing the complex components of 5 emerging issues driving change and opportunity in the industry  69       Industry experts exploring issues that impact the retail and CPG industries  26       FMItech Talks sharing new ideas and solutions to enhance your technology                    strategy  80      Companies have pledged to support the FMI Foundation through Stir It Up!, a                 lively cooking competition between food industry executives taking place on                     Sunday, January 26 $1,150,000 Dollars raised to support the FMI Foundation through Stir It Up!  5     Companies competing during Stir It Up! for awards in five Family Meals Categories  7     Gold Plate Awards highlight outstanding family meals promotional programs                    announced during Stir It Up!  107  Golfers participating in the FMI Food Industry Golf Tournament supporting FMI                Leadership, Education, Advocacy, Development Fund (LEAD) 6 FMI Executive Leadership Awards presented, including:  William H. Albers Award For Industry Relations  Sidney R. Rabb Award, For Statesmanship  Robert B. Wegman Award For Entrepreneurial Excellence  Herbert Hoover Award For Humanitarian Service  Glen P. Woodard, Jr., Award For Public Affairs  Esther Peterson Award For Consumer Service  Future Midwinter Date: January 22-25, 2021  [...]
Fri, Jan 17, 2020
FMI News
Integrated click-and-collect platform assisted by GPS technology [...]
Thu, Jan 16, 2020
Supermarket News
Company veteran Pete Mowitt to retire after 44 years of service [...]
Thu, Jan 16, 2020
Supermarket News
Independent grocery trade groups cite ‘unexpected circumstances’ [...]
Thu, Jan 16, 2020
Supermarket News
By Kathy Chiao, Specialist, Marketing, SQFI News headlines that include words such as “recall,” “foodborne illness,” and “contamination” get the attention of consumers. That's why it is crucial for retailers, food production and manufacturing facilities to elevate their food safety management systems to protect their brands, their buyers, and their bottom lines. With many retailers in the U.S. sourcing their products from Latin America, they must ensure that the supply chain meets the highest food safety standards.  Why Brazil? Brazil is one of the largest importers of food supplies into the U.S. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the largest categories imported from Brazil are unroasted coffee ($934 million), fruit and vegetable juices ($501 million), and red meats ($281 million). As a result, both U.S retailers with supply chain facilities in Brazil and Brazilian-based exporters are demanding high quality products for consumers. This puts Brazilian food producers and manufacturers under increasing pressure to adopt more robust food safety practices. Many of these food suppliers are turning to food safety Certification Program Owners (CPO) for solutions.  As the largest CPO in North America, the Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) seeks to assist retailers and food suppliers alike by expanding its resources into Brazil. At the Consumer Forum in Sao Paolo, SQFI's representative in Brazil, Palova Marquez, introduced the SQF Fundamentals Program to retailers and suppliers as a solution to their food safety challenges. The Business Case To date, only a very small percentage of all food producers and manufacturers in Brazil have some form of food safety certification as a part of their operations. This leaves a vast majority of the market in need of a food safety management system to take their businesses to the next level. Created as a stepwise approach to assist small to medium sized food facilities, the SQF Fundamentals Program is a fitting solution for food suppliers in Brazil, a country where most of its food production and manufacture facilities are classified as small businesses, with many of these businesses having less than four employees. Following the steps of the SQF Fundamentals Program will give small, Brazilian businesses the ability to create a robust food safety management system or improve on existing food safety practices, allowing food suppliers to get their products into the international market. Collaboration Is Key In order to maintain and improve the safety and quality of food products, it is very important to foster an open dialogue between suppliers and retailers. Transparent discussions of the challenges facing the food industry allows for the creation of viable solutions to overcome these hurdles. SQF Fundamentals Program [...]
Thu, Jan 16, 2020
FMI News
Project expected to bring more reliable electricity, cut carbon emissions [...]
Wed, Jan 15, 2020
Supermarket News
Despite food distributor's challenges before and since acquiring Supervalu, CEO maintains UNFI made the right decision [...]
Wed, Jan 15, 2020
Supermarket News
Discounter moves forward with two chief merchants, reports soft holiday sales growth [...]
Wed, Jan 15, 2020
Supermarket News
Incentive program earns SNAP beneficiaries free fruit, vegetables when buying produce [...]
Wed, Jan 15, 2020
Supermarket News
Losing its patience with the FDA, a bipartisan bill was introduced to allow CBD into foods and supplements [...]
Wed, Jan 15, 2020
Supermarket News
By: Marjorie DePuy, Senior Director, Supply Chain and Sustainability, FMI January is a time of reflection and for setting intentions for the year ahead. For food retailers, this includes reviewing how well they met customers' demands over the holidays. Did your store have what shoppers wanted, when they wanted it, in the right quantity, condition, location and price? And did shoppers enjoy the experience? To meet those conditions, supply chains have to operate in high gear and in partnership with growers, makers and shippers – the product suppliers who ensure pallets of egg nog, candied yams, fresh turkeys, potatoes, cranberry sauce, figgy pudding and so much more are delivered to the store or to a shopper's front door. Internal food retail and supplier teams are crunching numbers, reviewing data and huddling to determine how well they performed compared to previous years and their competition. FMI has facilitated industry level benchmarking on supply chain metrics for years. In December, we shared findings from the 2019 FMI Supply Chain Benchmarking project, showcased here in a compelling infographic that paints the food retail supply chain with a broad brush of opportunity. In part, due to the rising complexities in our ‘omnichannel' logistics environment, the supply chain behind the scenes is being tested with rising delivery and service expectations. Orders are being filled more frequently, which means trucks carry smaller quantities more often. The role of air traffic controller is being filled by carriers, shippers and receivers with a growing reliance on technology to bridge gaps between systems and manual processes. There's increasing demand for a wider array of products to a growing number of locations and disagreement over what constitutes on time delivery – with plenty of supply chain ‘opportunity' to go around. The team at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) conducted in-depth conversations as well as complex data reviews in the course of this benchmarking work. Participating supply chain executives said it well, “We're trying to … evolve from a logistics network built on the productivity of full-pallet, full trucks and learn to fulfill smaller order quantities. We're focused on growing our fulfillment centers to better service online and small customers; we're also upgrading our demand forecasting capabilities to improve service levels.” Key themes emerged in project discussions around logistics costs, SKU proliferation, collaborative planning, leveraging big data analytics, augmenting core operations and automation. BCG calls out four key areas for food retailers and suppliers to consider: Opportunity # 1. Align incentives. Did we come to terms with our trading partners that encourage mutually beneficial behavior? Opportunity #2. Integrate process. Did we jointly strategize across our Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) processes? Opportunity #3. Enable agility. Are we nimble, flexible and adaptive to address supply chain complexity with new learning and new methods? Opportunity #4. Digitize data. Is our information accessible and actionable across our network and with our partners? Are we leveraging our big data analytics to augment our core operations? With new intentions set, all we need now are tools, trust, spirit and effort to build the supply chains of the future. 2019 FMI Supply Chain [...]
Wed, Jan 15, 2020
FMI News
Shoppers increasingly value speed and convenience, U.S. grocery retail study shows [...]
Tue, Jan 14, 2020
Supermarket News
More lanes coming to stores under partnership with Toshiba [...]
Tue, Jan 14, 2020
Supermarket News
‘Lunchbox’ cashierless store concept could become new service offering [...]
Tue, Jan 14, 2020
Supermarket News
By Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations - Private Brands, Technology, FMI January is technology season with a series of back-to-back events focused on the latest gadgets and gizmos. While reading about new technologies, it's easy to begin to wonder how they will apply to your shoppers and your business model. Here are some insights from the January-tech craze to consider: Leveraging Consumer Technologies Covering CES 2020, Laura Heller writes in Forbes about 5 Top Tech Trends for Retail From CES 2020 and outlines technologies sure to impact retail, including: Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Autonomous checkout. Image search. Monetizing data. Logistics innovation. One device premiered at the show called Julia had me really scratching my head. The smart cooker that even washes itself has a lot of applications for food retailers and suppliers helping shoppers. From taking meal kits to the next level to re-inventing cooking, there are numerous applications to leverage this new technology for grocery shoppers should it become a staple of American kitchens.   Technologies Changing Retail Business Models This week at NRF 2020, I'm seeing impressive applications of real-time consumer data and predictive analytic models powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). For example, FMI Associate member SAP showcased the blend of master marketing, omnichannel fulfillment from the store, category management and the overall consumer experience. Their online demo, personalized by upfront questions, provides an overview of how technology is supporting changing business models by reducing supply chain costs. Technologies Leveraging Data Machine learning (ML) and AI have proven themselves capable of supporting demand forecasting and are being used increasingly for recommending products, customizing pricing and promotional decisions. At the upcoming FMItech@Midwinter, we have a host of Tech Talks that showcase ML and AI from all angles including promotions, forecasting, supply chain, food waste and customer experience. Smart supermarkets are already leveraging new technologies to do business more efficiently and effectively. 2020 is sure to bring more announcements of food retailers and suppliers leveraging technology—will you be one of them? [...]
Tue, Jan 14, 2020
FMI News
By: Stephanie Harris, Chief Regulatory Officer, FMI Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the agency's plans for a new approach to food safety, a so-called “New Era of Food Safety,” that will emphasize the use of technology and other available tools to further improve the country's food safety system. The agency's new plan is designed to build on the many improvements seen through the recently implemented Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) while using existing means to work on key food safety issues, such as responding to foodborne outbreaks and improving methods to prevent and mitigate food safety risks. As FDA explained it, “It's also about simpler, more effective, and modern approaches and processes. Smarter Food Safety is people-led, FSMA-based, and technology-enabled.” FDA held a public meeting in October to discuss the new food safety program and requested written comments in addition to the feedback received at the public meeting. I provided oral remarks at the public meeting, and we submitted written comments on behalf of the industry, which were compiled with the help of many of the food safety and policy professionals at our member companies. Our comments focus on several key principles, including focusing on outcomes; leveraging existing tools; increasing communications with stakeholders; accounting for the food industry's variable resources and abilities; and how uniformity will promote success. Tech-enabled traceability and foodborne outbreak response New and evolving digital technologies will play a pivotal role in traceability moving forward. We encourage FDA to allow for flexibility in the adoption of technology to allow for innovation now and in the future. The agency should provide flexibility regarding the technology used for traceability and should recognize that there are multiple ways for companies to embrace technology to improve food safety and traceability.  Smarter tools and approaches for prevention Regardless of what technologies are used, we encourage FDA to identify essential data elements necessary for food safety and public health purposes that should be collected and shared throughout the supply chain. Simplifying key data elements will speed up investigations and streamline the critical information that must be communicated to improve response time and accuracy. The collaboration between stakeholders and the agency is critical to both responding and preventing food safety problems at the outset. Critical stakeholders and the agency should be committed to sharing timely information on outbreaks and contamination to better understand learnings and ways we can work together to prevent food safety events in the future. Transparency throughout investigations is also essential so both the agency and industry can improve based off past learnings.  New and emerging business models and retail food safety Business models are rapidly changing, and any regulatory framework should be broad in nature or have the ability to be flexible to adapt with business practices. Where there is a need to address potential risks, FDA should utilize existing organizations and forums such as the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) to bring together all stakeholders to collaboratively develop food safety solutions to protect public health. As FDA evaluates the new era of smarter food safety, we [...]
Mon, Jan 13, 2020
FMI News
By Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh, Industry Relations, FMI It's helpful to enter a new year armed with lessons learned in the prior year. This is especially the case for fresh foods, given the wide range of categories and the complexities of the business. In this spirit, I want to raise the profile of a few insights from FMI's 2019 fresh foods thought leadership. These are all based on reports that leveraged consumer surveys, and the findings will be instructive for 2020. 1. Produce Growth Lies in Frequency Household penetration for fresh produce is almost 100%. In other words, you can't get much higher than that. Given this reality, “growth in produce sales is not about finding more buyers, but about finding ways to encourage current buyers to purchase (and eat) fresh produce more often,” according to FMI's The Power of Produce report. This makes sense when you consider that shoppers aren't necessarily consuming produce every day. The report found that 36% of shoppers eat fresh fruits and vegetables three days a week or less. 2. Foodservice Has Lunchtime Opportunity Lunch isn't a consistent performer for many retail foodservice departments. Shopper engagement at lunchtime varies widely, according to FMI's The Power of Foodservice at Retail report. Retailers need to prioritize speed at lunchtime, offering the ability for consumers to get in and out of the store quickly. How quickly? Shoppers don't want to spend more than an average of 15 minutes waiting for their lunch order. Other important retail strategies are offering extensive grab-and-go assortments and making available easy parking. 3. Promotions Drive Meat Purchases The Power of Meat research found sales promotions can prompt unplanned meat and poultry purchases. In fact, nearly eight in 10 shoppers surveyed pointed to this influence. Promotions also can influence store switching among more than half of shoppers, the research found. Shoppers displaying the highest sensitivity to promotions are more likely to be parents and to use two to four social media platforms to develop meal ideas. 4. Seafood Accelerates by Generating Trial Retailers have a wide range of strategies available to boost trial in seafood, according to The Power of Seafood report. Sampling and in-store cooking demonstrations are highly effective, the research found. Moreover, most seafood customers are willing to act based on recommendations from their stores' seafood department. This might involve making a new recipe or buying a new seafood species. Other drivers of trial include recommendations from friends or family and information from television, online and social media. 5. Item Location Important in Bakery Food retail shoppers frequent both the bakery aisle and the in-store bakery, and they have definite opinions about preferred placement of items, according to The Power of Bakery report. For example, only 11% of shoppers prefer to find packaged bakery items in a separate aisle in the center of the store, which is the common scenario in most stores today. Many shoppers would prefer to see these items placed closer to the in-store bakery. This indicates a shopper interest in more integration of bakery items within a store. One strategy to consider is experimentation with putting select [...]
Fri, Jan 10, 2020
FMI News
By: Steven Harris, Director, Policy Development and Regulatory Compliance, FMI Lawmakers recently returned to Washington to begin the second session of the 116th Congress. While 2020 is often correlated with hindsight, our focus this year will be on laying the groundwork for the future scenarios expected throughout this year and in 2021. Most predictions for 2020 anticipate a year of the typical legislative gridlock associated with an election year, but we continue to look for opportunities to enhance our voice and relationships in Washington while advocating for the food industry's priorities. Election years can bring uncertainty into the mix, especially as it relates to the majority control of Congress. The House is currently controlled by the Democrats, whereas the Republicans hold the majority in the Senate. Should the upcoming elections change the status quo, we need to be prepared to work with new leadership and anticipate how the legislative agenda in Congress will change. FMI's top responsibility is to represent the priorities of our members, and we begin each year by surveying our members to ensure that we understand what these priorities are, but it is also our job to understand the impact of changing political tides on the industry and its priorities. As they say, elections have consequences, and we will look toward the 2020 elections to be prepared for all of the various consequences of the election results, including a potential change in administration and regulatory agency leadership, changes in committee leadership in Congress and the effect on the ideological breakdown on the Supreme Court should a vacancy occur. We will continue to urge Congress on a number of issues, including: Pass a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada. Pursue meaningful DIR fee reform. Fix the “retail glitch.” We encourage our members to continue their active participation in our advocacy efforts to boost our voice in Washington.  [...]
Thu, Jan 09, 2020
FMI News
By Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations - Private Brands, Technology, FMI The private brands industry is well positioned to gain ground in 2020. Why do I feel so positive about the outlook? It's because of a growing private brands commitment and strategic positioning by food retailers. These emerged in findings from two 2019 FMI research pieces: The Food Retailing Industry Speaks, and The Power of Private Brands-From the Industry. Benefiting From Growing Commitments The industry is prioritizing private brands through further commitments to space and SKU allocations. These commitments are very good indicators of category momentum. Some 58% of food retailers surveyed for Speaks are planning increases in space allocation to private brands over the coming two years. Only 2% anticipate a decrease, and 35% said it would hold steady. The picture was equally bright for anticipated SKU allocations. These forecasts underscore that retailers are committed to turning over more of their valuable real estate to private brands. Retailers recognize that private brands drives exclusivity, loyalty and the overall business. Leveraging Consumer Trends The private brands industry is staying on top of key consumer trends. A case in point is health and well-being. This trend was ranked considerably higher than before on the list of top private brands growth opportunities cited in the Industry report. Health and well-being also figured in other highly ranked opportunities, including fresh foods and simple/clean ingredients/free-from. As the Industry report noted, health and well-being means different things to different customer bases. Each retailer needs to figure out the relevancy for its own shoppers. Growing Experimentation The 2019 Speaks research found retailers are widely experimenting with ecommerce strategies. The private brands industry understands the importance of this experimentation. Home delivery and click-and-collect internet sales were identified as important growth opportunities by more than half of respondents in the Industry report. This indicates private brands executives view ecommerce more as an opportunity than a threat. National brands are sold on a growing range of platforms, but a retailer's private brand is available only on that retailer's own platforms, which include ecommerce. Retailers rightly view this as an opportunity for competitive differentiation. Driving Innovation Even as the private brands industry advances, it seems to remain humble. In the 2019 Industry research, trading partners were asked to judge their organization's private brands innovation levels. Only 14% said their organization's private brands are leaders in innovation. That compares to 33% saying follower, and 54% saying in the middle. These results make it seem the industry is very self-critical. But keep in mind that until the recent era of innovation, private brands was known as a “fast-follower” business. So given that lens, it's not surprising that most respondents identify their organizations as somewhere between innovation leader and follower. In my view, the long-term trend is clearly moving towards leader. I don't mind that the industry is humble. It indicates retailers and suppliers won't be fully satisfied until they drive innovation further. There are a number of reasons to feel good about the upcoming prospects for private brands. Among the biggest are the commitment and drive of industry leaders working to [...]
Tue, Jan 07, 2020
FMI News
By: Kathy Chiao, Marketing Specialist, SQFI Has your company set food safety resolutions for the new year?  Well, it all starts with building and nurturing a culture of food safety. Food safety doesn't begin or end at your food industry site. Food safety is critical at every step in the supply chain. Therefore, in a perfect world, every food industry site should have a food safety management system in place. For SQF stakeholders, our solution is the SQF Fundamentals Program.  The SQF Fundamentals Program is specially designed for small businesses that may not have the resources or time to leap into a GFSI benchmarked food safety program. SQFI is here to help your sites develop a robust food safety system and take it to the next level.  The SQF Fundamentals Program is: Practical and attainable. Has global recognition. Reduces costs. Provides brands safety and security.  We understand implementing a robust food safety system can be a daunting task. That's why we provide suppliers with a variety of resources, such as guidance documents and a knowledgeable customer support team. SQFI will be with you every step of the way.  Protect your brand and your interests with a fully integrated food safety certified supply chain. Encourage those in your supply chain to 'Take the First Step.'  SQF Fundamentals Program   [...]
Mon, Jan 06, 2020
FMI News
By: Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, CFS, Chief Food and Product Safety Officer and Senior Vice President Food Safety, FMI Online grocery shoppers are looking for convenience, but that doesn't mean they are willing to sacrifice their health and wellness goals. When it comes to serving online grocery shoppers, food retailers can do more to meet shoppers' health and wellness needs. The 2019 Retailer Contributions to Health and Wellness report finds that while 94% of food retail survey respondents offer online shopping, only 70% extend their health and wellness initiatives to those shoppers. Creating Shoppable Content FMI partnered with FitForCommerce, a boutique consultancy firm specializing in ecommerce and omnichannel retail, on the 2019 Grocery Omnichannel Index. This project included mystery shopping food retailers' omnichannel experiences and developing a benchmarking index to help food retailers meet expectations for seamless and convenient online grocery shopping experiences. One of the findings from this report is that only 50% of the grocers included in our mystery shopping have taken steps to make content shoppable. Shoppable content is one way to integrate health and wellness programs into the online experience. Retailers report social media, websites, mobile apps, and emails among the health and wellness communications tactics used. While these digital channels are being used to share health and wellness tips and suggestions, they are often not integrated into the online shopping experience. For example, if a store dietitian shares a weekly email with shoppers featuring a healthy meal plan, is the content easily shoppable for the email recipient? Creating shoppable health and wellness content can go a long way toward integrating a store's health and wellness program with online shopping efforts. Merging Health and Wellness Programs Online Food retailers also have an opportunity to leverage their most effective health and wellness tactics to enhance online shopping for customers. For example, store dietitians, rated a most effective health and wellness tactic, could take their services online with curriculums and counseling integrated with online shopping to help serve shoppers both in-store and online. Innovation Will Lead to Trust Opportunities abound for food retailers to leverage their health and wellness programs to better meet online shoppers' needs. By creating innovative programs, food retailers will continue to be a trusted partner by shoppers looking to meet their ‘eating well' goals both in-store and online. Download Retailer Contributions to Health and Wellness [...]
Thu, Jan 02, 2020
FMI News
By Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO, FMI  The Washington Nationals won the World Series this year and a city—long denied a Major League Baseball national-level athletic accomplishment—has not stopped rejoicing. Beyond the joy of having a team recognized as the best of the best, D.C. appears to be reveling in HOW their team did it as much as the fact THAT they did it. On their way to being named World Series champs, the Nats had their backs against the wall numerous times – even to the point of twice being one defeat away from elimination. Each time the team showed the necessary grit and dug its way out of the hole it found themselves in. On this trying path they had to overcome so many obstacles, the dugout mantra the team developed to keep them moving forward and motivated to persevere against the odds was, “Finish the Fight!” There is something particularly noble about accomplishments that have so many ups and downs and surprise developments that they require a special brand of perseverance. Finishing the fight requires overcoming the nagging drag of self-doubt when the path looks bleak; and it means—as a team— avoiding the tendency to blame others or play victim when the circumstances appear to be working against you. Victories achieved in against-the-odds battles that are long and hard have a special flavor to them that are a joy to savor. Looking at FMI's major accomplishments in 2019, there are two areas I am especially proud of because they have both required that special brand of perseverance: One was FMI's history-influencing achievement in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court victory (in a vote of 6 to 3) in its fight to protect retailer and shopper privacy. The Court's opinion affirmed that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was created to shine a light on the government, not on private parties, and the Supreme Court's holding creates an important precedent that will extend well beyond store-level Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) sales data in grocery. The second was our work with the federal agencies regarding the drama and trauma of the romaine lettuce advisory issued just before Thanksgiving last year. It appears the leafy greens drama continues, but the resources we've developed and the agency relationships we've established are certainly serving us as we press forward for better future results. Some other areas of note include our work to get the Food Retail Industry Alliance off the ground, the magnitude of research that FMI executed in 2019 and our blueprint to expand Safe Quality Food Institute's (SQFI) international scope and reach. All these projects, along with other FMI work, call upon us to persevere, continuing to advocate for the food industry until we finish the fight and then move on to other noble battles. For more details about the many ways FMI serves the industry, see our End of Year video and full 2019 Year in Review report, which highlights some of our points of perseverance in pursuit of the accomplishments of 2019. [...]
Fri, Dec 20, 2019
FMI News
By Marjorie DePuy, Senior Director, Supply Chain and Sustainability, FMI  As a society, we waste somewhere between 25-40% of the food that is grown, processed and transported. As we work to lower that number, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the measurements and action required, much less the information and reporting. This week, experts in measuring and reporting food loss and waste from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and ReFED shared new resources companies can use as they start or continue to set targets, measurements and actions in the effort to minimize food loss and waste. Measurement and Management Tools WRI's Overcoming Resistance to the Measurement of Food Loss and Waste guidance gives practical information and resources to overcome common obstacles to implementing measurement and management policies for food waste. The Approaches for Excluding the Weight of Packaging from the Weight of Food Loss and Waste (FLW) details approaches and guidance to selecting proper practices for food waste measurement. Food Loss Mapping WRI ‘s Food Waste Atlas, launched last year, gives users details, by product category and region, about food loss and waste. Updates to the Atlas include improved search speed/functionality, 200K more data points and more search filters. Coming soon is an online data submission form to make sharing data easier. Calculation Tools The ReFED Insights Engine gives additional support to companies looking to make the conversion from financial Point of Sale (POS) data to weight estimates, which most reporting frameworks for food waste require. ReFED has worked in partnership with Nielsen on calculators that incorporate publicly available data as well as proprietary data across 250 categories. The algorithms were developed to convert POS data to common weight measurement. The data behind the Insights Engine represents over 85% of U.S. grocery retail sales and includes random weight items sold by count or each. The data and methodology will be available early January 2020. Consumer Guidance Speaking of tools, this is a good time of year to remind customers about the FoodKeeper mobile app. Created through the work of FMI, the Cornell University Department of Food Science and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), this free, shopper-friendly tool helps shoppers know how best to store food and maintain freshness and quality, avoiding food waste at home. Armed with these tools, may 2020 be the year that households across the country and our entire food supply chain prevent food waste and improve recovery and recycling of excess food. [...]
Thu, Dec 19, 2019
FMI News
By: Hannah Walker, VP, Political Affairs, FMI and Elizabeth Tansing, Senior Director, State Government Relations, FMI Earlier this month, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a final rule, which makes changes to the waiver process for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program's (SNAP) work requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD), defined by federal law as individuals between the ages of 18 to 49 able to work and with no dependents.  An ABAWD may only receive SNAP benefits for three months out of every 36 months, unless the individual meets certain work requirements. Federal law requires these individuals to work a minimum of 80 hours per month to qualify for SNAP benefits beyond the three months in the 36-month timeframe. The work requirement can be filled in a variety of ways, including participating in workforce training.  However, as a safety net, USDA has historically granted work requirement waivers for those individuals living in states that can demonstrate unemployment rates above 10% and/or, a lack of sufficient jobs in their state or within localities in their state. Today, USDA's new rule tightens this waiver process. FMI did not submit comments on the proposed rule when it was first released in February 2019, but we have closely followed the process. Since the final rule - SNAP: Requirements for ABAWD - was released, FMI has heard from many of our members trying to better understand the rule and its potential impacts in their service areas. In addition, there have been varying, and sometimes conflicting, media reports, and even voices from both sides of the aisle that either support or oppose the rule.  Below are resources we hope will be helpful to you in better understanding what the final rule does, and in what areas it may create the most impact.  How does the final rule affect state-wide waivers?  First, the final rule generally eliminates state-wide waivers in favor of waivers based on specific geographic areas. (We'll delve into the definition of “geographic area” further below.)  Second, the final rule only allows a geographic area waiver to work requirements for those individuals in these scenarios: An area that has a recent 12-month average unemployment rate over 10%. An area that has a 24-month average unemployment rate 20% or higher above the national rate. Additionally, the affected area cannot have lower than 6% unemployment. How is “geographic area” defined? The rule makes changes to how “geographic areas” can be defined in order to meet the above criteria. Previously, states had great flexibility in defining areas that could receive waivers. The final rule strictly defines areas for eligibility using the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Labor Market Areas (LMA) and their corresponding Local Area Unemployment Statistics data (LAUs data). The final rule does acknowledge that all LMAs within a state may qualify for waivers and therefore effectively results in a statewide waiver. What about time limits on waivers? The final rule limits waiver duration to 12 months and allows for shorter durations at the state's request.  What states are impacted? Currently, four states and territories have statewide waivers while [...]
Wed, Dec 18, 2019
FMI News
By Julie Pryor, Director, Emerging Brands, FMI I work with emerging brands and have found that many of these newer brands focus on health and well-being, sustainable food production and sourcing ethical ingredients. These traits are revealed in the 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report, which finds the meaning of “eating well” continues to encompass health, enjoyment and social benefits as well as mindful connection with where food comes from. In order to “eat well,” shoppers connect health with eating nutritious food and beverages that are perceived as high-quality. Enjoyment is just as central to eating well ideals, exemplified by having tasty foods and beverages that are hearty and filling with family or friends. Eating foods and beverages that were sourced ethically and produced in a sustainable way is increasingly seen as essential, and if the attitudes of younger shoppers are any indication, this recent trend will continue. Meeting Shoppers' Desires FMI created the Emerge community because many of our subscribers offer a wide variety of product attributes that more and more shoppers desire. By helping to strengthen the stability of growing brands at shelf, food retailers can better match shoppers' needs. How Does Emerge Work? Whether helping a brand identify a new co-packer, being introduced to potential brokers or service providers, understanding how to succeed across ecommerce and direct-to-consumer, or discovering new packaging materials, conversations across the Emerge community focus on collaborating and benefiting from the knowledge and experiences of one another. Today, the entire community of more than 80 mentors, retailers, distributors and investors actively supports over 55 companies to increase grocery retail distribution and online sales, grow revenue and sales velocity, and ultimately secure more shelf space. Our education calendar shares valuable industry expertise, and the extensive mentor network is focused on providing companies with guidance to overcome their challenges and scale sustainably. Here is how a few of our mentors and sponsor companies support subscribers: Our 80+ mentors work one-on-one pro bono with our community emerging brands to help the companies move their business along in key areas such as retailer relationship building, ecommerce, packaging, distribution and financing. JOH, Westrock and BrandFirst bring their thought-leadership to the community and guide the Emerge program as sponsors. Nielsen connects with the Emerge subscribers and provides a complimentary starter data set and reports. Growing Emerging Brands The FMI Emerge program continues to see consistent and solid growth in its second year. Our team is proud of the community, companies and industry leaders who have joined us. Here are a few testimonials from our subscribers: “For a small brand wanting to scale sustainably, FMI Emerge is the most worthwhile $1,000 investment you can make. The Nielsen data, educational calls and resources are invaluable, and you get access to a community of industry experts ready to guide you.” —Alessandro Gerbini, Founder and CEO, Gatherer's Granola. “We know we still have a long way to go, and we don't have [...]
Tue, Dec 17, 2019
FMI News
By: Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, CFS, Chief Food and Product Safety Officer and Senior Vice President Food Safety, FMI New Year's resolutions often start with plans to be healthier. What if a shopper's new year, new you goal to be healthier could be achieved in a simple way—by doing something they already do regularly—going to the grocery store? That's right, shoppers' health and well-being goals can be achieved at their local grocery store. In-Store Health and Wellness Initiatives The 2019 Retailer Contributions to Health and Wellness report finds there are a wide variety of health and wellness initiatives provided right in the supermarket. Survey respondents shared that in more than 50% of their stores they offer: Good-For-You products. Healthy Recipes. Product Sampling. Menu Labeling. Better-For-You Prepared Foods. In addition to these free health and wellness opportunities, grocery stores offer several paid resources for shoppers including nutrition counseling (48%), cooking classes (48%), and wellness classes (44%). Opportunities to Expand Health and Wellness Options The report finds an increase in health and wellness activities offered by grocery stores over the years. At the same time, survey respondents report they value health and wellness programs for their business growth opportunity (70%), ability to meet consumer expectations (63%), capacity to build customer loyalty (54%) and ability to create “one-stop shops” (54%). This means there is an opportunity for food retailers and suppliers to expand in-store health and wellness options—but where to start? Survey respondents report that the least provided health and wellness services in-store (those available in less than 50% of stores under their banner), include: Weight Management Classes. Closed-Loop TV. Candy-Free Checkouts. New Mother Programs. Kiosks with Health Tips. Expanding these services is one way to dive deeper into the health and wellness proposition your stores offer. Grocery stores are trying innovative tactics such as incorporating exercise classes and wellness workshops into their offerings. Shoppers already see grocery stores as allies in their eating well goals, but as shoppers begin to depend on their grocery store more, we'll likely see neighborhood supermarkets transformed into health and wellness destinations. Download 2019 Retailer Contributions to Health and Wellness [...]
Mon, Dec 16, 2019
FMI News