Industry News

Formerly Peapod by Giant, new Giant Delivers kicks off in D.C. metro area [...]
Mon, Oct 14, 2019
Supermarket News
Grocers can bolster category interest and activity by educating customers on the wide range of protein options [...]
Mon, Oct 14, 2019
Supermarket News
Latin American online grocery marketplace recently expanded to Toronto [...]
Mon, Oct 14, 2019
Supermarket News
Several executive changes made this week's Top 10, along with articles about leading Instacart grocery retailers, UFCW contract ratifications in California, and Lidl's health benefits for part-time employees in the U.S. [...]
Mon, Oct 14, 2019
Supermarket News
Closings continue regional grocer’s effort to optimize store base [...]
Fri, Oct 11, 2019
Supermarket News
Customers also see deep-discount grocer as less costly, Kantar study finds [...]
Fri, Oct 11, 2019
Supermarket News
Our Chief Information Officer (CIO) Council visited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT, for its fall meeting. Attendees learned about a project MIT graduate students are working on called Open Voice, which will provide an open source standards and platform to allow retailers to embed voice into consumer and operational activities without requiring them be on a proprietary platform.  [...]
Fri, Oct 11, 2019
FMI News
Food Lion To-Go program grows to 200 pickup sites [...]
Fri, Oct 11, 2019
Supermarket News
Food/beverage industry veteran returns to retail grocery [...]
Thu, Oct 10, 2019
Supermarket News
“Connected coffee” kiosk makes custom beverages on demand [...]
Thu, Oct 10, 2019
Supermarket News
Walmart to announce new Sam’s Club CEO at later date [...]
Thu, Oct 10, 2019
Supermarket News
Express grocery service becomes available at more Toronto-area stores [...]
Thu, Oct 10, 2019
Supermarket News
Consumer interest in new flavors and cuisines drives merchandising changes [...]
Thu, Oct 10, 2019
Supermarket News
Michael Fiddelke to succeed Cathy Smith as CFO [...]
Thu, Oct 10, 2019
Supermarket News
Acquisition continues Ahold Delhaize USA’s Pennsylvania expansion [...]
Wed, Oct 09, 2019
Supermarket News
The Save Mart Cos. last week opened a 54,000-square-foot Save Mart supermarket in Modesto, Calif., that CEO Nicole Pesco described as the chain’s first true flagship store. With that, the store serves as an innovation center to “position the Save Mar [...]
Wed, Oct 09, 2019
Supermarket News
By: Hannah Walker, Vice President, Political Affairs, Food Marketing Institute  As private sector partners with the federal government serving as points of redemption for customers receiving benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the integrity, efficiency and accessibility of SNAP are top priorities for FMI and our participating retail members. Grocery store serves as an area's economic and social hub providing safe affordable food and jobs while investing in local communities all across America. Over the past year, USDA and other agencies have announced proposed rules changes for SNAP participation. FMI has tracked these changes and provided commented on key issues that could affect our industry. I've highlighted a few proposals we're monitoring:  Revised Public Charge Rule (Department of Homeland Security) Finalized 8/12/19. The final rule amends regulations by prescribing how DHS determines whether an individual applying for admission or adjustment of status is inadmissible to the United States because he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Not previously considered when determining if someone may become a public charge, the rule now adds the acceptance of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid and federal housing assistance be considered when making a determination. The rule does not apply to WIC, school meals, and other child and older adult nutrition programs. FMI submitted comments in late 2018. In our comments, FMI focused on the rule's stated intent to not include benefits to children as part of the determination, including acceptance of WIC. However, 43% of households who participate in SNAP including children under the age of 18. SNAP benefits are extended to families, not individuals in the case of minor children. Therefore, in order to allow children to continue to receive food assistance via SNAP, any family with dependent children would need to be specifically excluded from the rule. The rule was finalized in late summer and is scheduled to go into effect on October 15, 2019. There are multiple legal challenges to this rule. Plaintiffs in the cases have asked the courts to issue preliminary injunctions to prevent the enforcement of the rule while it is being litigated. As of today, no injunction has been granted, but could be before October 15.  Revision of Categorical Eligibility in SNAP (USDA) Public Comment Closed 9/23/19. This proposed rule would change how a state can use broad-based categorical eligibility for TANF when determining if someone qualifies for SNAP benefits. Broad-based categorical eligibility means that the client automatically is eligible for SNAP because of their eligibility for TANF without having to file additional paperwork. Currently there are 42 jurisdictions utilizing broad-based categorical eligibility and a number of those states are providing either no monetary assistance to these participants or a small monetary contribution such as $15 per month. In the proposed rule, the Agency would require that in order to confer categorical eligibility for SNAP on a client family, cash or non-cash TANF benefits must now be both substantial and on-going. Substantial benefits would be valued as at least $50 per month and ongoing means that they must be received or eligible [...]
Wed, Oct 09, 2019
FMI News
By Steve Markenson, Director, Research, Food Marketing Institute It is not headline news that the food retail industry is facing a range of challenges, from the proliferation of competitors and competition for labor, to interchange fees and rising health care costs. Some of these issues remain the same, a few are new, and others are growing in intensity. With this range of challenges, food retailers are increasingly realizing that many of these challenges will never fully vanish, despite their best efforts. Based on response to the 2019 The Food Retailing Industry Speaks survey, food retailers are moving forward with proactive strategies to navigate the barriers and embrace new opportunities. As part of this process, food retailers are learning how to survive and thrive in any environment. How can food retailers benefit from this year's Speaks report? Here are a few next steps to consider: Interpret Success Formulas The Speaks report is full of ideas that are working for food retailers, from fresh foods to health and well-being. However, in order to make best use of the findings, retailers need to determine how to interpret these success strategies for their customer base. That will require customization and differentiation. Experiment and Pivot Food retailers are increasingly favoring test and pivot approaches before deciding on larger investments. This is an especially useful strategy to help ensure success with differentiation and innovation initiatives. Weigh Complex Factors Too often issues seem black and white. Costs are bad. Sales are good. However, more retailers are winning by realizing things aren't always so simple. A case in point is rising health care costs. These have concerned retailers for years. Nevertheless, more retailers are eyeing the positives of absorbing such costs to address another big challenge: the need to attract and retain employees. Bring New Creative Solutions This year's Speaks identifies many creative retailer success strategies developed in reaction to enduring challenges such as widespread competition and changing consumer behaviors. New challenges come along all the time. This year's Speaks identifies emerging hurdles. Retailers have the opportunity to bring new creative solutions to bear on the industry's latest hurdles. The 70th edition of Speaks is about food retailers taking matters into their own hands, a skill-set likely to become increasingly important in the fast-changing landscape. It's a recognition that challenges will not go away, and the best way to grow momentum is through proactive strategies and solutions. Download the Food Retailing Industry Speaks and Webinar [...]
Tue, Oct 08, 2019
FMI News
By: Ashley Eisenbeiser, MS, CFS, Senior Director, Food and Product Safety Programs, Food Marketing Institute The New Era of Smarter Food Safety, an FDA initiative to enhance FSMA implementation and leverage new and emerging technologies to advance food safety, is all the buzz these days. Blockchain, machine learning, whole genome sequencing are just a few examples of innovations being leveraged to safeguard the food supply and protect public health. The food industry is embracing these advances and with the adoption of new, cutting-edge digital solutions and innovative, scientific tools, the future of food safety is promising. FMI supports the advancement of food protection technologies and best practices throughout the supply chain in order assure our food is the safest it can be.  In 2017, FMI, in partnership with the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI), established the Food Safety Innovation Award to honor a company, organization, or regulatory agency that demonstrates a commitment to the advancement of food protection through performance, practice, creation, sustainability and leadership.  Food Safety Innovation Award nominations are now being accepted and are due by November 1, 2019. Presentation of the award will take place in conjunction with the FMI Food Safety Committee Meeting on January 24, 2020, in Phoenix, AZ.   For questions about the award or to submit a nomination, please contact Ashley Eisenbeiser at aeisenbeiser@fmi.orgor 202-220-0689. Apply for the Food Safety Innovation Award [...]
Mon, Oct 07, 2019
FMI News
By Margaret Core, Vice President, Marketing & Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute In his June address to an audience of 6,000 at their annual associates and shareholders celebration, Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart Inc. shared, “If I oversimplify our ability to thrive in the future, it comes down to one thing: our ability to solve problems together well enough and fast enough.” Later in his presentation, he expanded on change, saying, “Retail will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50.” McMillon's two statements ring true as I reflect on my time at Groceryshop 2019. Here are some takeaways from the event: Partnership Is Still Essential When tackling technology solutions, there is a need for retail, CPG, and tech providers to come together and share conversations, best practices and strategic insights in order to find opportunities that might be right for their specific business needs.   Retail Teams Are Changing Retailer teams are becoming more cross-functional and better at decision making across functional areas. We were thrilled to see FMI retail members send larger teams to Groceryshop 2019, showing that explorations and decisions are being tackled in cross-functional teams. The roadmap to a successful digital strategy is built on organizational collaboration and integration. Customer Data Requires Building Trust Every food retail company has one thing in common right now—without meaning to, they have become proprietors of a new kind of trust dealing with customer data. The flip side of acquiring consumer data is that customers hold the food retailer to certain expectations—namely, taking steps to safeguard their privacy. What are you doing to build data trust and privacy? How are you preparing for the coming privacy revolt? Pay attention to the signs, so you can have a strategy in place. Shopping Is Changing Customers are using online tools during their awareness and discovery shopping process as well as to purchase online and offline. Retailers and brands need to adapt and roll out new models to deliver on rising customer expectations. Omnichannel retail models require retailers and brands alike to reinvent how they deploy people, technology, marketing and media. Highly engaged omnichannel shoppers are critical to growth, but how do you pivot to take advantage of the opportunity to win them over? Resources from Groceryshop 2019 As a partner with Groceryshop, we're delighted to share: Videos of general session keynotes approved for sharing. 1,000+ photos of the event. Some of the extensive media coverage, including in Business Insider and Forbes. Must see videos from the “Get to Know the Speaker Series” filmed onsite. We're looking forward to Groceryshop 2020, which will take place on Sept. 14-17, 2020 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. Our next stop is FMItech@Midwinter, Jan. 24-27, 2020, where retailers and CPG will continue to share ideas with solution providers with Tech Talks, Tech Exchange meeting tables and more.   Omnichannel Resources [...]
Fri, Oct 04, 2019
FMI News
By: Dana Graber, Regulatory Counsel, Food Marketing Institute The food retail industry is continuously looking for ways to increase cost-predictability to help ensure that prices stay low for consumers. This includes reducing the potential risk of costly litigation wherever possible. Recently, FMI hosted a webinar for members to examine the Americans with Disability Act, or “ADA,” based on recent trends in litigation, and ways to help mitigate potential risk. In particular, the webinar focuses on Title III of the ADA which applies to “places of public accommodations,” and generally helps to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal enjoyment of and access to the goods, service, privileges, etc. offered by these places. Our Quick Reference Guide is also available to help remind members what is required under the ADA.  Although there are many legitimate complaints, the ability to get attorneys' fees and statutory damages (in some states) has to some degree made Title III an easy target for plaintiff's attorneys looking to make a quick buck.  While the number of cases in federal courts continue to increase rapidly, webinar speaker Amber Roller of Ogletree Deakins, indicated that a significant portion never make it to court. Rather, many plaintiff's attorneys simply send a demand letter alleging a Title III violation and threatening litigation, with the expectation that many businesses will choose to simply settle outside of court. Because the settlements are often between $3,000 - $15,000 depending on the jurisdiction, potential defendants, including food retailers, regularly find it more cost efficient to simply settle. Many of the demand letters and litigation focus around “architectural barriers” and websites, as these are often easy targets. For the architectural barriers category, parking lots are the subject of many demand letters since potential plaintiffs can often locate violations using satellite mapping systems or without entering the stores. Restrooms are another common target, as plaintiffs can easily search for wrapped pipes, appropriate hardware, etc. or measure sink, strike side door clearance, etc. out of view.  Similarly, potential plaintiffs can browse websites for possible violations without even being in the same state as a store. In addition to the webinar, we have worked with outside counsel to prepare some additional resources to help members reduce their risks.  FMI's Quick Reference Guide: Common Architectural Barriers provides members with an easy reference guide for common barriers in the parking lot, restrooms, checkout aisles, and in other general areas of the store.  The Quick Reference Guide: Website Accessibility looks at potential standards stores can look to and ways that stores can reduce risk when developing their website. Watch The Webinar Recording [...]
Thu, Oct 03, 2019
FMI News
By: Rick Stein, Vice President of Fresh, Food Marketing Institute  For National Seafood Month in October, the Seafood Nutrition Partnership™ (SNP) is bringing the focus back to family. The FMI Foundation partnered with SNP to emphasize the importance of family meals, expanding National Family Meals Month™ throughout the year and into a true movement - the Family Meals Movement.  Seafood consumers represent valuable segments of shoppers. When seafood is part of the basket, the average basket size almost triples. Compared to the average consumer, the seafood consumer has a higher average household income and spends more on groceries than the average shopper, according to the 2019 Power of Seafood.  As a retailer, you know customers are often overwhelmed by the options at the seafood counter or confused about how best to prepare a tasty fish dish. A toolkit created by SNP for National Seafood Month can help answer consumer questions and inspire customers to make healthier choices for themselves and for their families. Your seafood department works hard to provide your customers quality, sustainable seafood. Now, let's showcase the delicious offerings in your stores. Help Customers Be More Confident in Purchasing Seafood Selecting and cooking seafood is simple for those who have eaten it for a while. But, for others, it can be intimidating. Power of Seafood 2019 reports, consumers would like to try different types of seafood if someone advised them. That's where your seafood department can step in. For many consumers, seafood isn't something they grew up eating or isn't as familiar to cook with as poultry. They need a little help to confidently make the seafood purchase. Mealtime Solutions Good for Shoppers and Business Taking part in National Seafood Month and the Family Meals Movement reminds shoppers and the larger community that your company advocates for families every day by offering sustainable, healthy solutions that help busy families get wholesome meals on the table. Positioning your company as an extension of the family unit and a problem solver, creating more engagement, community, trust, and loyalty.  How Food Retailers Can Participate Take it to the aisles. Conduct “open houses” or tours of your seafood counter; partner with other departments to create whole meal solutions. In the Kitchen. Show customers how easy preparing seafood can be AND how delicious it is! Talk about Seafood. Provide your store staff with talking points to engage customers in conversation; post delicious recipes on your blogs; and share tips, tricks and promotions on social. Be Creative. Get kids involved in cooking classes; create a “Catch of the Week.” Join us as we work collaboratively with retailers from across the country to bring families back to the table all year long.  Download The National Seafood Month Toolkit [...]
Wed, Oct 02, 2019
FMI News
By Rick Stein, Vice President, Fresh Foods, Food Marketing Institute Technology can be a game changer in fresh foods because it brings new solutions to longstanding problems. These include challenges related to inventory, waste, freshness, and food safety. However, the technology story will play out differently in fresh because of the unique aspects of this part of the business. Consider how Deloitte's Brian Baker, managing director in the retail and consumer goods practice, framed the topic during a technology panel at the recent FMI FreshForward conference in Minneapolis. “We in fresh have done things the same way for decades,” he said. “There are new technologies that can really help to give better visibility, insight and actionable information. Technology is enabling fresh to become more predictable, more profitable, smart and connected.” FreshForward technology panelists outlined opportunities to make more and better use of current and emerging technologies in fresh. Solutions for Today's Challenges It's imperative for stakeholders to better communicate the benefits of technology for fresh foods, said panelist Michael Lang, partner, Invatron Systems Corp. “We all need to tell the technology story better in fresh, so the industry understands it and is motivated to act,” he said. “There are tangible operational benefits with some pretty simple technology.” He explained that technology can make fresh operations more efficient, boost same store sales growth, and reduce shrink. Best of breed technology needs to address the extreme complexities of fresh item management, which vary by category, he added. Areas of focus need to include demand chain, perpetual inventory, and lead times and labor availability. Prospects for AI and Machine Learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a big topic of discussion across food retail, and its relevance in fresh foods needs to be understood, said panelist Nick Ciminillo, vice president of retail solutions, RELEX Solutions. “There's a lot of hype around AI disruption,” he said, noting that some of the ultimate supply chain benefits are still in the future. However, “specialized AI” is already solving challenging problems by using machine learning, he added. An example of this is analyzing demand based on weather effects. Moreover, “transparent AI” is being used to help solve repetitive problems, such as finding reasons for regular spoilage of certain products on the same day of the week. Ciminillo said fresh replenishment is a crucial area for industry focus, and new technologies enable stakeholders to get more granular. This involves analyzing the cost of waste versus the cost of out of stocks, for example, and taking into account differences in demand by day. Using Technology to Boost the Fresh Supply Chain Deloitte's Baker said technology can help battle a longtime challenge like the perpetual waste cycle. He referred to the term “digital to physical loop” to describe how the value chain can be improved through a new wave of digital technologies. The benefits include waste reduction and improved fresh quality. Tools such as advanced analytics, AI and machine learning drive the improvements. There's also an opportunity to leverage other technologies, including Blockchain, in new ways to benefit fresh, he said. Identifying Next Steps for the Industry Attendees at FreshForward broke [...]
Tue, Oct 01, 2019
FMI News
By Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO, Food Marketing Institute The year The Food Retail Industry Speaks made its inaugural appearance, Harry S. Truman was President, Rogers and Hammerstein's South Pacific featuring Some Enchanted Evening opened on Broadway, and the world's first jet airliner – the de Haviland Comet – made its maiden voyage in England. Much has changed since 1949 and FMI's annual survey of U.S. food retailers and wholesalers has tracked it all, providing members with key inside-the-industry assessments of all the changes, developments and happenings in the noble world of food retailing. What did the 70th version of Speaks reveal? It paints the picture of a resilient industry continuing to address the diverse range of challenges confronting it. Some of the hurdles are old and familiar, such as growing interchange fees and rising health care costs. Some issues, like transportation challenges, are new. And some—such as the proliferation of competitors—have grown in intensity. Here are a few Speaks related examples of how retailers are successfully adapting to the emerging new food landscape: Turning Costs into Gains Health care costs continue to rise, yet food retailers have managed to absorb increases and still produce positive financial outcomes and leverage health benefits as a means of successfully attracting and retaining employees. Staying Ahead of Consumers Consumers are shaking things up as they shift buying behaviors, but retailers are embracing the changes in ways that advance their reputations for attributes such as health and well-being, personalized customer service and transparency. Achieving Benefits from Disruption Technology is driving new in-store and online imperatives, and food retailers are responding by leveraging technology to improve productivity and customer experience. Reminiscent of the notion that the best way to predict the future is to shape it, Speaks 2019 discloses some of the ways food retailers are taking matters into their own hands, and adapting faster. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from this year's Speaks survey of the food retail industry: Well-being Viewed as Bigger Positive The health and well-being proposition and the food as medicine trend continue to gain momentum as the two most powerful factors positively impacting sales and profits. Solidifying Consumer Connections Food retailers are striving to engage more deeply with consumers, including through diverse promotional efforts, transparency initiatives, use of technology and community programs. Proactive Approaches to Labor Labor issues, from upward wage pressure to challenges in recruiting and retaining employees, are affecting retail performance. Nevertheless, food retailers are navigating in ways that ensure business success, such as using compensation and benefits to ensure a steady supply of talent. Fresh News About Fresh Success Fresh foods continue to drive product differentiation. A strong boost in success for categories such as produce, fresh prepared, and meat/poultry relays a highly positive story. Technology Experimentation Advances Food retailers are moving forward with a range of ecommerce initiatives as they strive to enhance their online shopping sophistication and engage customers. In addition, they are using and experimenting with technology to improve the in-store experience and their operational efficiency. Food Retailers Adapt for Success The list of challenges facing retailers could fill a Speaks report all by [...]
Mon, Sep 30, 2019
FMI News
By Matthew Viohl, Manager, Labor Policy & Sustainability, Food Marketing Institute Last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced proposed changes to the hours of service requirements that govern commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers on U.S. roadways. The FMCSA is a sub-agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation whose key mission is to reduce collisions, injuries, and fatalities through regulation of the trucking and busing industry. Specifically, hours of service regulations address the total number of hours CMV holders can operate their vehicles on a daily and weekly basis. They must follow such guidelines as taking a mandatory 34-hour break (at minimum) following 60 or 70 hours of on-duty work in seven or eight consecutive days, respectively. Additional provisions regulate compulsory break times, time spent in the sleeper berth, and consecutive hours driven. With the proposed changes, the FMCSA is attempting to add much-needed flexibility for drivers in figuring out how they can adjust their workdays to meet the challenges of unforeseen delays and adverse driving conditions. These modifications wouldn't just help improve the efficiency of their day-to-day hauling, but it importantly should also improve overall safety for drivers as well. Grocers know all too well the important role the trucking industry plays not just for food retailers, but for the American economy more broadly. Trucks are responsible for moving 70% of all freight tonnage in the U.S. every year, which includes virtually every product found on grocery store shelves. With the average supermarket carrying over 30,000 unique items, grocers are constantly receiving goods throughout the day. Whether a food retailer manages their own fleet or not, efficiency and safety for truckers remains a critical component of ensuring those items make it to customers' shopping carts. The FMCSA hosted a public listening session recently in which FMI contributed comments, signaling our support for the direction the agency is taking on these regulations. Although no proposal is likely to be a perfect fit for this diverse industry, it is encouraging that the federal government is listening closely to what truckers, businesses, safety advocates, and other organizations have to say on these changes. As with our support for the DRIVE-Safe Act (H.R. 1374, S. 569)—legislation that would allow drivers under the age of 21 to operate CMVs in interstate commerce after extensive safety and training requirements—FMI believes that practical, business-friendly solutions and enhanced safety obligations can go hand-in-hand when addressing such regulatory challenges. It doesn't simply have to be an “either/or” approach. With a filing period still open to the public until October 21st, FMI urges members to reach out with feedback they think would be beneficial as our organization looks to submit additional written comments to the FMCSA in the coming weeks. [...]
Fri, Sep 27, 2019
FMI News
National Family Meals Month™ is coming to a close, but the family meals celebration is still going strong. Here are some of the ways the food retail industry is helping consumers share more meals together. Food Manufacturers—The Kraft Heinz Company and Unilever Many food manufacturers are supporting National Family Meals Month on social media like Unilever's brand Hellman's and The Kraft Heinz Company's brand Oscar Mayer: National Cattlemen's Beef Association Shari Steinbach, a food and nutrition strategist, in partnership with National Cattlemen's Beef Association, shared tips and tricks to make easy family meals with beef on a news segment. Her tips included using versatile ingredients, using cooking technology, and featuring family favorites. She also showcased two beef recipes- Beef Lasagna and Roast Beef Wraps. National Cattlemen's Beef Association also supported National Family Meals Month on twitter. Fareway Stores Fareway Stores helped customers share more meals through an omnichannel approach. Weekly recipes available at their meat counters, magazine and online. They tagged the ingredients in store to make the meal even easier to put together. Corresponding recipe videos were shared on store TVs, on social media and on local news stations throughout Iowa. It is never too early to start planning for National Family Meals Month in September 2020!  Please let us know how we can assist you as you help to make next year's campaign the best one yet!  Also, don't forget to submit your company's National Family Meals Month program to be considered for the coveted Gold Plate Awards.  Winners will be announced during the FMI Foundation's Stir It Up! event in January.  Submit at Gold Plate Award Nomination [...]
Fri, Sep 27, 2019
FMI News
By Sue Wilkinson, Senior Director, Information Service & Research, Food Marketing Institute My first loyalty card was obtained in the late 1980s from a food retailer that displayed member and nonmember prices on products throughout the store. If you had a card, you got the better price. At the time, there was no indication of any other benefit to me than a price discount, and the tradeoff was the retailer now had my personal information— a benefit to the company, from my point of view. Privacy concerns were a stumbling block for some of these early programs, and food retailers had to convince shoppers that their personal information was safe. Thirty years later shoppers are still sharing data with their grocery store, privacy is still a concern, and there is a limit to the willingness of shoppers to share personal information for specific benefits. According to the 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report, 45% of shoppers say they “definitely” or “probably” would provide their store with personal information for a better shopping experience. Shoppers are most willing to trade personal information for benefits most closely tied to the basic tasks of shopping, including: Discounts (64%). Faster trips (57%). Product selection that reflects their needs (53%). Willingness to trust retailers with their personal information trails off as benefits become more specific and specialized. For example, at the bottom of the list we see: Trading personal information for ideas on meeting my family's health and well-being needs (37%). Customized food and beverages to meet my needs (36%). Personalized service experience—help me shop (36%). So, what is a food retailer to do to earn trust and create a personalized shopping experience for the shopper? Trends research suggests shoppers would like grocery stores to offer benefits with the widest appeal in a more efficient and personalized way. The most immediate route to success for retailers is to innovate and improve within their traditional channel strengths. Introducing elements that cater to those more specialized benefits require grocers demonstrate greater expertise and creditability. Each week as I swipe my loyalty card, I think about the gas points I'll accrue and the money I will save. I think I'm ready to try out some of those more specialized benefits, like targeted coupons (the ones I get are for products I'll never buy), recommendations for new products I'd like based on my shopping habits, and ideas for customized meal plans. Bring it on! Download U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends [...]
Thu, Sep 26, 2019
FMI News
By Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations, Food Marketing Institute When the lights suddenly go out at the Baker household my family knows the plan. My wife grabs the candles, I get out the batteries and flashlights, we conserve our cellphone power and keep the refrigerator door closed. But, the most important thing we do when the lights go out at home is call the power company to report the outage — this helps identify the issue in our community and returns power faster. When the lights go out at the grocery store, especially when it is related to a natural disaster, a similar action plan is needed. Like my family, one of the first and most critical steps is reporting the store status. While an individual store may report their status to headquarters, how is that information being reported to federal, state and local governments? Especially during a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or flood, notifying government authorities about the status of your stores can help get your doors reopened sooner. FMI is partnering with SABER, the Single Automated Business Exchange for Reporting, to offer food retailers a streamlined system for reporting business status following a natural disaster or other crisis event. SABER improves how the private sector provides business status information to federal, state and local government agencies. Here's how SABER works: Food retailers and other businesses pre-enroll in SABER for free and are set up with a simple spreadsheet that gets uploaded to SABER's website. SABER can also work with companies to build an automated connection. When the lights go out, food retailers use SABER to report business status information. This information populates the SABER Status Map. Federal, state and local governments utilize the SABER Status Map to coordinate response efforts. For example, FEMA may provide funding for a generator to a specific store to help them open their doors sooner and better serve the community in need. FMI has joined with SABER because we believe that this system saves time; improves timeliness and accuracy of information; and reduces gaps, overlaps, and inconsistencies in the critical information that governments use to prioritize response decisions. When the lights go out, you need backup plan. We encourage all food retailers to pre-enroll in SABER at no cost so their first step in a response backup plan is in place. To learn more, watch our webinar discussion about SABER. Enroll in SABER   [...]
Wed, Sep 25, 2019
FMI News
By: Andy Harig, Vice President, Tax, Trade, Sustainability & Policy Development, Food Marketing Institute I came into the food retail industry having spent the whole of my early career in the public policy arena. On my first day at the Food Marketing Institute, I was issued a book called America the Bountiful: How the Supermarket Came to Main Street and encouraged to study it as background for understanding the industry and how it developed. In its pages I found a quote that has stuck with me: We tried to tell them about the supermarkets in America, but they would not believe it at all. It was a mark of all this abundance in a land of opportunity. It really told a wonderful story of America to the people in countries abroad. John A. Logan National Association of Food Chains Quoted in America the Bountiful Mr. Logan was speaking of the post-World War II era, but his point is just as true today. Supermarkets and grocery stores continue to tell a wonderful story of America and its prosperity to the world. As the nation has evolved and diversified, so have our stores. When you enter your local grocery, you'll find produce and specialty food items from literally dozens of countries; today's supermarket and its offerings is as diverse as the America we serve and very much a reflection of the nation. Part of what has made this possible is the industry-supported effort of the United States to expand trading relationships around the globe. The guacamole you enjoy during football games most likely is made with avocados from Mexico and the lamb chops you throw on the grill could come from Australia or New Zealand. Sixty years ago, these products would not have been readily available to most consumers or would have been prohibitively expensive; but expanding trade and opening new markets has helped the U.S to create and maintain the safest, healthiest, most affordable food supply in the world. It has also offered U.S. producers new populations and markets to purchase their goods, creating a boon for consumers around the world. Because of this abundance, trade has been dominating a lot of the economic headlines over the past few years. Part of that is driven by the fact President Trump has pursued a different policy approach than many previous presidents but other factors have fueled concerns, as well. The scope and extent of these issues can be daunting: Congress must pass the USMCA (sometimes short-handed as NAFTA 2.0) this fall in order to avoid economic instability. Stalled trade talks with China have resulted in tariffs being applied on most Chinese imports into the United States (including food and drugs). Steel and aluminum tariffs have driven up the cost of new construction and store refurbishments, as well as aluminum cans. A long-standing United States – European Union (EU) dispute over aircraft subsidies looks like it may result in tariffs being placed on many imports of specialty foods from [...]
Tue, Sep 24, 2019
FMI News
By Steve Markenson, Director of Research, Food Marketing Institute The answer to the question is – let me count the ways. This year's U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report takes a deep dive into the growing world of online shopping and explores how the evolving ecommerce world is changing how Americans shop for food and how that may impact food retailers. On the surface, we know that online shopping is growing. The numbers may vary, but they all point to significant growth. Trends allows us to get below the surface to understand the who, what, how and why of online shopping. Here are a few of the things we learned. What is the market penetration of online shopping? While 43% of shoppers have shopped online for groceries in the past year, only about half of those, or 21% of all shoppers, do so on a regular or monthly basis. Some grocery shoppers have been driven to try online shopping by promotions, advertising or even curiosity, only to revert back to their established, preferred habits of in-store food shopping. Only 10% of shoppers are frequent (at least once every two weeks) online shoppers. It's a Millennial thing, right? This year, the growth story is with Gen Xers, who are now shopping online to almost the same extent as Millennials. Also, Gen Zers are coming of shopping age in an online world. As such, they are jumping in with online grocery shopping at levels on par with Millennials. So, no, online grocery shopping is not just a Millennial thing. Why do online grocery shoppers' matter? One reason is online grocery shoppers do a lot of shopping and a lot of shopping around. While the typical shopper will visit about 4.4 retail banners a month, frequent online grocery shoppers visit an average of almost twice as many retailers monthly (8.0). These frequent online shoppers spread their food dollars around and there are a lot of them. Frequent online shoppers are big spenders, paying an average of $167 per week (vs. $114 for all shoppers) for food and groceries. For frequent online shoppers, while 39% of their grocery dollars are spent online, they are still spending an average of $108 per week in-store. How do online shoppers want to get their groceries? The “last mile” options for online fulfillment are evolving. Retailers are offering and improving ways they handle order fulfillment to appeal to various shopper needs and desires. This year, we found that more shoppers are choosing click-and-collect/pick-up at the store over same-day delivery. A growing share also leveraging subscribe-and-save models or other types of subscription services. What are grocery shoppers ordering online? We have seen changes in the grocery categories shoppers more readily incorporate into their online purchases, but center store categories continue to dominate. These are exactly the sort of categories that lend themselves to shipping, but also where shoppers can trust brands they purchase repeatedly to deliver. Meanwhile, shoppers have shown some resistance to buying fresh (produce, meats, etc.) categories online as they prefer to be able to [...]
Mon, Sep 23, 2019
FMI News