Food Marketing Institute proudly advocates on behalf of the food retail industry.  FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion.  Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides valuable benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world.   FMI membership covers the spectrum of diverse venues where food is sold, including single owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores.   

The bond uniting FMI members is a commitment to maintaining and improving a system to distribute grocery products that is responsive to the changing needs and wants of customers and, at the same time, is sensitive to social, economic and governmental concerns. FMI also helps the industry develop systems and practices to move food from the producer to the consumer in the most efficient possible manner.

Based in Arlington, VA, FMI was formed in 1977 through the merger of the National Association of Food Chains and Super Market Institute, two organizations that had served the industry since the 1930s. FMI provides a broad range of services in the following areas:

Government Relations

Government Relations efforts focus on advocating industry positions on a wide range of issues to Congress and regulatory agencies. Cooperation with government, consumer organizations and related industry groups to promote grocery industry positions in the public interest is a major element in FMI government relations planning. Particular emphasis is given to liaison and cooperation with consumer organizations, the agricultural community and state and regional industry groups.

Food Safety Programs

 Food Safety Programs focus on four areas to prevent foodborne illnesses:
  • ensure that suppliers minimize contamination;
  • help retailers develop science-based controls at the store level; 
  • train employees how to safely store, handle and prepare foods; 
  • and teach consumers the most basic and effective measures to safeguard products. 
FMI spearheaded the creation of Fight BAC!®, an award-winning food safety education campaign for consumers. Working with the federal government, it helps notify the industry of product recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks. FMI developed the Rapid Recall Exchange powered by US GS1 to expedite the communication of standardized information about products being recalled from suppliers to retailers and wholesalers. The association also helps members with food safety crisis management and communications and helps educate members how to protect the food supply in the event of a natural disaster to security threat.

FMI Information Service

The FMI Information Service holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of information on food retailing, wholesaling and distribution. The service answers thousands of individual requests a year, ranging from a single statistic to a large compendium of material on a subject.

Education Programs

Education Programs include conferences, seminars and training materials designed to teach skills and to improve efficiency at all levels of management. Training and education programs are also designed to build employee morale and instill an awareness of the social and economic environment in which the industry operates. Conferences each year cover a wide range of subjects, from store security systems to food safety to recruiting, retaining and motivating employees. In 2009, FMI launched Future Connect, a leadership development forum. The association also publishes guidebooks and develops multimedia training programs on industry issues and practices. FMI’s convention features North America’s largest product exhibition and educational forum, held every other year in May.

Communications Program

 The Communications Program provides a reliable source of documented, objective information about industry performance and member views on public policy issues to the news media, government and other interested parties. Another key objective is to help member companies develop effective programs in community relations, urban affairs and managing diversity.

Consumer Affairs Program

The Consumer Affairs Program provides regular liaison with consumer interest groups, serves to create an understanding of the food distributor’s role in the food system, and identifies concerns of common interest among retailers and consumer representatives. A top priority is the development of consumer education, information and research programs on behalf of the members.

FMI Policies

FMI Policies are set by its Board of Directors, selected to represent the food distribution industry by sales volume and geographical location with equitable representation by food retailers and wholesalers of all sizes.