As an invitation-only, executive-level event, Midwinter education programming is designed to provide focus, insights, and discussion on areas of key strategic importance to FMI members.

This year our educational ventures will focus on the diverse ways consumer empowerment is reshaping the role of the retailer. More than ever before, customer trust and loyalty is being determined not only by the value of the products and services offered, but also by the way the company values are being communicated and demonstrated. Shoppers want you to know them, but they want to know you, so they can be assured you share the concerns they hold dear. You will want to be part of this conversation as we explore the new levels of customer connections and what those connections points will mean for you personally and professionally. 

The educational component at Midwinter will be grounded in retail-time specifics and chocked full of substantive and relevant content. It will examine issues through the eyes of both professional subject matter experts from a bird's eye perspective and the more focused lens of the food industry by way of response panels comprising of retail and manufacturing industry senior executives. 


The New Consumer: A 360 Degree View
Doug Stephens
Doug Stephens, The Retail Prophet

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 Who is the "new consumer" we keep hearing about? Experts, analysts and our own instincts tell us that the emerging consumer plans, shops and eats differently than the one we've known and designed our business around for years. But individual data points paint different pictures of the new consumer: she's younger or older, depending on whether you focus on Boomers or Millennials; he's more likely to be Hispanic or Asian, depending on the neighborhood; she's less likely to be loyal to a primary store or specific brand and more likely to use technology as part of their process; he's more likely to be either a value or premium shopper but not a middle of the road buyer. How do all these pieces fit together to reveal a functional picture of who this new consumer is and how is he or she different? In this session, we'll step back and take a full 360-degree look at the characteristics, motivations, and behaviors of the shoppers in our aisles today and who will be driving our business tomorrow. 

Panelists will discuss the new consumer qualities they are seeing in their business today and what they expect in the near future. 

Beyond the Cash Register: the Societal Impact of the New Consumer

John Zogby
John Zogby, Pollster and Trendspotter
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Six years ago noted pollster and "maverick predictor" John Zogby foretold many aspects of the new consumer in his best-selling book, The Way We'll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of the American Dream. His Americans would be living with limits, embracing diversity, seeking spiritual comfort, and demanding authenticity. Today, we see Americans he described beginning to impact every aspect of our society: elections, family structure, business practices, and international discourse. In this session, Zogby will further explore the economic, political and social impacts of the new consumer.