We invite you to read through our 2016 accomplishments and resources for members outlined below. Download the Full 2016 Year in Review
When you’re in the kitchen trying to grow your culinary skills, you want to make sure you’re prepared with the right ingredients that will set you up for success. In a similar way, wholesalers and retailers spent 2016 cultivating their fresh prepared foods community that will deliver a prosperous 2017. Thanks to our members, the fresh foods community experienced tremendous growth this year; we introduced a new council, and a handful of new research and goals.
A compilation of the monthly agendas for the 2016 resource calls of FMI’s Communications and Consumer Affairs Council (CCA) reads like the chapter headings of Everything You Wanted to Know about Food Retail in 2016, But Were Afraid to Ask.
Total Store Collaboration is a core strategic pillar of FMI and is our wrap-around means of describing our approach to fostering partnerships between retailers, manufacturers, and distributors in the food industry. While retailer/supplier collaboration is an oft-discussed topic and wished for industry aspiration, FMI is in a unique position to facilitate the conversations needed for true cooperative effort to move from dream to reality. In the past year, we’ve built significantly on the initiative (started in early 2014) by expanding our collaborative communities and focusing on high priority industry issues.
Consumers believe their food retailer is a trusted ally to help them achieve their health and wellness goals. According to 2016 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends research, 45 percent of shoppers say their grocery store is working to help them stay healthy. In addition 89 percent of shoppers believe eating at home is healthier than eating at a restaurant. For these reasons, almost three-quarters of retailers say that consumer wellness and family health is a strategy they use to build a competitive advantage and most say they will use more nutrition, health and retail dietitian programs in the future.
In 2016, the FMI Foundation made huge strides to help Americans eat one more family meal at home each week. September, National Family Meals Month™ transitioned from a social media campaign to a living, breathing campaign alive in stores, on TV, on the radio, and in print and digital advertising.
In 2016 the food retail industry faced significant challenges and private brands were arguably at the center of every one of the year’s most significant and historical events. Private brands were engaged in the GMO legislation battles in Vermont and the massive efforts on the federal level. Private brands were front and center when it came to updating FDA Nutrition Labeling and Education Act regulations and were at the epicenter of the ground-shaking effects of implementing Food Safety Modernization Act rules, with its systemic overhaul. Through it all, private brand owners navigated government disruptors in addition to managing deflationary pressures; aggressive competitors; grocery shoppers’ increased affinity for prepared foods from non-traditional channels; and stagnate shopper traffic.
Building a strong membership program can be equated to the quote, “Without a solid foundation, you’ll have trouble creating anything with value.” In 2016, the FMI Membership department continued to build a robust and valuable membership program by focusing on new member recruitment, as well as building breadth and depth with existing members. We worked to developed new programs, roles, and communication strategies to meet the needs of our expanding membership base. This year FMI welcomed 21 new retail and wholesale members and 93 new associate members. We’re grateful for the support and engagement of the FMI Officers and Board members who assisted in FMI’s successful recruiting process.
While we carefully monitor the numbers, we also know we serve FMI members best by providing high-quality opportunities for them to learn what they need to grow their businesses and to meet one another face to face. So the “AND” is an important part of the sentence.
Consumers were undoubtedly anxious in 2016, but the “sustainability bandwagon” kept rolling for food wholesalers and retailers. The industry’s commitment to creating sustainable supply chains and proactively engaging on a broad spectrum of corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues is ingrained in business operations; it has become part of corporate culture. FMI’s work on sustainability throughout 2016 mirrored this fact.
According to the Chinese calendar, 2016 was the year of the monkey. One could fairly say that there was a monkey on our stakeholders’ back this year, and its name was FSMA. Sorting through FDA’s Final Rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is a time consuming, often frustrating and frequently confusing task. To help SQFI stakeholders better understand the legal and regulatory complexities of FSMA, SQFI compiled a FSMA Resource page to assist our stakeholders as they worked toward compliance.
The year of 2016 will be remembered for food safety regulations, resources and relationships. These three themes may appear rather divergent, but they served as the strands carefully woven into the life-line the FMI Center for Retail Food Safety and Defense extended to internal and external stakeholders this past year.
Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan proclaimed more than fifty years ago that “the times they are a changin’.” Today that phrase resonates in the food retail industry as we witness increasingly different ways consumers shop for food, and the many ways grocers are adapting to stay relevant. Always mindful of capturing industry trends, FMI once again this year delved into the minds of consumers and food retailers to make sense of this rapid pace of change to offer the food retail industry tools to understand today’s shopper and improve grocery operations.
It is safe to say that most people will remember 2016 for tweet policy, hacked emails and then its surprising election results at the federal level, but we wanted to fill you in on what we did on your behalf this year.
Just as a prism takes a single ray of light and splinters it into its constituent spectral colors, to help make as much sense as we can of 2016, FMI is approaching its end of year reporting by breaking the year into 13 different spectrums of activity. Over the course of the following pages, you will view 2016 from the unique perspective of our different departments and covering the following topic areas:
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