FMI members are fully committed to providing their customers with the wealth of information they increasingly request and are considered a trusted resource regarding the foods they sell. To better understand the trends and evolving preferences of our member companies’ customers, FMI undertakes a significant amount of research on an annual basis to remain current on all aspects of the food retail industry, with much of the research focused on the varying preferences of consumers. Last year, FMI’s research explored in more depth the growing consumer desire for transparency in the food supply. The research signals that in this evolving marketplace, U.S. grocery shoppers want to be more deeply connected to the way their food is produced. We recently released a comprehensive consumer study, FMI U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2017, completed jointly with the Hartman Group. This report tracks trends among U.S. grocery shoppers and, for the last four decades, FMI has traced such critical issues as where they shop, how they shop and what concerns them most when it comes to the food they buy for themselves and their families.
In developing our findings, we heard directly from customers and the feedback was consistent with our experiences in stores – that there is an increasing number of grocery customers who want more information about their food, and with regard to biotechnology specifically, they support disclosure of whether their food contains or is derived from bioengineered crops. Importantly, this desire for information is not related to food safety or nutrition concerns, but merely because customers “just want to know exactly what goes into the food I eat” (48%). Our research also shows that customers are increasingly interested in a large number of other attributes about where their food comes from and how it was grown. Toward this end, retailers are working diligently to provide as much information as possible in a format that is easily accessible to customers and also provides retailers the opportunity to communicate additional information or context that might be of interest to customers. FMI members are fully committed to this goal and will continue to provide the information their customers demand in the most accessible and convenient way possible. We note that as customers ask for more information about certain attributes in their foods, and as we experience continued advances in technology, the method by which this information is most effectively communicated may evolve. We therefore urge AMS to take advances in new technology into consideration in the final rulemaking.