By: Dagmar Farr, Chief Member Relations Officer and Senior Vice President of Membership and Education, Food Marketing Institute
Membership Visits in 2016

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.

As members’ needs remain top of mind in 2016, the following programs helped FMI’s Membership Department enjoy a fortifying year and will form the basis of the department’s plans for 2017.

New Membership Category – Universities and Colleges
In June, FMI created a new membership category for universities and colleges. Membership allows universities to gain access to FMI’s research, information and events. We heard our members say labor/talent is one of the greatest needs. To that end, FMI looks for ways to improve relationships with universities and colleges, bolstering opportunities to build the talent pool in the food industry. 

East and West - New Member Relations and Advocacy Program
Earlier in the year, FMI unveiled two new positions at the association further demonstrating FMI’s commitment to member-services across the country and its efforts to amplify the voice of food retail. FMI created two original positions serving the east and west regions, with Lucas Darnell representing FMI on the Eastern half of the U.S. and Cynthia Brazzel, representing the Western region.

At the end of the day, FMI staff conducted more than 140 in-person membership visits in 2016!

FMI Share Groups – Major Benefit for Independents
Share groups are an important member benefit for FMI’s independent operator membership. As new companies join, the FMI membership team ensures they are placed with the right group to ensure they get the most value. In 2016, a manufacturing subgroup of the Operating Executives Council was formed as part of the OEC Share Group. FMI is also in the process of re-constituting the Natural Share Group and creating a Women Leaders Group. Click here for additional information about FMI Share Groups.

2016/2017 - FMI/ROFDA Productivity Benchmarking

In partnership with the Retailer Owned Food Distributors & Associates (ROFDA), FMI launched a Productivity Benchmarking Survey. The Survey was designed to provide key benchmarks, metrics and insights, enabling companies to compare their performance with that of other wholesalers and self-distributing retail chains. You can find the survey results here.

First-Ever Department Manager Survey
Findings from the 2016 Department Manager Survey, conducted by conducted by FMI, The Retail Feedback Group, and Harold Lloyd Presents, Inc., were presented at FMI Connect. The survey received responses from 1,600 department managers from 63 companies. The survey results are available to all FMI members here.

New FMI Independent Operator Newsletter
FMI started an Independent Operator Newsletter to better communicate with independents. The newsletter, distributed monthly, will focus on FMI programs, resources and initiatives that can provide value to independent operator members.