By: Sue Wilkinson, Senior Director, Information Service & Research, Food Marketing Institute
Research 2017

Raise your hand if you’re a fan of the long-running TV show Jeopardy! Isn’t it satisfying when you can answer the question, especially if the contestants are stumped? Considering all the disruption today in the food industry, don’t we wish we had the answers to all of today’s challenges?

As the food industry makes its way through this time of change, the Voice of Food Retail at FMI continues to identify emerging issues, determine consumer trends, and benchmark industry operations that provide insights to FMI members as they navigate uncharted territory.

Our emerging issues work this year identified five areas that we believe will have an impact on the food industry in the next three to five years. We will continue to work with the FMI Board of Directors to prioritize these issues and determine FMI’s role moving forward.

The emerging issues are:

  • Emerging new consumerism - New definitions of value for consumers, beyond cost, taste, and convenience, calling for involvement in food choices;

  • Artificial intelligence/technology - The ways in which technology will transform the food industry and alter the role of humans throughout its processes;

  • Workforce - The impact of global changes on hiring, training, management and corporate culture;

  • New marketplace - Reimagined marketplace and the new role of the physical store; and

  • Food production - Shifts in food production caused by global changes, whether technological, environmental, values-based, or otherwise.

There is no doubt these emerging issues will inform the ongoing research we conduct on consumer trends and industry operations.

This year FMI released 14 research reports on a range of topics including the digitally engaged food shopper; consumers’ demand for transparency when making food choices; and consumer attitudes about shopping for produce, retail foodservice, meat, private brands and family meals. On the operations side, we delved into what keeps grocers up at night; compiled a collection of metrics to benchmark business operations; shared the best ways to reduce unsaleables, revealed how retailers contribute to health and wellness, assembled growth strategies for GM & HBC; provided supply chain benchmarking metrics; and listed the benefits of supplier diversity.

In addition, there are webinars, website portals, blogs and videos to help you digest this wealth of research.

As you make your way through how best to interact with today’s consumer and how to use supply chain best practices, FMI’s research is available to make you the winner in the Jeopardy! game of food retail - providing the answers so your stores remain competitive and relevant.