By: Carol Abel, Vice President of Education Program Development, FMI  

FMITech TalksWe’re living in a new food marketplace. Culturally, we are riding the wave of the information age into a new day that invites, influences and sometimes forces us to look at how we conduct business, our families and ourselves in some new ways.  

Our 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends research revealed changing patterns in consumers’ lifestyles – the growth in non-traditional households, shifting family roles, more frequent eating and the generally deeper engagement with food and nutrition – and what’s brought more consumers into food outlets in search of their ideal mix of foods and beverages. To help you navigate these rapid industry changes and consumer preferences, FMI is advancing to represent the business of food, wherever it is bought, sold or produced.  We’re keeping our eye on evolving trends in the food industry from technology and the new consumer, to health and well-being initiatives and the expanding role of foodservice at retail.  

We’re discussing these trends at the 2020 Midwinter Executive Conference and in the future at FMI – The Food Industry Association:    

1. Invent & Simplify: Using Technology and Innovation to Drive Results in the Era of Consumerism 

Consumer shopping behavior continues to evolve, and it is critical we anticipate shoppers’ needs, and foster and accelerate meaningful innovation and for federal regulators to collaborate with our industry early and often. Carletta Ooton, vice president of safety, sustainability, security & compliance at Amazon, vice president of safety, sustainability, security & compliance at Amazon, will address the evolution of consumers and consumption in online sales; the current and ongoing impact/utilization of technology with use cases to illustrate the enormous potential of technology; and the regulatory framework needed to address the application of technology and privacy. 

2. Delivering on the Needs of Hispanic Shoppers 

 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one of the fastest growing populations in the country over the next 40 years will be Hispanic. Food and beverage manufacturers and retailers are already seeing the impact of these shoppers. They are proud of their heritage and can be loyal to retailers that help their families celebrate Hispanic traditions. From a growth perspective this population bears additional attention. At the same time the food retail community will need to serve these consumers with authenticity. Oscar Gonzalez, co-president of Northgate Gonzalez Market and Omar G. Jorge Peña, chairman of Aurora Grocery Group (AGG) will offer deep insights into the unique demands of Hispanic shoppers and ways to win their business. 

3. FMITech Talks   

Last year, we created FMITech Talks to facilitate a forum where retailers/wholesalers could collaborate with suppliers and tech providers. Twenty-six technology partners will share new ideas and solutions to enhance your technology strategy, including: 
  • Understanding the Consumer Behaviors of Gen Z and Millennial Grocery Shoppers.
  • Winning the Food Fight: How AI Reduces Waste and Drives Sustainability.  
  • The New Retail Space Race: Leveraging AI Pricing Technology to Change Consumer Behavior.
  • Developing a Multi-Format Fulfillment Toolkit.
  • Personal Shopper Automation and the Evolution of Online Grocery. 

4. Health & Well-Being – Healthy Shoppers, Healthy Profits. How Retailers Can Improve Consumer Health and Maximize Profitability 

A case study lead by Mark During, former general manager marketing operations of Coles Group, will illustrate how food retailers can help families with children eat healthy foods. Australia’s second largest grocery chain successfully partnered with vendors and organizations to develop a program that educated consumers and used popular children's collectibles to reward healthy choices. Health-focused in-store initiatives can improve shopper loyalty and maximize sales, and we’ll discuss how retailers in the U.S. can replicate the success of this program. 

Visit for more resources and on-demand learning.

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