By: Steve Markenson, Director, Research, FMI
The year I joined FMI was the same year (2017) the Insights Association was formed from a merger of two long-standing research associations (CASRO and MRA). Prior to joining FMI, I served as President of WBA Research for almost 20 years, where we evolved the company to delivering “strategic insights to help our clients grow their business.” I took on the role of Research Director at FMI because FMI was seeking someone who could “manage the evolution, development and implementation of an enhanced FMI research model.” The move to FMI seemed such a logical extension of my career and where FMI and the industry was going – from research to insights.
In my over 30-year career, the industry has changed dramatically -- but in my almost four years at FMI, the speed of change has accelerated. I am not just talking about the significantly expanded number of research projects -- I am talking about how we use our research to provide our members and the industry with valuable insights in myriad ways.
As the Food Industry Association, FMI is uniquely positioned to provide objective research and insights on our industry. Grounded in solid research, we publish important insights about the food industry. These start with our two signature publications:
- U.S Grocery Shopper Trends, which for more than four decades has provided the industry insights on consumer grocery shopping behaviors.
- The Food Retailing Industry Speaks, which has provided, from the perspective of food retailers and wholesalers, insights into what is happening in the industry for 72 years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has served to accelerate change and expand FMI’s portfolio. A perfect example of this acceleration was the addition of our nine U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends COVID-19 Trackers in 2020. Where once an annual report met the needs of our member and the industry, the pandemic generated a need for almost weekly reports on actionable and valuable insights. In 2021, we will continue these Trends Trackers, but with a little less frequency.
In 2021, we will not stop there. Our exploration of consumers’ perceptions and behaviors will include:
- Numerous Power ofs exploring Meat, Seafood, Produce, Frozen Food, Foodservice at Retail and Private Brands.
- Research that cuts across departments exploring issues around Sustainability, and Health and Well-Being.
- Research to understand consumer attitudes toward the concept of “food as medicine” and SmartLabel®.
- Continued research on the digitally engaged food shopper, gene-edited food and transparency.
From the industry perspective, in addition to Speaks, we will be exploring a range of issues:
- A refresh of Retailers’ Contributions to Health and Well-Being.
- A look at supply chain issues in the food industry during the pandemic.
- A look at workforce attractiveness in the food industry and the future of work.
These FMI publications are not static. You will see insights from them in blogs, social media, videos, webinars, podcasts, articles, coverage in industry press, as part of FMI conferences and so much more. All of this is to evolve the research from findings to insights on and for the food industry.
“We conduct research so we can provide our members and the industry with insights.”