By: David Fikes, Executive Director, FMI Foundation
The whole world is anticipating, yearning, and preparing for the day when the COVID-19 pandemic does not dominate the horizon of our life considerations. From a food industry perspective, part of that involves speculating which pandemic-tinged trends will stick, which will fade as fast as they arrived AND what new issues will spark, potentially igniting in a post pandemic world.
One area FMI predicts will get fanned to new flame in the new normal is a dramatic increase in consumer interest regarding the intersection of social justice issues and food. We have already started seeing accelerated attention being devoted to food waste reduction, fair labor practices, food as medicine, and animal welfare concerns and we think these will continue to grow. Likewise, in our racial justice and inclusion deliberations, we are already seeing considerable concern being expressed about equal access to healthy food and bringing racial sensitivities to diet and nutrition conversations. For a multitude of reasons, FMI believes public interest in social justice issues will continue escalating, and the affect will extend beyond what products shoppers buy and which stores they shop, but also include which companies’ investors are interested in supporting.
To help our members grasp how deep these sentiments run and what potential impact they could have, we have set-up a FMI member-only presentation on the Social Justice Movement’s Impact on Food on May 12 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. EST. This webcast will have two segments:
- First, participants will hear a 17-minute pre-recorded presentation from Cheryl Auger of MotivIndex, Inc. covering highlights of MotivBase’s recent research on social justice issues and food. This presentation has been curated with the food industry in mind and will identify the maturity level of different social justice issues, while providing a sense of their potential intensity. This enables you to see where we are in the race and help you determine if, how or when your company wants to play in that space.
- Second, a segment will feature members of the Center for Food Integrity’s Trust Insights Council exploring these issues from a bevy of vantage points. Focused on implications of these trends for the food industry, experts from academia, agriculture economics, capital investments, marketing analysts and the food industry will share their perspectives, challenge each other and respond to your questions and observations.
There is nowhere the old adage, “A stitch in time, saves nine” is more relevant than in the area of issue management. This webcast can help you identify where a carefully placed proactive stitch now, will save you nine reactive stitches, later. If we know what the issues are going to be, we can help shape the narrative regarding social justice and food OR we can decide we would rather spend our time later responding to the narrative that others have established. The choice is ours.