By: Farleigh Lichstein, Director, Education, FMI 

ESD 2021 Website imageWe have all witnessed large scale changes to the design and layout of our favorite grocery stores since the start of COVID-19. Most of the in-store dining experiences were dismantled, and the salad bars turned into grab-and-go stations for pre-made meals. I noticed myself hurrying through my favorite stores, less willing to linger in front of the freezer aisles trying to pick out my new favorite type of ice cream. Instead, I navigated in-store changes with an eye towards health and safety, instead of my normal slow pace. 

The world has rapidly changed over the course of the past year, and so has the food retail industry. Our stores have embraced all kinds of new techniques to keep shoppers safe and happy while shopping. Many Americans have embraced an entirely new way of shopping, involving ecommerce and self-checkout stations. Two years ago, I would have never guessed that online grocery shopping would play such a critical role in keeping families nourished and safe. I now understand that it served as an essential lifeline for so many of my fellow shoppers. 

That’s why I am so excited to be working with the Energy and Store Development Planning Committee to create an innovative and informative online education experience for this year’s Energy and Store Development Conference. The retail food industry has quickly evolved to develop what were once considered “the stores of tomorrow.” Shoppers have transformed their in-store and online choices, and the industry has quickly adapted.  

This fall, the Energy and Store Development Conference will dive deeply into many of these topics. We will explore consumer insights, ecommerce strategies, Federal and State legislation, global supply chain issues and workforce development, all-shape choices in design, refrigeration and energy. I look forward to discussing these topics with you at the upcoming virtual E+SD!