By: Steve Markenson, Director, Research & Insights, FMI
You Image

The answer is from YOU. We know because the industry tells us each year when we ask, as we have been doing every year for more than 70 years. The first ever The Food Retailing Industry Speaks (Speaks) report appeared in 1949. Seventy-three years later, this report continues to provide the food retail industry with important benchmarks, facts and figures that are used in our advocacy work on Capitol Hill, in conversations with the media and by our members to make informed business decisions in these tumultuous times. 

As FMI reported last year in the 73rd annual edition of the Speaks report, the food retail industry was displaying incredible resilience, while grappling with an unprecedented transformation driven by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This year, food retailers are still dealing with the pandemic (or at least an endemic) and supply chain issues, while grappling with new challenges brought on by inflation, labor shortages and a war in Ukraine. Last year, FMI reported a solid financial picture and optimism for this year and the future.

What will we learn about our industry this year? The 74th Speaks report will of course continue to trend key financial and operational benchmarks, while incorporating questions about new industry issues and challenges. Some of the new areas included for this year’s Speaks study are:

  • The survey has continued to develop its look into the impact of technology and ecommerce. From efforts toward using technology to personalize the shopper experience to the role of artificial intelligence, the survey has expanded its exploration of the role of technology throughout various aspects of the industry.


  • The report will continue to assess the impact on the industry of health care costs, interchange fees, upward wage pressures and recruiting/retaining employees, but will also assess the impact of pharmacy DIR fees, transportation capacity, trade/tariffs and other emerging issues.


  • New areas of inquiry have been added to our look into space allocation, labor allocation, product and service differentiation strategies, supply chain issues, inflation and economic concerns, asset protection, and much more.

How is FMI able know all of this about the food industry?  Directly from the food industry, when your company responds to The Food Retailing Industry Speaks annual survey. In 1949, an amazing 64% of the industry responded to the first survey. We need your help to get your company to respond this year. Contact Steve Markenson ( to learn how your company can participate. We want as many voices as possible to Speak.

Learn more and download the full 2021 Speaks report at