The Unified Voice Protocol: FMI Foundation Brings Together Key Stakeholders on Health and Social Issues Impacting Consumer Trust.
From inception in 2017, to the completion of two pilot projects in 2018, the FMI Foundation’s Unified Voice Protocol project is working to foster an environment of trust in the food and consumer goods industries. By creating a rigorous process that includes prioritization of issues requiring a unified voice in the consumer marketplace, bringing together stakeholders and experts on each issue, and educating and communicating findings to the public, the FMI Foundation has facilitated a process that will help create a messaging environment that consumers can trust.
In 2017, the FMI Foundation identified the need for the Unified Voice Protocol and developed a rigorous process which includes:
- Prioritizing issues requiring a unified voice in the consumer marketplace;
- Identifying and convening the stakeholders and experts most capable of accurately and clearly framing the issue, using scientific data as the basis; and
- Educating and communicating the findings to the public collectively so that shoppers have a true understanding of the nutrition, food safety, and/or sustainability issue and, subsequently, more confidence in the food choices they are making for them and their families.
In 2018, FMI executed a pilot of the first two priority issues, cage-free eggs and slow broiler chickens, to test the Unified Voice Protocol.
Why a Unified Voice:
By designing the Unified Voice Protocol, FMI has provided the framework necessary to appropriately address a fractured system of consumer messaging by fostering a cohesive voice within the food industry that can effectively rectify the issue of consumer trust and confidence in the food and consumer goods industries.
FMI is positioned to identify and collaborate closely with experts and stakeholders in various disciplines and sectors (e.g. food retailers, consumer groups, researchers, public health professionals, farmers).
How it Works:
Through strategic coalitions made up of players from these different areas of the food industry, specific priority issues within the following areas are addressed from a number of angles and representations:
- Health and Wellness: nutrition, family health and well being, and ingredient issues
- Food Safety: short- and long-term safety concerns
- Social Impact: sustainability, animal welfare, fair treatment of employees, sustainable sourcing
These coalitions become the unified voice that is needed in the marketplace to diminish confusion and elevate confidence and trust. This happens by uncovering additional emerging health and social concerns, supporting research and data collection, developing proactive engagement and communication strategies, and participating in outreach and education to proactively address the issue.
Outreach has already started to inform the conversation on a larger scale! , The FMI Foundation alongside Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Animal Agriculture Alliance is currently planning two thought leadership events to discuss research conducted as part of the first pilot project of the Unified Voice Protocol on the topic of cage-free eggs and slow broiler chickens. The first event will be delivered to a food and agricultural audience and the second event will address a broader audience of researchers, consumer groups, public health professionals, media, and food and agriculture experts.
The FMI Foundation is interested in engaging with organizations in the food, agriculture, public health, and research spaces who share our goal to create an environment of trust in the food and consumer goods industries through this Unified Voice effort. Organizations interested in partnering with the FMI Foundation to determine suitable emerging issues and to design and fund research programs should contact FMI Foundation Executive Director Susan Borra or David Fikes, vice president, communications & consumer/community affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.