By: David Fikes, Vice President, Communications and Consumer/Community Affairs, Food Marketing Institute
FMI recently named that Susan Borra, RD, as Chief Health and Wellness Officer and Executive Director of the FMI Foundation. I took some time to hear from Sue about her plans for the new role and what the FMI Foundation was up to.
First, Sue shared her excitement about this opportunity, “I have built my career on helping companies communicate their stance on food and nutrition effectively and responsibly while meeting the needs of the consumers they serve. I look forward to assisting food retailers in achieving their health and wellness priorities and improving consumer trust in the food supply.”
Regarding her emphasis on nutrition and health priorities, the FMI Foundation will again host National Family Meals Month™ in September. “Encouraging shoppers to enjoy one more family meal each week with our annual National Family Meals Month campaign is an incredible health promotion opportunity,” Sue shared.
In fact, according to Nielsen, 12 percent of consumers saw the family meals campaign during the month of September. Of those consumers who saw the family meals campaign, a majority took action including making healthier choices, eating more fruits and vegetables, trying new recipes, and eating together more.
Sue reinforced, “We’re still developing the details for our 2016 National Family Meals Month campaign, but we’ll again focus on bringing more visibility to FMI members, companies and brands that literally feed families and enrich the lives of their customers each day. I’m confident we’ll continue our movement that inspires the social and societal benefits of family meals, while showcasing grocers’ solutions.”
Echoing the spirit of the campaign, Sue believes that grocery stores will increasingly be regarded as wellness destinations. “Facing some of the most significant changes to health care policy in recent years, food retailers are witnessing new opportunities to communicate health information and resources to their customers,” she observed. “As a registered dietitian, I understand FMI and its Foundation have unique roles to play in influencing a productive conversation around wellness among stakeholders, lawmakers and other health care professional communities.”
Since the FMI Foundation focuses on advancing education in the areas of food safety, nutrition and health, Sue shared that the Foundation will again renew its commitment to students who wish to pursue food systems auditing. She said, “By helping those interested in having a career in foods safety, we’re doing our part to strengthen our food safety system by encouraging the next generation of food safety professionals. Since 2013, we’ve awarded more than 20 scholarships and the 2016 application process is open.”
FMI’s consumer research suggests that food retailers are better positioned than other industry players to earn and leverage consumer trust around health and wellness. For more information about the FMI Foundation visit www.fmi.org/Foundation and for FMI’s Health and Wellness resources visit www.fmi.org/HealthandWellness.