By Krystal Register, MS, RDN, LDN, Senior Director, Health & Well-being, FMI

People in a conference roomThere’s nothing like getting together in person to discuss the biggest nutrition, health and well-being topics impacting the food industry.

After three years of meeting virtually, we are thrilled that the FMI Health and Well-being Council had the opportunity to gather late last year in what we hope will become an annual event.

Our meeting at the FMI office in Arlington, VA, focused on information, insights and engagement. The day also included a presentation of the FMI Foundation’s annual Gold Plate Award winners to recognize outstanding programs related to National Family Meals Month.

An in-depth report is available for download and includes more details on the following meeting highlights:

Building the Business Case for Nutrition and Health

The day kicked off with a panel discussion moderated by Stacy Bates, RDN, CDE, Chair of the FMI Council and Director of Wellness Nutrition Strategy at H-E-B. Bates emphasized the complexities of the nutrition, health and well-being space and led discussion around robust opportunities to frame the business case with FMI panelists Rick Stein, Vice President of Fresh Foods, and Doug Baker, Vice President of Industry Relations. Conversation ensued around value, sales, technology and simply doing the right thing. 

Driving Trust in a Post-Truth World

Speaker Charlie Arnot, CEO, Center for Food Integrity, pointed to the challenges health professionals face when sharing useful information with consumers based on extreme polarization in social discourse and the rise of microcultures, many of which question science-based information. Arnot outlined strategies for building consumer trust.

Communicating about Ultra-Processed Foods

Allison Graham, MS, RDN, Senior Director, Food Policy and Global Regulatory Affairs, Food Directions, outlined the current ultra-processed foods landscape, warning about the potential for increased consumer confusion as this subject attracts more attention. Ultimately, attendees were challenged to consider communicating the complexities of UPFs while building consumer trust.

Food as Medicine Opportunities and Communication

Food as Medicine programs connect the science of food and nutrition to improved health, and they are gaining momentum within the food industry. Opportunities spotlighted during the meeting include prescription programs, incentive programs, medically tailored nutrition, path-to-purchase marketing and personalized nutrition education.

Spotlighting Consumer Research

The latest shopper insights about nutrition and health were presented by Allison Febrey, FMI’s Manager, Research and Insights; and Sherry Frey, NIQ’s Vice President of Total Wellness. Together, their presentations illuminated shopper perspectives related to health priorities, food categories, transparency and other topics.

Attendees Relay Future Priorities

Attendees at the FMI meeting pointed to insights they found especially relevant, including the growing roles for registered dietitians and other health professionals. Attendees also relayed health and well-being topics they consider to be top priorities for the coming year, which included programming, consumer insights, policy, economics and collaboration.

As we recognize the incredible uptick in attention, concern, focus and activity surrounding the many nutrition, health and well-being initiatives, we look forward to engaging with you in 2024 and beyond.

Download the full report