Mission to Help Preserve the Planet Through Programs That Make Business Sense

ARLINGTON, VA — September 25, 2007 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announced today a comprehensive compendium of strategic resources, consumer research and educational events to help the industry implement sustainability programs.

     FMI’s Board of Directors chartered a Sustainability Task Force in 2006 to help food retailers and wholesalers integrate sustainability into their operations wherever possible and practical.

     FMI’s announcement came during the September 24 meeting of the task force. "Our mission is to help companies chart a course to help preserve the planet through initiatives that make sense economically. The task force has already made considerable progress in creating a platform for food retailers and wholesalers," said Bob Garrity, senior vice president of Construction and Conservation at Giant Eagle, Inc., who chairs the 22-member task force and is hosting its meeting in Pittsburgh, PA, today.

     FMI’s sustainability effort is being led by FMI Senior Director Jeanne von Zastrow.

     At the meeting, the task force reviewed FMI’s accomplishments to date and future plans:

Strategic Guidance for the Industry

•     The Sustainability Opportunity for Retail and Wholesale Executives — a PowerPoint presentation that explains the concept and why it is important to food retailers and wholesalers. Companies can customize this document for internal use. It will be made available free to the industry on the FMI website in late September.

•     The Sustainability Starter Kit — a resource to help retailers craft a baseline sustainability strategy, recognizing that companies will take different paths. It suggests where to begin, opportunities and risks, metrics to measure progress, how to overcome barriers and methods to engage outside parties such as suppliers, consumers, government agencies, advocates and investors. It features best practices and a list of key organizations and experts in the sustainability arena that companies can contact. This kit will be released at the 2008 FMI Midwinter Executive Conference January 13-15 in Scottsdale, AZ. It is sponsored by Hill PHOENIX, Georgia-Pacific, LLC, and JohnsonDiversey.

Consumer Research

•     Sustainability and Recycling in the Food Industry — a report that explores shopper practices and attitudes about these topics and how the industry is responding, drawing upon sustainability programs by task force members. The insights into shoppers are based on a Harris Poll® of more than 2,300 consumers in June conducted for FMI. To download a free copy, visit this web link.

•     Research performed by Catalina Marketing exclusively for FMI, showing how consumers actually practice sustainability in their lifestyles and buying habits. It shows the marketbasket value of the green consumer. This work complements recent research based on consumer surveys and focus groups done by The Hartman Group for the industry. PowerPoint presentations providing an overview of both studies will be available free on the FMI website in October.

Industry Education

•     Store tours and presentations featuring innovative sustainability practices at FMI educational events, including the Energy & Technical Services Conference September 9-12 in Denver, CO; Consumer Affairs, Communications and Community Relations Seminar October 14-16 in Hershey, PA; and Retail Store Development Conference October 21-23 in Baltimore, MD.

•     Major presentations on sustainability at the 2008 FMI Midwinter Executive Conference:

–     PepsiCo, Inc, Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi will keynote this event, presenting her broad vision of sustainability as it relates to humans — products that promote health and wellness; the environment — practices that conserve and replenish natural resources; and talent — a workplace that helps associates achieve a better quality of life.

–     Sustainability Tools You Can Use, a panel showcasing specific ideas, strategies and best practices by retailers, wholesalers and suppliers. Sustainable Food News Editor Dan McGovern will moderate the panel. Garrity will introduce the Starter Kit, and Ruth Kinzey, senior vice president, communication and public affairs, The Stop & Shop Company, will share her retailer’s sustainability efforts.

•     A keynote presentation at the 2008 FMI Show May 4-7 in Las Vegas, NV, by renowned business sustainability advocate Andrew Winston, author of the bestseller Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value and Build Competitive Advantage.

•     The first FMI Sustainability Summit June 16-19, 2008, in Minneapolis, MN. This event will bring together leaders from all sectors of the food industry, other businesses and government, sustainability advocates and the most innovative thinkers on the subject. It will cover the broader issues and, as with all FMI sustainability programs, specific and practical examples of how the concept works in areas such as energy, seafood, produce, store development and design, packaging, marketing, customer relations, transportation and logistics. FMI plans to host this summit annually.

FMI Sustainability Task Force

FMI’s Sustainability Task Force is a diverse group of retail and wholesale executives whose role is to advise FMI on the tools and resources most needed by our industry to help move environmental sustainability initiatives forward. The group’s mission includes identifying issues, creating awareness, sharing ideas, and developing best practices that retailers and wholesalers can implement as they develop their own sustainability programs. The task force is guided by its definition of sustainability: "Business practices that promote the long-term well-being of the environment, society and the bottom line."

Companies represented on the task force include: Buehler Food Markets, Inc., Giant Eagle, Inc., The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc., Hannaford Bros. Co., Harris Teeter, Inc., Hy-Vee, Inc., The Kroger Co., Publix Super Markets, Inc., Safeway Inc., Schnuck Markets, Inc., The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, SUPERVALU INC., Target Corporation, Ukrop's Super Markets, Inc., Unified Western Grocers, Inc., and Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

     Companies seeking more information about FMI’s sustainability initiatives should contact FMI Senior Director Jeanne von Zastrow at 435.259.3342 or JvonZastrow@fmi.org.

To view the executive summary detailing consumer sustainability practices and buying habits, click here.