ARLINGTON, VA — November 18, 2008 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) announced the launch of a global initiative designed to provide industrywide leadership, education and advocacy for private brand products, one of the fastest growing segments in the retail business today. The FMI Board approved this initiative at its meeting in October.

“This initiative is a call to action for all sectors of the industry and all classes of retail trade to highlight the exceptional value of store brands to consumers, especially in these challenging economic times,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. “FMI will work with retailers, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers and other trading partners to facilitate innovation and increase consumer awareness of private brand products.”

“This initiative will allow our entire industry to speak with one voice to educate consumers, public officials and the retailing industry at large about the importance of private brand products,” said Steve Smith, Chairman and CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores and Board Chair, FMI.

The FMI Private Brands Mission

The mission of the FMI Private Brands Initiative parallels that of the association itself — to promote policies, programs and learning opportunities in five areas:

  • Industry Cooperation
  • Education
  • Food Safety
  • Public and Consumer Information
  • Government Relations


A Private Brands Group composed of retailers, wholesalers, distributors and suppliers, all with equal voting rights, will guide the program and report directly to the FMI Board of Directors. Initially, the Group will focus on industry opportunities, education and membership development.

“This is a new FMI organization and a new way of inspiring collaboration among all member constituents,” explained Danny Wegman, Chairman of Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. “We are in an era of tremendous competition from all channels of trade, which makes total industry inclusion and collaboration more critical then ever. This is a powerful group spearheading a powerful initiative.”

“Industry education and member advocacy are core competencies of FMI, and this exciting new initiative underscores the significance of private brands and the industry’s commitment to this important segment of our business,” said Jeff Noddle, Chairman and CEO of SUPERVALU INC.

“I applaud FMI for taking this action to bring all industry constituents together for such a powerful common cause,” said Milt Sender, Chairman of Daymon Worldwide, the world’s largest private brand broker. “The message from the 2006 FMI Daymon Private Label Forum in Chicago was heard loud and clear, and that is that private brand is an integral and growing part of the retail food industry and an area of our business that requires greater focus and collaboration. FMI is the ideal organization to drive this process. From the astounding community response and demand, a group of leaders from the retailer, manufacturer, service provider and FMI communities bonded together to form the FMI Private Brands Group.”

Annual Summit and Strategic Planning Conference

In 2009, FMI plans to debut an annual Private Brands Summit and a yearly Business Conference. The summit will feature research and educational programs exploring consumer attitudes about private brand products and how to increase loyalty. The conference will enable trading partners to plan the strategies and tactics needed to maximize private brand sales.