WASHINGTON, D.C. – Steven C. Smith, president and CEO of K-VA-T Food Stores and chairman of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), and Douglas R. Conant, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company and chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), signed a Joint Memorandum of Understanding Collaboration Agreement at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference in Orlando, Florida. The agreement calls for greater collaboration and is focused on enhancing manufacturer-retailer engagement to achieve improved supply chain efficiency, better ways to serve consumers and more efficient use of association and member resources.

"FMI will leverage the strengths of our organization with those of GMA to find innovative ways to collaborate, eliminate duplication and provide all our members with more robust programs and services," said Leslie Sarasin, FMI president and chief executive officer. "We will create a policy multiplier on issues of critical concern by harnessing the collective wisdom of the industry through this partnership."

“Collaboration is the key to success when it comes to confronting the challenges and opportunities facing our industry, and GMA has no more important ally than FMI,” said Pamela Bailey, GMA president and CEO. “We look forward to working with our good friends at FMI to build on that legacy of friendship and success, and to help our member companies achieve and maintain sustainable business growth in 2009 and beyond.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the associations’ industry affairs agenda will be strengthened through the creation of a joint industry affairs-industry relations leadership group known as The Trading Partner Alliance (TPA). The TPA will develop a common agenda on supply chain efficiency issues, the application of information technology, the adoption of environmentally-friendly business practices and other issues. That unified agenda will be executed jointly by the FMI and GMA staffs, and overseen by the boards of directors of both organizations.

The agreement also calls for increased collaboration on public policy, scientific and regulatory affairs activity. In addition, both organizations agreed to hold at least one joint board of directors meeting annually and seek greater synergies with regard to meetings and conferences that benefit the food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry.

The term of the agreement is from January 2009 to December 2010.


Food Marketing Institute (FMI) conducts programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations on behalf of its 1,500 member companies - food retailers and wholesalers - in the United States and around the world. FMI's U.S. members operate approximately 26,000 retail food stores and 14,000 pharmacies. Their combined annual sales volume of $680 billion represents three-quarters of all retail food store sales in the United States. FMI's retail membership is composed of large multi-store chains, regional firms and independent supermarkets. Its international membership includes 200 companies from more than 50 countries. FMI's associate members include the supplier partners of its retail and wholesale members.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) represents the world’s leading food, beverage and consumer products companies. The association promotes sound public policy, champions initiatives that increase productivity and growth and helps to protect the safety and security of the food supply through scientific excellence. The GMA board of directors is comprised of chief executive officers from the association’s member companies. The $2.1 trillion food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry employs 14 million workers, and contributes over $1 trillion in added value to the nation’s economy. For more information, visit the GMA Web site at www.gmaonline.org.