ARLINGTON, VA — November 8, 2010 — Supermarket category managers and buyers now have a new guide to help them understand sustainability in the retail sector. Sustainability on the Shelves — A Guide for Category Managers offers an overview of sustainability and provides a framework to help them respond to their company’s and their customers’ demands for more sustainable products. The guide was developed by the Food Marketing Institute's (FMI) Sustainability Executive Committee, Five Winds International and Ecos Corporation LLC with funding from the United Soybean Board.

     “Consumer demand for more sustainable products is growing and category managers need to identify their company’s priorities in this area and integrate them into the decision-making process,” said Jeanne von Zastrow, senior director of industry relations and sustainability at FMI. “Sustainability is not an exact science but it is a strategic decision.”

     The guide provides questions and tools to help buyers understand and verify sustainability claims and select more sustainable products. It is designed to help category managers identify key sustainability issues in five categories:

  • Grocery — cereal, boxed goods, canned goods

  • General Merchandise — home cleaning, personal care

  • Fresh — meat, dairy, produce

  • Beverage — bottled water, soda, alcohol, non-perishable juice, coffee, tea

  • Seafood — fresh, frozen

Sustainability on the Shelves will be unveiled at a workshop during the Sustainability Summit, December 6-9, 2010, in Arlington, VA. The workshop will provide a snapshot on how to use the guide. It is available at the FMI Store as a free download for FMI members, $150 for associate members and $300 for nonmembers.   

“Buyers and category managers already use a decision-making process for selecting products based on quality, availability, price and service. Sustainability should be another element included in the decision-making process,” said von Zastrow.

In addition to the overview, the guide identifies sustainability trends on the horizon, a glossary of terms and links to several companies who have incorporated sustainability into their buying process.

The Sustainability on the Shelves — A Guide for Category Managers was sponsored in part by the United Soybean Board. For more information on the guide and to downlink a copy (free download for FMI Members, $150 for associate members and $300 for nonmembers), please visit the FMI Store.