ARLINGTON, VA –The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation today launched a new approach to address emerging issues in the food, agricultural and consumer goods sectors. FMI Foundation established the cross-industry communications effort, the Unified Voice Protocol, with the goal of proactively creating an environment of trust and consumer confidence in purchase decisions. 

FMI partnered with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Animal Agriculture Alliance to develop and fund the first pilot project, which considered sustainability-related poultry production practices with a focus on cage-free eggs and slow-growth broilers.

“It is important to understand the drivers for consumers’ decisions in the marketplace,” said Leslie Sarasin, president of the FMI Foundation and president and CEO of the Food Marketing Institute. “This pilot project is a positive first step in helping ensure the food and agricultural industry is responding to actual consumer preferences and furthers FMI’s role and responsibility to serve as the voice of the food retail industry.”

Dr. Jayson Lusk, Ph.D., food and agricultural economist at Purdue University, conducted the research for the pilot project and examined consumer beliefs, knowledge, and willingness-to-pay for specific attributes, such as cage-free eggs and slow-growth broilers.  Dr. Lusk’s research team surveyed more than 2,000 respondents who were asked to make a series of choices among products that vary in price, production practices, labeling claims, product color and appearance.

“The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is committed to supporting farmers and businesses across the value chain in making data-driven food production decisions that meet the needs of both producers and consumers,” said Sally Rockey, Ph.D., executive director of FFAR. “We are pleased to join the FMI Foundation and the Animal Agriculture Alliance in sharing the results of this study on consumer beliefs and purchasing decisions related to cage-free eggs and slow-growth broiler chickens.”

"This research is a key component in the effort to bridge the communication gap between farm and fork," said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. "Understanding consumer-purchasing values can help food companies and the agriculture industry connect with customers and start meaningful conversations about animal welfare and sustainability." 

Going forward, FMI will seek input from top leaders of the food, agricultural, and advocacy industries on identifying other emerging issues and potential Unified Voice topics of interest. The FMI Foundation will consider these suggestions among the project’s future case studies to ensure the food and agricultural industries are making informed decisions regarding research, production and retail sales.

To read the full research report, click here.

Link to the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Infographic


About the Food Marketing Institute Foundation

Established in 1996, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation is a 501(C)(3) organization that seeks to ensure continued quality and efficiency in the food retailing system and is operated for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes.  To help support the role of food retailing, the FMI Foundation focuses on research and education in the areas of food safety, nutrition, and health.

About the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established by bipartisan Congressional support in the 2014 Farm Bill, builds unique partnerships to support innovative and actionable science addressing today’s food and agriculture challenges. FFAR leverages public and private resources to increase the scientific and technological research, innovation, and partnerships critical to enhancing sustainable production of nutritious food for a growing global population. The FFAR Board of Directors is chaired by Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum and includes ex officio representation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation.

About the Animal Agriculture Alliance

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is an industry-united, nonprofit organization that helps bridge the communication gap between farm and fork. We connect key food industry stakeholders to arm them with responses to emerging issues. We engage food chain influencers and promote consumer choice by helping them better understand modern animal agriculture. We protect the future of animal agriculture and consumer choice.