ARLINGTON, VA – As a prime witness to the increasing shopper desire for broader retail food experiences, Food Marketing Institute (FMI) plays a crucial role in cultivating partners across the value chain to enable better grocer-shopper relationships – bringing those who want to explore new tastes in touch with those producing new product lines. FMI has intensified its investment in enhancing these relationships, announcing today a subscription-based online community for emerging food and beverage brands that offers education, mentoring, nurturing and access to sources of capital.

The new FMI program, Emerge, will help resolve complex industry issues by addressing a need for productive trading partner relationships with food-producing companies that have a product or product line with limited grocery distribution and seek more sales velocity. The key objective is to help these brands grow sustainably by expanding their distribution, and enhancing their operations, financing and sales. This collaborative community environment will host mentors, offer education, manage supportive outreach and provide access to investors.

FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin commented on the initiative, saying, “Through our new virtual community, FMI Emerge, our retail members can become better equipped to meet increased consumer demand for products focused on a variety of attributes such as local sourcing, health and wellness, artisanal and global cuisine.”

For example, natural products have doubled in the last decade to $130 million in sales and drive nearly twice as much growth as health and wellness products, the second-leading sales contributor in retail, according to SPINS 2017. These mega consumer trends are also evident in FMI’s annual operational and trends analyses that we’ve been conducting for more than 60 years. In terms of assortment, our operations data suggests the vast majority of retailers expect a continued move toward organic and local as well as items that focus on managing health and wellness. Along with health and wellness, low prices, fresh, and less processed goods top the list of retailer attributes that are important to shoppers.

Sarasin continued, “Food retail connects the consumer with the supplier. Shoppers are demanding new sensory experiences and the health of our industry depends on our ability to satisfy consumers’ desire for new tastes by providing exciting new products.”

Julie PryorJulie Pryor will serve as the program’s director. With 15 years of experience in both corporate and agency environments, Pryor has superior relationship and team-building expertise, working with internal and external stakeholders to grow clients’ businesses.

To express interest in being involved with FMI Emerge, please visit

About FMI Emerge

FMI Emerge is a subscription-based online community founded by Food Marketing Institute (FMI) that aids emerging food and beverage brands to grow sustainably in expanding their distribution, operations, financing and sales. Bringing emerging brands and the grocery retail industry together, the community is a nurturing environment with regional and nationwide retailers, the industry’s leading experts, mentors, education, supportive outreach and access to investors. Ideal FMI Emerge subscribers have already launched a product or product line with retail distribution at some level, such as an independent grocer, online or specialty, and/or regional retailer. The emerging companies are unique brands that need a commerce boost to grow revenue, increase sales velocity and secure more shelf space. Learn more at