ARLINGTON, VA – FMI - The Food Industry Association recently released two related studies that define the role emerging issues play in the food industry, namely helping companies strategically prepare for the new realities of marketplace, based heavily on the influence of an era of new consumerism. These interconnected analyses were directed by the association’s Industry Collaboration Council – a committee made up of major consumer and retail brands – and released at the 2020 FMI Midwinter Executive Conference with presentations by study authors Accenture on The New Marketplace and Ernst & Young LLP (EY) on New Consumerism. 

Accenture focused on the new marketplace and how best to prepare for future consumer needs. The report, Tomorrow’s Food Marketplace – Creating Opportunities, outlines the following recommendations: 

  • Design a future that includes services, along with offerings, that are aligned to your brand purpose. 
  • Build short-term and long-term capabilities and strategies in parallel, waiting is not an option. Win on the basics immediately while building long term paths for success. 
  • Build internal infrastructure and re-organize organizational structure to align with brand purpose. 
  • The consumer will continue to change at an accelerated rate, build flexible technologies and capabilities to continuously adapt and adopt efficiently.

FMI Chief Collaboration Officer and Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, Mark Baum commented on the accelerated change witnessed in our industry, noting, “One of the most compelling statements from the research challenged our members to ‘keep consumer change at the center, and transform around it.’ With this as our mantra, making good strategic decisions along with the requisite operational changes to fit today’s marketplace will help ensure that success can be realized.”

EY noted that among 37 leading consumer product and retail companies surveyed, 75% of executive respondents from consumer product companies and 66% of respondents from retail companies indicate they are concerned with maintaining consumer relevance and that their traditional value-creation tactics are increasingly disrupted.

New Consumerism: Could Your Biggest Challenge Today Be How You Think About Tomorrow?, EY offers the following key findings: 

  • While most major companies are taking steps to better understand and serve today’s consumer, not as many are considering the consumer of tomorrow.   
  • Although consumer products and retail companies are researching today’s consumer, there’s little understanding or governance around how to best create meaningful, actionable insights. 
  • Companies are struggling to use consumer insights to drive change in the market.   

Baum noted that the insights presented in both reports further contextualize consumer and operational trends that FMI has been tracking for many years. He said, “I encourage all participants in this broader food marketplace to evaluate their roles in the Grocery Revolution."