I married into a big family. My wife is one of 10 children and all of her siblings are sisters. Yes, 10 girls! Needless to say, the big family I married into is not just big anymore, it's huge.
Just with the siblings, their spouses and children, we number more than 80 people, so it should come as no surprise that we gather for family meals in a big way. We pride ourselves on homemade food for these gatherings, and thanks to my 40 years at Safeway, I became one of the food-planning leaders early on. Our children cherish these events, and we know they will go on for generations even after the initial siblings are no longer around.
Recently, I've been thinking about how the menus, cuisines and preparations for these gatherings will change. How will foodservice influence family gatherings in the future?
FreshForward is coming up in just about a month, and I'm very excited for this totally new and unique event. Amid all the excitement, though, I wanted to properly introduce and explain FreshForward and give folks a sneak peek of what to expect. I could think of no one better to help me with this than my friend Barb Renner, vice chairman and U.S. consumer products leader at Deloitte. Here's a 10-minute recording of my discussion with Barb on FreshForward and the key issues facing retail fresh departments today. I've also pulled out the best parts if you want an even shorter snippet.
I'm also looking forward to National Family Meals Month in September. The event is entering its fourth year and the party continues to grow. There are currently 179 companies that have celebrated in some form over the last three years, and that participant list is expected to grow in breadth and depth this year. The FMI Foundation has once again curated the best-in-class examples of how companies have celebrated National Family Meals Month, and this information is available in the Best Practices and Excellence in National Family Meals Month™ Programming guide.
Last, we have an insightful webinar coming up that complements my thinking about the future of food gatherings. In part two of our Power of Foodservice at Retail webinar series, we'll share ways to drive success in the deli and fresh prepared section. I hope you'll join us for some great insights.
The transforming grocery landscape, led by unprecedented advancements in technology, has left food retailers of all shapes and sizes addressing new challenges. Earlier this year, FMI identified five emerging issues that have the greatest potential to affect the food industry in the next three to five years. One of the issues identified is how artificial intelligence and technology will alter the food industry and the role of humans throughout its processes. Top-of-mind for attendees at the Energy and Store Development (E&SD) Conference will be how technology, operations, design trends and store formats are evolving to better serve the demands of consumers’ modern lifestyles. Read more.
Together, meal kits and multicookers could provide food retailers with their next great sales growth. While meal kit online sales continue to grow, some e-commerce providers have begun to struggle a bit and it's becoming clear that the traditional brick-and-mortar store may be one of the best places for consumers to purchase them. Simultaneously, the world is quickly falling in love with multicookers. Read more.
Consumers continue to shop more stores outside their primary location, but the supermarket channel has become stable in its primary role. While eating well today is still anchored in health, it is joined by desires for taste, enjoyment, discovery and mindful connection. Gen X and Boomers are joining the online grocery trend by using the ship-to-home method and online orders for pickup at the local store more often. Dive into these trends and more with the new FMI grocery shopper trends report.
Retail foodservice can be a strong area of growth and differentiation, but figuring out the right level of customization, assortment and being on the shopper radar continues to be a challenge. The third annual Power of Foodservice at Retail 2018 and this webinar delve into key areas to drive a successful deli/fresh prepared program. Register for free today.
A critical issue for accredited third-party auditing in North America is sourcing the next generation of well-trained auditors. As a way to help fill that gap, the FMI Foundation is sponsoring scholarships to students currently enrolled as food and agricultural science majors in an accredited university or college in North America. Do you know someone who might be interested in applying for the scholarship? Applications must be completed by Sept. 7. Visit the FMI Foundation scholarship page to learn more.
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