What an exciting end to 2018. Our industry prioritized food safety as first and foremost. The second consumer advisory on romaine lettuce was a devastating blow to a busy Thanksgiving shopping season, but thanks to our members' calls, emails and feedback, we learned much about the scope of this product withdrawal -- from prepared foods to catering platters to seafood displays. We understood from you that navigating the supply chain disruption also redirected an enormous amount of labor and created confusion among partners who would have been otherwise in sync during a formal recall procedure.
While removing the product was the right thing to do in the interest of public health and maintaining shopper trust, my colleague Dr. Hilary Thesmar advises that thanks to whole genome sequencing, we will see more of these outbreaks in the future. Awareness is a good thing for food safety, but it will force companies to look more closely at their supply chains and routine practices for catering and displays.
A subgroup of FMI's Food Protection Committee spent two days in Washington, D.C., developing recommendations for the industry, Food & Drug Administration and Congress as we move forward in dealing with these concerns. The recommendations will be shared with the full Food Protection Committee and the FMI board-level Food Safety Committee at their meetings in January. At the same time, FMI has been in daily contact with our colleagues across industry associations to share common goals with the agencies and the administration.
Late Tuesday, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control released updates which narrowed the scope of the advisory and indicated that a positive sample for the outbreak strain was found at a specific farm in California. In the advisory, the FDA noted that additional romaine lettuce shipped from other farms could also be implicated in the outbreak. We will continue to provide updates to our board, committees and relevant food professionals to ensure the lines of communication remain open.
Food safety is inherent to the work we do and it remains our priority. Our industry diligently works to create a safe eating experience while also meeting consumers' desire for new and innovative fresh and foodservice items. As always, we will maintain our promise to consumers to offer the safest, most nutritious and affordable food supply in the world.
I am enthusiastic about our work together in 2019 and witnessing the fresh-food differentiation strategies you will execute for brick and mortar and even online ordering. We'll continue to address these issues in a series of research reports and findings queued up for the new year, and I look forward to sharing the results with you.
It's that time again. It's Q4 of 2018, which means food facilities must renew their registration with the Food and Drug Administration. Renewal of facility registration occurs during Q4 -- Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 -- of even numbered years. If you haven't done so already, the current registration renewal for 2018 will be available through Dec. 31. Learn more.
FMI introduced a newly updated resource for members: the Food Labeling Guide for Retailers. The FMI outside counsel, Brian Eyink and Veronica Colas with Hogan Lovells, provide an overview of the basic labeling requirements that apply to foods sold in retail grocery stores, from packaged foods to deli items packaged and portioned upon customer request, bulk customer self-service items like an olive bar and foods prepared in-store. Recording | Presentation
US Grocery Shopper Trends reveals grocery shopping is becoming America's new pastime, with 85% of our population claiming to be active grocery shoppers. These shoppers are demanding radical personalization like our industry has never seen before. Each shopper has his or her own food purchasing equation -- a set of personally nuanced factors taken into consideration when grocery shopping -- and the individual's shopping equation is as unique as his or her fingerprints. Learn more.
With support from the Walmart Foundation, FishWise is providing an online roadmap and set of tools that producers, processors, brands and retailers can use to build, assess and improve socially responsible practices in seafood supply chains. The roadmap refers to a series of steps, each with tools, guidance and resources to help companies implement the components and track progress. This free, publicly available online platform will increase industry and stakeholder understanding of the steps necessary to uphold responsible practices and protect workers in seafood supply chains. Recording | Presentation
US food retailers have long known their private brand shares are generally much lower than those in Europe. However, in this new era of innovation and growth for US private brands, it's worth considering if the US can advance and approach those higher shares in the coming years. Gain insights from new IRI data to explore the different factors driving private brand growth in Europe and the US. Recording | Presentation
A new FMI report discusses how to strategically position one's own brands for success in context with the rising opportunities in health and well-being. The discussion in Delivering Health and Wellness with Private Brands reviews consumer health and wellness trends; brand positioning; relevant messaging and marketing; the regulatory landscape; and suggestions on how to compete for the future. Learn more.
We hope FMI members attending Midwinter will join in the discussion with Alison Bodor of the American Frozen Food Institute for a valuable overview of the strong comeback going on in the frozen food aisle. You'll gain an understanding of consumer behaviors and attitudes about frozen foods, as well as the usage of frozen foods in the home to tell a much more complete story to drive continued growth in this category. Join in Jan. 26 at FMI Midwinter.
FMI this week unveiled a pre-release of its 2019 Power of Health and Well-being in Food Retail, an exploration into the consumer mindset of what wellness means to them and what they expect from their grocery stores. The analysis explores the broader definition of "well-being," as food retailers are increasingly perceived as an ally in their shoppers' pursuits of health.
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