FMI Speaks – 2019 Highlights
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
The recently released Food Marketing Industry Speaks 2019 report discussed some interesting but perhaps not surprising issues surrounding the current pulse of the supermarket industry. The report summarizes feedback from 107 retailers and wholesalers representing 36,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Here are six key take-aways regarding how retailers are adapting business for success and what this may mean to retail dietitians:
- Positivity around wellness. Health and well-being and the food as medicine trend gained momentum as the two biggest positive factors and opportunities. In fact, when asked about their plans for labor investments in the next 2 years, retailers included professionals to help shoppers eat well. This may be dietitians, chefs or even bakers.
- Making consumer connections. Food retailers are making strides with engaging more deeply with their shoppers. This includes diverse and personalized promotions, transparency initiatives and community outreach. Make sure you are documenting the many valuable ways you connect with individual shoppers and groups both in store and out.
- Product and service differentiation strategies. Retailers are putting an emphasis on fresh, local and organic products which include own brands. Service differentiators will be focused on providing community support and enhancing the shopping experience. Evaluate how you can provide more educational selling tactics that drive sales for fresh and private brand products while providing dietary and meal solutions and communicate your success.
- Fresh is moving forward. Quality and variety in the produce, fresh prepared, and meat/poultry categories will continue to be emphasized. In addition, with high consumer interest in convenient, healthy options, more retail space will be allocated to foodservice, special diets and better-for-you products. The trusted expertise of the RD is needed in these areas. Look for gaps in education and offerings and discuss programming solutions that could be implemented.
- Exciting ecommerce initiatives. Retailers continue to move forward with a range of ecommerce initiatives and are working to as they strive to enhance their online shopping sophistication and engage customers. Surveyed retailers reported average online transactions of 2,150 and the average on-line purchase was $106 vs $34.91 in store. Learn more about the needs of your online shoppers – they are very valuable customers!
- Employee turnover presents challenges. Keeping good employees is a struggle in the strong economy especially with part-time workers. Some of the strategies being used to change this include offering higher compensation, training and development, improved benefits, flex time and enhance wellness programs.
The findings in this survey offer good news for retail dietitians as the skills they possess can help retailers move successfully into the future. As shoppers’ expectations continue to change along with technology and business models, stay on top of these changes and demonstrate your understanding by proactively creating opportunities that drive business success.