Explores Consumer, Landscape and Futuristic Insights that Impact Business

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Explores Consumer, Landscape and Futuristic Insights that Impact Business


FMI Connect is designed to directly address challenges in the retail food business, such as growing basket size, increasing customer trips, improving margins, expanding market share and developing leadership among staff. Through seven tracks featuring nearly 50 workshops, attendees will explore the consumer insights that have influence over the food business. In particular, FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin will demonstrate how the ever-changing grocery landscape will redefine our notions of commerce now and in the future. Sarasin's presentation offers additional context to our Retail of the Future concept, which was influenced by comprehensive research conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The exhibition is designed to encourage all FMI Connect attendees to consider how they might evolve their businesses to meet changing consumer needs and inspire dialog among supply chain partners.

Supermarket Chef Showdown

One of the most exciting events from FMI2012 is back, pitting supermarket chefs in head-to-head competitions in our own kitchen stadium. The 25 finalists will compete within five categories as judges rank dishes on taste and technique. Watch the live cook-off at FMI Connect Wednesday, June 11, and follow the competition on twitter, #SChefShowdown.

Learning lounges

New for 2014, these sessions allow attendees to dig into hot topics with industry experts and colleagues, in a setting that is a little bit classroom and a little bit family room. Special presentations and discussions on food retail topics include: focus on independent operators; building a better supply chain; understanding the male shopper; merchandising and design trends; food safety and fresh foods; employee wellness programs, and emerging platforms for mobile commerce.

Best Practices in Private Brand Ownership

By Doug Baker
Private brand development remains a significant growth opportunity for all retailers to differentiate and build consumer loyalty. Data from FMI's "U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2014" lists "better variety and selection of private brand items" as one of the top-five reasons shoppers cite for visiting a store other than their nearest supermarket. However, the number of possible initiatives and investments to drive this critical piece of business can appear daunting and complex, further complicated by the fact that the only constant in the private brand industry over the last few years has been change.

The private brand industry has the benefit of being able to grow consumer awareness and acceptance of private brands. While it might be argued that this increased attention may also invite challenging consumer questions regarding sustainability, corporate responsibility and ingredient traceability, these challenges may also be seized as opportunities to differentiate. Today, private brands are addressing these topics from a tactical standpoint, but it is necessary to now think more strategically. Rather than approaching product development and positioning as solutions to category needs, private brands must focus development on meeting consumer needs. This consumer-centric strategy will guide private brands to tactics that address emerging trends and strengthen the integrity and image of your label.

FMI Private Brands recently has engaged the first phase of a multi-year study and solutions project to support the growth and strategic advancement of private brands in the industry. Phase one of the research will help our members benchmark private brand ownership practices. Through the benchmarking research, we will look at key indicators from corporate culture to vertical integration versus outsourcing as possible best practices in private brand ownership. This will allow our members to identify and prioritize changes they feel are needed within each of their programs to ensure recessionary gains translate into long term growth.

Study findings on best practices in private brands will be unveiled at the Private Brand Summit at FMI Connect.

Author Doug Baker is vice president, private brands, at FMI. Visit fmi.org/privatebrands for updates and further information on this research.