Keeping up with the Pace of Change in Food Retail

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Keeping up with the Pace of Change in Food Retail

By Mark Baum, Chief Collaboration Officer, FMI - 03/01/2015

Culinary trends point increasingly to tangible experiences for consumers. These trends move quickly, as farm to table and molecular gastronomy may be haute cuisine one day and ruled out by something more regal in six months. Still, even the most discerning chefs want to experience their ingredients for themselves when making selections at the market or grocery store.

These culinary experiences are real for everyday shoppers. They shop with personalized palates and expect the best. When consumers select fresh produce or meats or speak to the associate behind the cheese counter, they want to know the story behind the product or better understand how to prepare it.

In the food retail business community, we can experience this same enthusiasm for products and garner our own experiences when we go to trade shows. At FMI Connect, our association is focusing on the business imperatives for keeping ahead of the accelerating pace of change in our industry. The 2015 exhibit floor will feature a new program, Connect Business Exchange (CBX), which aims to offer a cost effective and efficient way to bring buyers and sellers together; in effect, open up a platform for meeting people responsible for making decisions about the business.

Recognizing that smaller suppliers often have to sell upstream in a competitive environment, CBX is designed democratically for any product manufacturer to reach food, drug and mass retailers. We've built this collaborative business format to invite buyers and category managers to meet with suppliers and sellers of the new and exciting products they are seeking.

Our research suggests a shopper demands trends toward fresh foods that are connected by core consumer values, including health and wellness, nutrition and product sourcing. Primary stores are selected by their consistently good quality produce, selection, variety, knowledgeable associates and freshly baked goods. CBX will support the trends that suggest retail food traffic is being driven by specialty food offerings.

CBX can be leveraged by multiple audiences and formats, as it is designed solve business challenges by reaching new, valued partners.

With the right strategies, tools and partners, food retailers can compete with the best restaurant in town.

To learn more about CBX, registration details and more, visit and download the "Retailer's Guide to CBX."