The Unprecedented Branding Opportunity of \”Nutrition Keys\”

\"\"Private Brands and their packaging will soon lead the way in the historic effort to teach America more about what they are eating. With the introduction of front-of-package nutritional labeling as will name brand products, a panel of industry leaders announced during a press conference at the Food Marketing Institute’s midwinter conference on Monday.

A $50 million industry-funded marketing campaign will launch in the fall to support the new labeling.

This comes as a result of a 2010, call by First Lady Michelle Obama to the food industry to develop a front-of-pack labeling system that could be widely adopted on food packages and that would help busy consumers – especially parents – make informed decisions when they shop.  In response, America’s food and beverage manufacturers and retailers have joined forces to develop and implement the Nutrition Keys initiative, an unprecedented voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system that will provide nutrition information on the front of food and beverage packages, including calories and three “nutrients to limit.”

Nutrition Keys is a fact-based approach that summarizes important nutrition information from the Nutrition Facts Panel in a clear, simple and easy-to-use format on the front of food and beverage packages.  The new icon and label changes adhere to current U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines and regulations, ensuring that consumers receive consistent and reliable information. The icon will inform consumers about how the key nutrients in each product fit in a balanced and healthy diet as part of the federal government’s daily dietary advice.

The four basic icons, for calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugars, represent key nutrients for which dietary guidance recommend limiting consumption in the diet.  The four basic icons are always presented together as a consistent set:

On small food packages, one icon may be used, representing calories in a serving of the food.  This is an option for food manufacturers, recognizing that small food packages may not have enough space to accommodate the four Basic Icons.

As an option, certain labels could include “nutrients to encourage” – nutrients needed to build a “nutrient-dense” diet.   In addition to the basic four icons, packages may include up to two “nutrients to encourage”: potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron.  All of these are either shortfall nutrients or are required to be on the nutrition facts panel.   These “nutrients to encourage” can only be placed on a package if the product has more than 10 percent of the daily value per serving of the nutrient and meets the FDA requirements for a “good source” nutrient content claim.

The GMA-FMI front-of-package labeling system will make the FOP icons graphically distinct from other nutrition-related claims on front-of-pack.


This is a unprecedented opportunity for retailers to rethink their Private Brands, they will by necessity redesign, I challenge them to go beyond simply adding the new labeling system and use this opportunity to reexamine their brand and portfolio strategies and build compelling consumer relevant brands that truly set them apart from their competitors. This could be marked as the true turning point for retailer brands, the moment when private labels truly became BRANDS.


2010 Food Retailing Industry Speaks Out

\"\"Grocery sales grew a meager 0.12 percent in 2009, and same-store sales decreased 0.82 percent, illustrating the complex and challenging marketplace in which food retailers operate every day, according to the 2010 Food Retailing Industry Speaks: Annual State of the Industry Review released by the Food Marketing Institute.

When adjusted for inflation, the industry lost ground for the second year in a row. “Shoppers’ overwhelming focus on price and value has led to fierce price competition among food retailers,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and CEO. “As a result, supermarkets are focused on trying to distinguish themselves from the competition by fine tuning their private label strategies, SKU reduction and price differentiation in order to retain their current customers and attract new ones.”

The industry experienced a median loss for identical-store sales of 0.82 percent, down 4.3 percentage points from 2008 when food-at-home inflation stood at more than 5 percent, compared to virtually flat food prices in 2009. More than half, 56.9 percent of retailers, reported negative identical-store sales growth, which is up significantly from only 16.9 percent in 2008. An even higher 61.1 percent reported growth numbers below the rate of food-at-home inflation.

\"\"Independent retailers (companies with up to 10 stores) were the most likely to grow sales and profits during the recession with overall sales increasing by 1.39 percent, and same-store sales increased 1.62 percent.

“Our research shows that as shoppers altered their grocery shopping behavior, some formats benefitted from this change and others have struggled to grow sales, same-store sales and profits,” Sarasin said.

The tough sales climate resulted in a drop in net profit among retailers from 1.43 percent in 2008 to 1.22 percent in 2009; 12.1 percent of stores posted net losses. Retailers also experienced a drop in net income before taxes and extraordinary items at 1.62 percent of total 2009 sales, down from 1.80 percent in 2008. While profit results have moved up and down over the past decade, 2009 marks the lowest point.

In both 2009 and 2010, retailers reported record-level anxiety about the impact of the local and national economy on their businesses. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, retailers rated the economy 8.7 out of 10. Retailers pointed to the recession and its far-reaching effects as being the greatest barrier to grow sales and profits.

The level of worry increased for nearly every other issue and for the first time since the question was asked in 2004, three issues exceeded the 8.0 mark — the economy, competition and healthcare costs — reflecting their extreme impact on food retail operations. Retailers are expecting an even more difficult business environment in 2010.

Competition is the second greatest worry for retailers, scoring an average of 8.1. Retailers name supercenters and other full-service supermarkets in their immediate market areas as the top two formats impacting their business, but the impact of nearly every format increased worry levels from 2009 to 2010. In fact, only 33 percent of retailers believe store loyalty is at least as strong in 2010 as it was in 2009, a year when store loyalty took a considerable large hit.

Food retailers continue to differentiate themselves from the competition by emphasizing quality produce, fruit, meat and poultry. This is the most used strategy and also the highest rated differentiation technique among operators of full-service supermarkets.

Increased focus on private brands is the second most popular way to create a differential advantage used by more than 90 percent of retailers. Many retailers believe that the increased interest in private brands will remain even when the economy recovers. Private brand sales accounted for an average of 15.7 percent of total sales in 2009 and accounted for nearly 10 percent of the total SKUs in the store.

Price differentiation is used by 86.9 percent of retailers to attract shoppers away from the competition.

Rounding out the top three worries for retailers is health-care spending, scoring 8.1 on the 10-point worry index. Food retailer health-care costs increased an average of 8.1 percent between 2008 and 2009. More than one-third of retailers reported a double-digit increase in cost. Retailers will be watching the next Congress to see if health-care reform will be repealed or modified as a result of the new leadership.

Focus on health and wellness is on the rise again as a point of differentiation for retailers. Pre-recession, the vast majority of retailers described its impact on their marketing and merchandising as profound. In 2010, 74.3 percent of retailers say it is one way they seek differentiation in the marketplace, up from 68.4 percent in 2009. However, it is still down from 84.9 percent in 2008, demonstrating that retailers’ efforts in health and wellness are subject to price and value in the current marketplace.

Retailers are addressing health and wellness in their stores in a number of ways:

  • Promoting healthy items from all departments, fresh and dry grocery
  • Educating consumers on nutritional values of food products
  • Marketing healthy products and events with a team of registered dietitians in the community and through media outlets
  • Supporting and promoting in-store pharmacies

Meanwhile, retailers and suppliers are learning to capitalize on the growing demand for energy-efficient, organic, sustainable, environmentally-friendly and socially-conscious products and services. Retailers are making strides in this area with 41 percent already in the process of implementing a comprehensive sustainability program.

This report is based on surveys of 76 food retailers operating 24,075 stores, in addition to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, financial data from an additional 2,000 independent operators, information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. The analysis is also based on other FMI research, including 2010 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends and Annual Financial Review 2009.

To purchase the report, call (202) 220-0723 or visit

2010 FMI

CAREER MONDAY: FMO Director of Industry Relations

\"\"With this lengthy and detailed job posting the Arlington, Virginia based trade association the Food Marketing Institute looks to hire a new Director of Industry Relations. Notably the responsibilities will include the FMI Private Brands Group and Annual Summit.

Job Description:

The job responsibilities and duties of the Director, Industry Relations are focused in three key mission critical areas:

1. Development of the FMI Private Brands Group Initiatives

2. Manage the Development of FMI Reverse Logistics Initiatives

3. New Collaboration Initiatives: Strategies for Growth Initiative

  • Manages and facilitates effective engagement with the FMI Private Brands Group, the FMI/GMA Trading Partner Alliance, GS1 US, industry trade associations to ensure alignment and effective resource allocation on key industry initiatives and projects.
  • Works with the FMI Wholesaler Committee and FMI Independent Operator Committee to ensure industry collaboration issues/projects, education and research requirements are identified and executed.
  • Works proactively with FMI Marketing and Business Development Department to ensure programs, services and initiatives are effectively communicated, marketed and revenue targets are accomplished.
  • Provides support to the FMI membership department and other FMI functions to ensure the overall mission of the association is realized.
  • Identifies new value creation and revenue generation opportunities to enhance the mission of the association.

FMI Private Brands Group

Actively build, develop and maintain professional and effective working relationships with FMI members, associate members, prospective members and service providers to ensure they have access to engage with FMI on key industry issues and projects so they can leverage the value of FMI membership.

  1. The job responsibilities and duties of the Director, Industry Relations will be focused and prioritized in four critical areas: Development, management and recruitment of the private brands community initially focused in United States and North America in all classes of retail trade to include private brand manufacturers and industry service providers. Future expansion will include recruitment of companies on a global basis and will include the food service sector.
  2. Development and management of an annual Private Brands Leadership Summit, which will include strategic education, strategic business-to-business meetings and relevant networking events, focused on the strategic development of the FMI Private Brands Initiative.
  3. Development and management of an annual Private Brands Business Conference which will be a collaborative business-planning event focused on company to company business meetings similar to the FMI Annual Business Conference.
  4. Identification on an annual basis of cutting edge strategic research that adds value and is relevant to the private brands community.

Other key responsibilities include:

  • Management and coordination of the Private Brands Steering Committee and designated workgroups focused on the accomplishment of the long range strategic plan, annual operating budget and private brands mission.
  • Develop a supportive working relationship with private brand sales agencies and brokers to expand the breath of the FMI private brand manufacturer community.
  • Develop and recruit relevant service providers to add value to the private brands initiative.
  • Engage FMI members and non-FMI retail and wholesale members to join in the private brands initiative.

FMI Reverse Logistics Initiatives

Direct FMI reverse logistics initiatives in the following areas:

  1. Development, management and oversight of Rapid Recall Exchange B2B portal in conjunction with GS1 US and other industry associations to include technology enhancements and community development efforts.
  2. Management of FMI and GMA Unsaleables Leadership Committee to include project management and conference education support where appropriate.

Strategies for Growth Initiatives

  • Directs FMI’s Strategies for Growth Initiatives and New Ways of Working Together initiatives to ensure FMI, its members and associate members engage and recognize opportunities to grow sales and profitability through innovation sales, marketing and merchandising efforts.

Primary Purpose:

  • Develop, manage, align and coordinate the Food Marketing Institute’s efforts and initiatives in private brands. Direct the development of the FMI private brands community with all key industry stakeholders to include retailers, wholesalers, distributors, private brand manufacturers and service providers in all classes of retail trade on a global basis. Identify, manage and build relationships with key industry stakeholders and future partners with the best potential to jointly create value for the private brands trading partner community.
  • Provide leadership and advocacy for private brands as the industry innovates to meet the needs of changing consumers. Develop, manage and execute programs, policies and forums in the following mission critical areas: industry collaboration, education and research, government relations, food safety and defense and public/consumer information.
  • Direct the formulation the FMI private brands strategic plan and annual operating budget focused in three primary areas: membership development/community management, collaborative business planning and educational forums, and innovative research. Work collaboratively with FMI division management and subject matters experts to create value-added and industry relevant programs and services. Manage and coordinate all activities of the FMI Private Brands Executive Committee, Council and Sub-Committees. Drive innovation, community engagement and revenue growth.
  • Manages, develops, and executes FMI’s reverse logistics activities to include the management and development of Rapid Recall Exchange B2B portal and the FMI/GMA Reverse Logistics/Unsaleables Committee.
  • Develops and manages FMI Strategies for Growth Initiatives and program development.
  • Primary focus is to stay abreast of current and emerging industry trends and issues to ensure member and industry stakeholder needs are addressed in the areas of collaborative industry projects, education programming where appropriate and actionable industry relations research projects.
  • Engage industry leaders and trade associations to ensure cooperation is realized on joint industry efforts that require effective communication, coordination and execution.
  • Manages, develops and executes industry relations initiatives to ensure the FMI mission, objectives, priorities and financial plans are achieved. Develops and builds a culture of collaboration, innovation, fiscal responsibility, listening, responding to member needs in an environment that eliminates duplication of industry efforts on key initiatives.
  • Works collaboratively with Senior Vice President, Industry Relations, Education and Research as well as Vice President, Industry Relations and FMI staff to ensure effective communication, alignment and execution are realized on key association priorities.

Other Job Functions:

Identify staff training needs and make arrangements through internal and/or external resources to address needs. Provide advice and guidance to managers as they undertake the same activities.

Serve as public speaker representing FMI at industry events.

Other duties and projects as assigned or directed.

Physical Requirements:

Normal office environment requiring use of typical business equipment (e.g., computer, telephone, fax, copier, security system). Must be able to travel extensively including weekends to meetings, conferences and conventions.

Position requires minimum of 37.5 – 40 hours per week to accomplish key goals and objectives.

  • Normal office environment requiring use of typical business equipment (e.g., computer, telephone, fax and copier machines). Must be proficient in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Education, Skills and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing or food/consumer products related fields.
  • Minimum 10 years professional management experience, including project management and business planning.
  • Prefer minimum of 3 years of management experience in food retailing and fast moving consumer goods industry to include expertise in marketing, sales, customer & business development, merchandising, supply chain management and technology.
  • Opportunity spotter, idea generator, concept creator and revenue developer.
  • Solid thinker with strong analytical skills.
  • Confident, communicative and reliable. Ability to inspire, lead and execute.
  • Ability to positively influence partner departments.
  • Exceptional problem-solving, prioritization, communication and organizational skills.
  • Ability to represent the association professionally to members, industry partners and FMI staff.
  • Personal qualities must include drive, determination, flexibility, open mindedness, and teamwork.
  • Excellent interpersonal and negotiating skills designed to develop and establish relationships with a wide range of people, customers and organizations.
  • Strong customer service, facilitation and team building skills.
  • Ability to plan, prioritize and execute multiple tasks with attention to detail.
  • Must be highly adaptable and able to respond to business circumstances as they arise.

FMI is an equal opportunity employer.



Private Brand: Competing For the New Consumer

\"\"Listen to this fascinating recording of the presentation “Competing for the New Consumer: Private Brand vs. National Brand” originally delivered at the FMI Private Brands Summit in Chicago, Illinois by Juli Zoota presents a case study on the trends of Private Brands and National Brands and the tools you can use to engage the changing consumer.


2010 FMI Private Brand Summit FMI

FMI To Hold Private Brand Summit


The Food Marketing Institute 2010 Private Brands Summit will be held Monday, June 14 – Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at The Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Illinois.

Attendees will have the opportunity to choose from two days of discussion groups and hands-on-business sessions that address the issues and opportunities that face both the supplier and retailer communities. Each presentation is designed to motivate, educate and inspire attendees as they address the shopping behaviors and insights of today\’s consumer.

Register Today.