FMI is launching a subscription-based online community that aims to offer education and guidance to emerging food and beverage brands.
The new program, dubbed Emerge, "will help resolve complex industry issues by addressing a need for productive trading partner relationships with food-producing companies that have a product or product line with limited grocery distribution and seek more sales velocity," according to FMI officials. "The key objective is to help these brands grow sustainably by expanding their distribution, and enhancing their operations, financing and sales."
The collaborative community environment will host mentors, offer education, manage supportive outreach and provide access to investors.
FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said the program will focus on a variety of attributes that have seen increased consumer demand, such as local sourcing, health and wellness, and artisanal and global cuisine. Citing the growth of natural products, which have doubled in the last decade to $130 million in sales, according to SPINS 2017, FMI said retailers can expect a continued move toward organic and local as well as items that focus on managing health and wellness, which is among the top of the list of retailer attributes that are important to shoppers.
"Food retail connects the consumer with the supplier," Sarasin said. "Shoppers are demanding new sensory experiences and the health of our industry depends on our ability to satisfy consumers’ desire for new tastes by providing exciting new products.”
Julie Pryor will serve as the program’s director, bringing 15 years of experience in both corporate and agency environments.