Progressive Grocer Independent

OCT 2014

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October 2014 | Defining the Independent Market | 33 FMI Insights By Leslie G. Sarasin Leslie G. Sarasin is the president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute (FMI). None of us are mere riders on this planet; we all actively partake of, and rely on, its limited resources. O ne of the big events in my family this summer is that rite of passage that most parents dread — the new teenage driver. Yes, my baby-turned-adolescent is learning to drive. Tat statement never fails to elicit a sympathetic reaction from other parents, either because they've already been through it or they're already dreading having to do so. It's a meaningful rite of pas- sage not only for our son, but also for my husband and me. In fairness, he actually is turn- ing out to be quite a good driver, but the opportunity to see things anew through his eyes as he learns a new skill has opened up my eyes in ways I hadn't anticipated. Tings that as a passenger he's been able to take for granted — like directions to a destination, speed of the car, awareness of other drivers, and the need to stop for pedestrians waiting at crosswalks — are suddenly within his sphere of responsibility. Tey're part of a magnitude of things to which he now must pay attention all at the same time. Just as driving responsibly requires vigilant attention to a thousand diferent details, responsible food retailing requires keeping an eye on a million moving parts. Te soon-to-be-released FMI Speaks Worry Index lists 17 issues and developments that food retail executives believe will have the highest impact on their companies. Some items on the list — such as food safety and competi- tion in its various forms — are predictable, but my hunch is that if we asked the public to identify the concerns they think keep you awake at night, no one would think to include such issues as energy costs, consumer diversity or environmental concerns. And while these items may not always be top of mind, they are concerns that you must keep in mind, especially in a world in which customer Be a Driver of Sustainability FMI, GMA jointly host the Global Sustainability Summit. trust and shopper loyalty increas- ingly are being shaped by such value propositions as a company's commitment to sustainability and animal welfare. Search for Solutions Because companies must be aware of natural resource challenges, re- main up to date on emerging envi- ronmental issues, and be cognizant of technological developments and other resources that can help us be better stewards of our planet, FMI and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) collaborated to host the Global Sustainability Summit in August. Te event was designed to help companies incorporate sustainability into every aspect of their business models. Tis gathering ofered opportunities to fnd solutions to some of the pressing issues of industry — from reducing food waste in the supply chain to becoming more energy- efcient. We all have something to learn regarding more responsible citizenship on our shared planet. Te summit provided a venue for us to dig deeper into the issues and better understand the active, cost-efective and business- savvy steps we can take in a more sustainable direction. Drivers, whether they're rookies or veterans, must keep their minds on a million details to be considerate and ac- countable to those with whom they share the road. None of us are mere riders on this planet; we all actively partake of, and rely on, its limited resources. We owe it to those with whom we currently share the earth — and to those of generations to come — to be responsible drivers as we steer a course toward a sustainable future. PGI

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