According to the organizations, the relationship will bring together SFA and FMI members to strengthen business development, engage in food safety training and increase understanding of the growing specialty food industry. The segment offers high-quality, unique products that cater to an increasingly adventurous shopper, the groups say.
“Specialty foods outpace their non-specialty counterparts in nearly every category, presenting a unique opportunity for a wide variety of retailers and foodservice operators to increase sales,” said SFA President Phil Kafarakis. “SFA looks forward to partnering with FMI in business-building programs with our respective members. We believe this strategic partnership will have a positive impact throughout the industry.”
FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin added, “Consumer trends point to continued specialty and organic growth, so it’s imperative that the food retail industry meet this consumer need, while making the necessary investment to secure the food supply by building trusting relationships with specialty product trading partners.”
The SFA’s Summer Fancy Food Show will serve as the stage for the launch of the SFA-FMI relationship. FMI members are invited to attend the new SFA LevelUP attraction at the show and participate in a customized buyers program with SFA manufacturers—Biz Builders 1:1. The program brings pre-matched buyers and sellers together for one-on-one meetings just prior to the Fancy Food Show, creating sales opportunities that are tailored to each.
Another critical tier for this relationship is awareness building for FMI’s Safe Quality Foods Institute Certification programs for manufacturers and the FMI SafeMark for retailers.
Sarasin said, “Food retailers are well positioned within their customers’ circle of trust when it comes to food safety and supporting shoppers’ health and wellness goals, so our partnership with SFA is supported by a responsible commitment to evolve and explore new territory that keeps the shopper’s confidence top of mind.”
Food safety experts from FMI will lead educational opportunities at the SFA’s Summer Fancy Food Show, sharing trends in food safety and outlining how new technology affects food safety, brand protection and consumer confidence.
Kafarakis said, “Engaging FMI members directly in LevelUP and Biz Builders 1:1, and SFA members with core food safety principles, will immediately elevate the level of authority at the Summer Show and be a great kickoff for the partnership.”