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UFIA Membership Offering Incentives To Get Vaccination

Dave Davis

Group’s president: Labor woes likely will require innovation to resolve

by Eric Pereira / content creator


Dave Davis, president of the Utah Food Industry Association, said he sees differing incentive approaches among members in regard to COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Retailers in general and wholesalers and suppliers are using more of a carrot approach than a stick approach,” Davis said. “We’re seeing members that are offering financial incentives for employees to get vaccinated. We also have members that are sort of using operational incentives as well.

“Many of our retailers are requiring, at least with team members, to continue to wear a mask if you’re not vaccinated.”

Davis has served since 2010 as president of the UFIA, which has about 400 wholesalers, retailers and distributors.

As is the case with other state grocer associations, UFIA’s biggest concern is the workforce.

“Just being able to find enough people to get out there and staff the stores, the warehouses, the drivers, everything that’s necessary to make the supply chain work,” Davis said.

According to jobs.utah.gov, Utah’s unemployment rate was 2.7 percent as of June.

“I think that our members are going to continue to sort of struggle and have to get innovative and aggressive about how they reach out and get people and bring them into the food industry family,” he said.

Consequently, those workforce issues are affecting the supply chain. However, Davis did say many of the supply chain issues are starting to “naturally fix themselves.”

“But that being said, there’s a lag time with all of these to get the supply chain up and going again. One thing that retailers love to do is they love to promote and sell,” he said.

“And when you’re having supply chain issues – challenges getting product into the system – it gets really hard to do [that]. We’ve seen a significant scaling back of promotion, just because of supply chain issues.”

Davis said UFIA is continuing to work on a number of items in preparation for the 2022 state legislative session. One of the priorities concerns the current definition of seltzers within the beer category.

“Beer is the only alcoholic beverage that’s allowed to be sold in grocery stores and convenience stores. And with our current definition of beer, there are some challenges with seltzers,” Davis explained. “Seltzers is a group of products within that category, that are really exploding. I mean, it’s where most of the new growth is.

“It’s going to be important for us to make sure that we can get that change in the definition of beer. So that seltzers that are currently being sold in the general market are going to be able to continue to be sold in that market.”

Davis also mentioned there will be a focus on community pharmacies, which many grocers also have.

“I think that we’re going to continue to work on scope of practice – making sure that pharmacists are practicing at the top of their license and not just counting by five.”

Data privacy will also be an area of attention for both consumers and retailers.

“We’re also going to be working on data privacy issues to make sure that we strike the right balance between protecting consumers’ data and making sure that’s kept safe.”

He added that they also want to be sure “our retail members are able to utilize that data to do customized and personalized marketing to individuals so that we can deliver to them a more personalized experience as we reach out to them and encourage them to come visit our stores.”

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