FMI FreshForward – Key Takeaways

FMI Freshforward

Last week Invafresh was at FMI FreshForward as a title sponsor. In this age of Zoom calls it was refreshing to be able to connect with people face-to-face. A lot of great content was shared and discussions held. Here’s a quick recap of our key takeaways:

State of Fresh Foods Report

FMI used the event as the platform to release their inaugural State of Fresh Foods report. The report highlighted several Fresh trends:

  • Fresh food offerings are becoming more prominent in ecommerce. Fresh or perimeter departments now comprise 40% of all online sales, rivaling dry grocery online sales (41%) and surpassing frozen online sales (11%).
  • Food retailers are re-envisioning fresh foods departments with enhanced space allocation and increased staff. 82% are planning to grow the space allocation for fresh-prepared grab-and-go options, while others are increasing space for fresh-prepared chef made-to-order stations (35%) or fresh-prepared self-service (29%).
  • Food retailers surveyed are getting creative with their service differentiation strategies by experimenting with new consumer touchpoints, like in-store dining (51%), a coffee bar (39%), online ordering and pickup/delivery of foodservice offerings (33%), catering services (30%), a juice bar (20%) and a full-service restaurant (13%).

Macro Trends Driving Change

There were three major lines of discussion last week at FMI:

Health & Well-Being

As the pandemic converted many of us into home chefs as restaurants, one of the emerging trends has been the increased focus towards healthy eating. And as more consumers get back into commuting, they want healthy but equally convenient food choices. Now generally when we think convenience we think fast food, not healthy food. To combat this perception the grocery retail industry is working to improve nutrition security. From employing registered dietician nutritionists (RDNs) to promoting fresh alternatives to making fresh and convenient synonymous.

There is an active role for grocery retailers to play in promoting healthy eating by providing a variety of Fresh choices and to ensure the right nutrition is available to everyone. Grocery stores are an ideal place for food and nutrition programs, ensuring nutrition security is improved. From promoting the attributes of Fresh to ensuring convenient, healthy options are available, such as “grab and go” offerings, grocery retailers will play an increasingly prominent role in health and well-being.


ESG – Environmental, Social & Governance – has been gaining significant movement over the past few years as consumers become more aware of topics such as climate change, carbon emissions, and farm-to-table. Simply put, ESG is a recipe for change.

Ratio Institute’s Food Retail ESG Reporting Standard provides grocery retailers with a baseline from which they can take the necessary steps to reduce carbon emissions and provide all stakeholders, from shoppers to employees to shareholders, with increased visibility over the operations and the environmental impact of those operations.

ESG plays an important role in delivering transparency into the end-to-end value chain as it helps grocery retailers be in compliance with Section 204 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) requiring the FDA to designate foods for which additional recordkeeping requirements are appropriate and necessary to protect public health, and to establish those recordkeeping requirements.

Good sustainability governance is becoming intrinsic to how grocery retailers will operate, holding themselves accountable to the communities they serve through visionary leadership, solid internal governance infrastructure, and transparency & engagement.

Collaborative Partnerships

We are taught from a young age that we can achieve more by working together. Through collaboration we can deliver the greatest value possible to our mutual customers. At FMI FreshForward there was a mix of retailers and vendors, and lots of examples of how we can work together to deliver value.

  • Any successful collaboration rests on five foundations:
  • A common goal by which to measure success
  • A relationship that is mutually beneficial
  • Clear and agreed upon expectations
  • Trust in each other
  • Open and transparent communications

At Invafresh, our industry experienced team of Freshologists  have successfully completed hundreds of implementations. The key to our success? Collaborating with our customers to understand what they are trying to accomplish, but moreover, to understand how they want to accomplish it and why. Then we work with them to ensure they achieve their goals.

Kings Food Markets

Chris May
Director of Information Technology – Kings Food Market

It’s All About Fresh!

From the discussions held at FreshForward, it’s clear there are macro trends driving change. However, what it’s equally clear is the ever-growing prominence of Fresh and the focus on providing the Freshest experience to customers through offering exceptional quality and variety.

At Invafresh we have over 30 years of supporting our customers’ Fresh journey and our team of Freshologists has a combined 500+ years of grocery retail expertise. We get Fresh and are committed to transforming food technology and driving sustainability in the grocery retail industry.

Invafresh was proud to be a title sponsor of FMI FreshForward and we look forward working with FMI again at FMI Midwinter this January in Orlando.

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About Invafresh

With a combined 500+ years of Freshology experience, the heritage of Invafresh has enabled fresh food retailers to create extraordinary store operations performance and differentiated customer experiences. As the leader of Freshology, Invafresh is deployed in over 350 grocery retailers spanning a global reach of 35 countries with more than $100 million of Fresh revenue being transacted daily, to provide AI/ML demand forecasting, merchandising, replenishment, and sustainability and compliance solutions.  

Learn more at About Us | Invafresh.

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