Consumers’ shopping and eating patterns are changing, and they are shopping the perimeter of the store for fresh products like never before. Since there is a huge opportunity for retailers to differentiate themselves in the marketplace by making the most of their perimeter aisles, IRI, Food Marketing Institute and FMI Fresh Executive Committee are joining forces to unveil the top five trends that will impact the fresh food industry in 2016 and beyond.

FMI’s Rick Stein and IRI’s Steve Ramsey and Sally Lyons Wyatt will unveil the groundbreaking, fresh food research in a special “Coffee With” session titled “Top Trends in Fresh” at the FMI Midwinter Executive Conference on Saturday, Jan. 23, in Miami Beach, Florida. The presentation will take a high-level look at the top five fresh food trends that will drive perimeter store sales for retailers in 2016.

To take a deep dive into each of the top five trends, IRI and FMI also are hosting a series of monthly webinars that will kick off in late January and run through May. The first webinar, scheduled for Jan. 28, will focus on “Food Transparency.” For more information and to register for the free webinar, visit:

• Food Transparency: Consumers want to know what’s in their food and where it comes from. Retailers that embrace food transparency grow sales up to 25 percent faster than their peers.

• Convenience: Convenience is king in many categories. Across departments, items that meet consumers’ need for convenience are typically growing much faster than the category as a whole.

• Connected Consumer: A whopping 40 percent of consumers use digital tools before shopping the perimeter. With e-commerce sales forecasted to grow to 10 percent of total grocery sales by 2022, retailers can position themselves now to win shoppers and market share.

• New Supply Chains: In response to the first three trends, retailers are creating new sources of supply through either owning their own farms or working with local farmers and sustainable suppliers that turn the traditional supply chain upside down.

• Prepared Foods and Specialty: Retailers are going toe-to-toe with restaurants by offering such specialties as cheese shops, sushi bars and restaurant-style prepared meals. In fact, prepared foods are the third largest perimeter department, with $11 billion in sales and growing at 10 percent a year.