FMI – The Food Industry Association has several initiatives focused on the workforce and on helping retailers and their supplier partners solve their labor-related problems. 

The association’s Future Leaders eXperience, for instance, is the industry’s premier training program for retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers. The interactive learning experience, now offered online, focuses on the development of leadership skills for professionals across the food industry.

Those who participate can work towards their Food Retail Leader Certificate, which further develops key leadership skills recognized throughout the industry, said Mark Baum, FMI’s chief collaboration officer and senior vice president, industry relations.

In 2022, the program graduated 267 participants. Since its inception, more than 1,000 people have earned Future Leaders eXperience certificates.

FMI also incentivizes grocery workers to excel through its Store Manager Awards program and its Executive Leadership Awards. And in 2020 the association launched Supermarket Employee Day. Held on Feb. 22, it’s a perfect opportunity for the food industry to recognize its staff for the demanding work they do to keep America fed.  

FMI has also tackled the labor issue from an academic angle. For the past three years, the association has conducted research about the grocery workforce through its Peck Fellowship at St. Joseph’s University.

The first two years’ research projects looked at how to recruit Gen Z workers and how to improve employee retention. This year, FMI and St. Joseph’s are taking a deep dive into best practices in hiring and related practices.