Food Marketing Institute announces a new initiative that lays the groundwork for a trusted business and creative partnership between two unique grocery roles – the supermarket chef and the head of fresh prepared foods. Titled Supermarket Chefs, this community will help to promote sales, profits and professionalism by forging collaboration between sales leadership and culinary talent in food retail.

Supermarket Chefs will come to life at FMI Connect (June 20-23 in Chicago) by partnering leading culinary professionals with their respective executives in the fresh foods department for an intensive two-day immersion experience together. The partnership will explore paths supermarkets will take versus restaurants as well as offer skill-building activities aimed at improving professionalism within the retail food environment.

“This fusion between left- and right-brains in the grocery business is a smart combination for improving bottom lines and turning up the heat on the competition for share of stomach,” said Rick Stein, vice president of fresh foods for FMI. “Food retailers’ focus on fresh prepared foods remains the most important way to differentiate now and in the future, so we are building this professional community to offer greater emphasis around investment possibilities and meeting the customer’s desire for variety and more prepared meals away from home.”

The community’s goal is twofold:  teach chefs the business side of the business, where culinary professionals will learn how to better manage people, sales, profit and ensure food safety; and teach the fresh executive the art side of the business, where the grocery vice president of sales will learn how to navigate flavor and menu trends and recognize and enhance rising talent within the supermarket culinary space.

“We recognize the tremendous talent we have in food retail, which we witnessed in real time the years FMI produced its Supermarket Chef Showdown, but this strategic partnership is an opportunity that transcends a competitive cook-off – we want to give our retailer members resources and inspiration to grow fresh and prepared food sales and recognize that supermarket chefs really do mean business.”