Food Marketing Institute (FMI) renewed its ongoing charitable, educational and scientific commitments under its Foundation in the areas of food safety, nutrition and health, raising nearly $800,000 in support of its initiatives at its annual gala on Jan. 21.
“With a renewed emphasis at the FMI Foundation, we’ve established a pathway forward to expand on our dialog and resources for the food retail industry and its customers,” Catherine Polley, FMI Foundation executive director and VP of health and wellness, FMI, said. “The Foundation’s efforts certainly mirror our industry’s dedication to feeding families and enriching lives by championing even small moments together, such as sharing a meal.”
The annual Foundation dinner, supported by Kraft Foods, emphasized the importance of coming together for a meal – as large, Tuscan-style tables encouraged more intimate conversations and sharing menu items in a family-style setting.
The FMI Foundation recently approved sponsorship of several projects that are designed to amplify and measure the effectiveness of communication with consumers on various food safety issues. These are further explored in the Foundation’s annual report and include:
• Communicating with Shoppers on Food Safety: An analysis will assist the Partnership for Food Safety Education in developing a confidence-building template for retailers and corporations that will make it clear their participation is a winning strategy for their companies.
• Measuring the Impact of Food Safety Education: The goal of this multi-year project is to be able to link food safety education efforts to changes in consumer behavior and to a reduction in foodborne illness. The project will use a collaborative forum to identify and develop metrics for measuring the impact of safe food handling education efforts among consumers.
• Fresh Produce–Support Consumers with Evidence-based Practices: In coordination with public and private sector partners, the Partnership for Food Safety Education will launch a national outreach effort to ensure that consumers are aware of evidence-based actionable produce handling practices to reduce their risk of illness.
• Food Science Scholarships: To address the critical shortage of well-trained food safety auditors, the Foundation will provide funding to develop academic course work that can be applied to university food science programs and a college scholarship for deserving students in food science and related majors.
• A Playbook to Combat Childhood Obesity: Through educational programs and outreach, FMI’s Foundation supports Fuel Up to Play 60’s creation of a program that encourages youth to reach out to supermarket health and wellness professionals as a resource for healthy eating.
• Food Safety Research Projects Fund: FMI’s Foundation will support food safety research projects funded by the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) at the University of California, Davis, to specifically projects that address gaps in food safety knowledge with science-based research.
• FMI Center for Retail Health and Wellness: Through a new, dedicated website, the Foundation will also contribute to family health, nutrition and wellness promotion, education resources and tools that the Center will promote.
• Encouraging Family Meals: The recent launch of the Let’s Put Our Plates Together Program to encourage family meals will inspire, inform and excite FMI members to create in-store family meal solutions for their shoppers. The program’s Gold Plate Award will honor the industry’s most innovative programs. Nestle is the FMI Foundation’s partner and founding supporter of the program.
More information about the FMI Foundation and its efforts is available online.