Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has developed an initiative to unite supermarket chefs and heads of fresh prepared foods in a business and creative partnership. The Supermarket Chefs community aims to help boost sales, profits and professionalism through collaboration between sales leadership and culinary talent in the food retail arena.
The initiative will make its official debut at FMI Connect with the participation of 20 leading culinary professionals and their respective fresh food executives in an intensive two-day immersion experience. The participants will explore the paths supermarkets will take compared with restaurants, in addition to offering skill-building activities to improve professionalism.
“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,” noted Rick Stein, VP of fresh foods for Arlington, Va.-based 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 goals are to teach chefs the business side of the business: better managing associates, sales and profits, and ensuring food safety, and to teach fresh executives the artistic side of the business: navigating flavor and menu trends, and recognizing and fostering emerging talent.
Added Stein: “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.”
This year's FMI Connect will take place June 20-23 at Chicago's McCormick Place.