FMI Leads Common Voice on Farm-to-Fork Issues
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Foundation has launched a new approach to address emerging issues in the food, agricultural and consumer goods sectors.
This cross-industry communications effort, the Unified Voice Protocol, aims to proactively creating an environment of trust and consumer confidence in purchase decisions.
FMI partnered with the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Animal Agriculture Alliance to develop and fund the first pilot project, which considered sustainability-related poultry production practices, with a focus on cage-free eggs and slow-growth broilers.
“It is important to understand the drivers for consumers’ decisions in the marketplace,” said Leslie Sarasin, president of the FMI Foundation and president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute. “This pilot project is a positive first step in helping ensure the food and agricultural industry is responding to actual consumer preferences and furthers FMI’s role and responsibility to serve as the voice of the food retail industry.”
Dr. Jayson Lusk, food and agricultural economist at Indiana’s Purdue University, conducted the research for the pilot project and examined consumer beliefs regarding, knowledge about and willingness to pay for specific attributes such as cage-free eggs and slow-growth broilers. Lusk’s research team surveyed more than 2,000 respondents who were asked to make a series of choices among products that vary in price, production practices, labeling claims, product color and appearance.
“The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is committed to supporting farmers and businesses across the value chain in making data-driven food production decisions that meet the needs of both producers and consumers,” said Sally Rockey, executive director of FFAR. “We are pleased to join the FMI Foundation and the Animal Agriculture Alliance in sharing the results of this study on consumer beliefs and purchasing decisions related to cage-free eggs and slow-growth broiler chickens.”
Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO, added: “This research is a key component in the effort to bridge the communication gap between farm and fork. Understanding consumer-purchasing values can help food companies and the agriculture industry connect with customers and start meaningful conversations about animal welfare and sustainability."
Going forward, FMI will seek input from top leaders of the food, agricultural and advocacy industries on identifying other emerging issues and potential Unified Voice topics of interest. The FMI Foundation will consider these suggestions among the project’s future case studies to ensure that the food and agricultural industries are making informed decisions regarding research, production and retail sales.
Established in 1996, the Food Marketing Institute Foundation is a 501(C)(3) organization that seeks to ensure continued quality and efficiency in the food retailing system and is operated for charitable, educational and scientific purposes. To help support the role of food retailing, the foundation focuses on research and education in the areas of food safety, nutrition and health.