Grocers Arrive in DC for 2018 ‘Day in Washington’
More than 200 supermarket operators, wholesalers and food industry state association executives from all over the United States met in Washington, D.C., on April 11 for the annual “Day in Washington” Supermarket Industry Fly-in.
During the one-day event, members of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the National Grocers Association (NGA) will take part in 200-plus meetings with members of Congress and legislative staffers to discuss crucial policy issues affecting the supermarket industry. Among the top issues on the slate are advocating to maintain the existing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) public-private partnership; opposing any new fees, reporting mandates or other expensive administrative burdens on retailers; and working toward a robust payments ecosystem that beefs up payment card security and transparency with an open standards-setting regime and supports secure dual routing for credit and stronger authentication methods at checkout.
Attendees also heard Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash, who recently received NGA’s Spirit of America Award for her work on behalf of independent grocers, speak on food retail business issues.
“Food retailers take great pride in selling safe, quality and affordable food to the diverse neighborhoods they serve across the country,” noted Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI. “This mission remains consistent; it’s the socioeconomic forces that are changing. Our industry is transforming, and our members’ participation in the policymaking process has arguably never been more important. Congress needs to hear first-hand examples from the food retail industry, as a direct witness to the behavioral, social and economic changes affecting the ways consumers shop for food – namely how the influences of technology, privacy and the shifts in consumer values affect their businesses. We’re all experts when it comes to buying groceries for ourselves and our families, but it’s important that members of Congress understand how proposed administrative changes affect grocers’ narrow margins and their ability to help communities thrive.”
“As the debate on food and nutrition policies continue to unfold in our nation’s capital, it’s critical that supermarket operators engage in the political process, and as an industry, we speak with one collective voice to inform and educate members of Congress and their staff about the impact such policies have on day-to-day operations,” said Peter Larkin, president and CEO of NGA, also based in Arlington. “The supermarket industry plays a significant role in the nation’s economic footprint, but more importantly, on the local level as job creators and backbones of the communities. We are grateful for the grocery operators who took the time to leave their stores and come to Washington, D.C., to share their stories with policymakers on Capitol Hill.”