By Julie Pryor, Director, Emerging Brands, FMI
I work with emerging brands and have found that many of these newer brands focus on health and well-being, sustainable food production and sourcing ethical ingredients. These traits are revealed in the 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report, which finds the meaning of “eating well” continues to encompass health, enjoyment and social benefits as well as mindful connection with where food comes from. In order to “eat well,” shoppers connect health with eating nutritious food and beverages that are perceived as high-quality. Enjoyment is just as central to eating well ideals, exemplified by having tasty foods and beverages that are hearty and filling with family or friends.
Eating foods and beverages that were sourced ethically and produced in a sustainable way is increasingly seen as essential, and if the attitudes of younger shoppers are any indication, this recent trend will continue.
Meeting Shoppers’ Desires
FMI created the Emerge community because many of our subscribers offer a wide variety of product attributes that more and more shoppers desire. By helping to strengthen the stability of growing brands at shelf, food retailers can better match shoppers’ needs.
How Does Emerge Work?
Whether helping a brand identify a new co-packer, being introduced to potential brokers or service providers, understanding how to succeed across ecommerce and direct-to-consumer, or discovering new packaging materials, conversations across the Emerge community focus on collaborating and benefiting from the knowledge and experiences of one another.
Today, the entire community of more than 80 mentors, retailers, distributors and investors actively supports over 55 companies to increase grocery retail distribution and online sales, grow revenue and sales velocity, and ultimately secure more shelf space. Our education calendar shares valuable industry expertise, and the extensive mentor network is focused on providing companies with guidance to overcome their challenges and scale sustainably.
Here is how a few of our mentors and sponsor companies support subscribers:
- Our 80+ mentors work one-on-one pro bono with our community emerging brands to help the companies move their business along in key areas such as retailer relationship building, ecommerce, packaging, distribution and financing.
- JOH, Westrock and BrandFirst bring their thought-leadership to the community and guide the Emerge program as sponsors.
- Nielsen connects with the Emerge subscribers and provides a complimentary starter data set and reports.
Growing Emerging Brands
The FMI Emerge program continues to see consistent and solid growth in its second year. Our team is proud of the community, companies and industry leaders who have joined us. Here are a few testimonials from our subscribers:
- “For a small brand wanting to scale sustainably, FMI Emerge is the most worthwhile $1,000 investment you can make. The Nielsen data, educational calls and resources are invaluable, and you get access to a community of industry experts ready to guide you.” —Alessandro Gerbini, Founder and CEO, Gatherer’s Granola.
- “We know we still have a long way to go, and we don’t have a huge staff…yet…but we feel like everybody that FMI Emerge has led us to is part of our team now and a great business resource for us. Thank you Emerge!”—Clint Matthews, Wafflepreneur & co-founder, Start Right Food.
- “This program has been SO HELPFUL for us! As a social impact entrepreneur, it has been a privilege to share our passion for helping young companies develop a consciously created corporate culture (4-Cs!) As an emerging brand, I have found the resources and support from FMI and FMI Emerge mentors invaluable.”— Meg Barnhart, founder and co-creator, the Zen of Slow Cooking.
Curious about how you can be part of the FMI Emerge Community? Let’s talk! We welcome involvement from retailers, suppliers, service providers, investors and, of course, emerging brands. Or, if you’re interested in mentoring and sharing your expertise, we have a home for you in Emerge.