business news in context, analysis with attitude

In this month’s Facts, Figures and The Future Phil Lempert offers a lesson learned from a recent series he did on NBC’s ‘Today Show,” entitled “The Five Things You Need To Know.”

Lempert writes, “Shoppers told us the truth; and that is that we can never repeat the basics too often.

“Case in point - coffee. Last Thursday our Five Things repeated once again how to select and store beans, and I received over 4,000 emails from shoppers on the subject. Too often, we in the food world forget the basics and our role in educating our shoppers.

“Not only do we continuously have new shoppers entering our stores, but with the dearth of information now available it's important that we maintain our relationships by being that beacon to help our shoppers navigate thru the aisles.”

In his F3 column, the Food Marketing Institute’s Michael Sansolo suggests another “basic” to which retailers must pay attention:

“How will the industry (and maybe all industries) find a sufficient pool of labor as the baby boom generation lurches toward retirement?

“This issue has long been on the mind of business, but the simple facts keep making it clear just as pressing this could become. Simple demographics make it clear that the numbers of workers moving toward retirement will be unprecedented. At the same time we have to examine the training being given to the upcoming generations, where we'll all need to find replacements. Sometimes, the news there is depressing as well.”

Sansolo adds, “For the labor-intensive supermarket industry, finding a willing, trainable and committed pool of labor is never easy. Many jobs we have are difficult. Hours can be tough, and the perks less attractive than other industries. Yet, we also offer incredible assets from community involvement, to management opportunities to a vast diversity of positions.

“However, the negative image seems to win out. I recently spoke to a group of marketing students at a northern Virginia university. The 60 students in this program were diverse in age, ethnicity and career goals. But they were unanimous on one point: not one of them was even considering a career in the food industry.”

Clearly, attention must be paid.

In other F3 stories:

• A look at increasing red wine sales, which suggests that the preponderance of positive press for the health benefits of vino rosso is having a significant impact on sales in the category.

• Analysis of the frequent shopper card phenomenon…and what the next big development might be.

And much more.

To get your copy of F3, go to:

F3 is a joint production of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), The Nielsen Company, and Phil Lempert.

(Full disclosure: MNB Content Guy Kevin Coupe is a contributor to F3.)
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