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On Monday, May 6, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show will feature a most unusual ribbon cutting – that of Phil’s Supermarket, a completely virtual retail environment designed to offer industry executives and consumers alike a new perspective on food and the shopping experience.

Developed by Phil Lempert of SupermarketGuru.com and the ‘Today Show,” Phil’s Supermarket will exist only on SecondLife.com. According to Lempert, this innovative use of state-of-the-art technology comes at a time when more and more retailers and consumer packaged goods brands are struggling and looking for innovative ways to connect with today’s consumer in an increasingly crowded marketplace. The objective of Phil’s is described thus: “to empower and educate shoppers and to celebrate food. Phil’s is an “open architecture” marketing and learning lab for all food and beverage companies to connect with and understand the current and future needs of the global consumer.

“There is a growing challenge in understanding the difference between shoppers being content and being engaged. Retail and brands have to move away from “category” mindset and become customer-centric while executing an all-inclusive experience effectively and economically,” says Lempert. “We have produced the most exciting and engaging experience in the food world built on a culture of collaboration and a new level of consumer participation enabling shoppers to make better and smarter choices in the real world.”

The ribbon cutting will take place in both the physical and virtual world at 10:30 am (CDT) on Monday, May 7, in the Kraft Foods booth on the FMI Show floor.
KC's View:
We’ll give you one good reason to pay attention to this – the demographic for people who go on SecondLife.com is people in their twenties and thirties with actual disposable income that they are spending on virtual experiences. When we heard about SecondLife, we assumed its denizens were largely kids spending their parents’ money on what it had to offer. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

These are real customers, and it is up to the industry to figure out what drives them before retailers and manufacturers become irrelevant to how they live their lives.

One other quick Lempert-related note. We messed up the coding yesterday on the link to his new website, Food, Nutrition & Science.

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