retail news in context, analysis with attitude

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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy, coming to you today from the Brown Palace in Denver...

Just a few thoughts this morning, coming after the Food Marketing Institute Midwinter Executive Conference.

I think the thing I found most heartening about the conference was that food seemed to be more central to the discussion than sometimes has been the case in the past.

I think it is terrific that a new campaign, called "Let's Put Our Plates Together," has been begun to encourage and coordinate efforts by retailers to get families to eat together on a regular basis, because we all know that when families eat meals together, their kids are better adjusted, have fewer drug and alcohol problems, and get better grades.

I think it is wonderful that, in a series of Community Outreach Awards, FMI is lauding retailers large and small that are being aggressive with programs that deal with nutrition, health and hunger. These are enormously important issues, and the food industry can and should be central to addressing them.
I go to a lot of food stores, and the simple fact is that it is the stores that celebrate food that are the best ones. That doesn't mean gourmet food, though it can. It just means understanding that selling food is different from selling widgets, and as such presents an opportunity to be different and differentiated in how one markets and merchandises.

It means being specific about health and nutrition issues. It means providing as much information as possible to consumers so they can make informed, intelligent decisions. It means having food stores that smell good. It means helping people understand how to prepare and serve food. It means figuring out where the gaps are, and filling in with information whenever possible.

This stuff cannot be overstated. It can't be talked about too much.

Food matters in a way that few other products do. I find it encouraging whenever people in the food industry talk about it, rather than just focusing on supply chains and efficiency and slotting allowances and all that other stuff that, while important, isn't what makes the food business special.

That's what is on my mind this Thursday morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

KC's View: