FMI-The Food Industry Association has declared Feb. 22 as “Supermarket Employee Day,” an industry campaign to spotlight grocery store workers as “the backbone of their communities.”
In announcing the initiative yesterday, FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said that the role of the supermarket “has never been more essential than it has been for the past 10 months” during the COVID-19 pandemic and grocery store employees have been “frontline heroes during periods of crisis.”
The celebratory campaign includes a free online toolkit of messaging, logos, a poster, a press release template, a sample Supermarket Employee Day proclamation and other resources for retailers to mark the first-time event. Participating companies also can share messages on social media using the hashtages #SupermarketEmployeeDay and #SupermarketHeroes.
“Supermarket employees have helped us stay strong during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the rest of the world went into home sheltering, grocery stores remained open and employees remained dedicated to their jobs. Supermarket employees pivoted quickly to put measures in place that keep shoppers and fellow employees safe,” Sarasin said in a blog post on Thursday.
“Maybe most importantly, supermarket employees maintained a high level of customer service that made a difference in people’s lives, from going above and beyond implementing and practicing CDC guidelines in stores to feeding those most in need,” she wrote. “Day in and day out, millions of supermarket employees come to work both at the store level, the corporate headquarters and at every role in between to provide communities with essential services that help them survive and thrive.”
Among the talking points for Supermarket Employee Day, FMI noted that more than 40,000 stores in the United States sell food and groceries, and their workers maintain the “critical pipeline” of food and health supplies supporting customers’ health and wellness. These employees, too, volunteer “countless hours” to the communities they serve and have “redefined the term ‘community service,’” according to FMI.
“Supermarket employees deserve our gratitude,” Sarasin said. “It hasn’t been easy. There have been tough times, supply chain disruptions, job priority shifts and much uncertainty, but our industry’s workforce has made heroic efforts to keep communities going. Supermarket employees have personified compassion and courage when communities have most needed to be encouraged and, for that reason if no other, they are heroes.”