business news in context, analysis with attitude

CIES has released its annual “Top Of Mind” survey, indicating that the events of the past year have had a dramatic impact on the issues and priorities on which senior executives are focusing. And for the most part, retailers and manufacturers seemed petty much in synch, not showing the disparity of opinion that sometimes has been seen in past years.

In the overall rankings – combining the opinions of both retailers and manufacturers – corporate responsibility (which includes both sustainability and social standards) got the top spot, up from number five in last year’s list. Food safety, which was number eight last year, moved up to number two, while consumer health a nutrition – top of the list a year ago – moved down to number three. The economy and consumer demands, which includes energy costs and consumer trends, moved to number four from number 11 last year, and retailer-supplier relationships moved down to number five from last year’s number two position.

When retailer opinions were considered on their own, the top five positions were taken by corporate responsibility (#3 a year ago), food safety (#6 a year ago), consumer health and nutrition (#6 last year), and the economy and consumer demand (#10 last year), which tied for fourth place with technology and supply chain issues (#5 last year).

On the manufacturer side, corporate responsibility was at the top of the list (#8 a year ago), consumer health and nutrition was second (the same as last year), retailer-supplier relations was third (top of the list in 2007), the economy and consumer demand was fourth (#11 last year), and food safety was fifth (ninth last year).

KC's View:
In a lot of ways, corporate responsibility and food safety are in the same general ballpark … and it is noteworthy that they are now top of mind of most senior executives.

Good thing, too. Because these are issues that directly impact the relationship that the food industry has with the consumers.