Will a new Congress and Administration bring a new policy agenda?
By: Steven Harris, Director, Policy Development and Regulatory Compliance, Food Marketing Institute
According to U.S Grocery Shopper Trends 2016, a majority of shoppers visit their local supermarket at least once every week, but how many shoppers stop to think about how policy decisions or elections have an impact on their weekly trips to the grocery store? The supermarket industry is heavily regulated – from the regulations in place to keep our food safe to the policies that influence how certain foods can be labeled – and with each new Congress or administration, we often see new shifts in the focus on how policy decisions influence the industry.
In addition to food specific policies, food retailers must comply with general business and employer issues, such as changes to the tax code and how employers classify their workforce for overtime pay eligibility. These are just the tip of the iceberg of the laws and regulations in place that have an impact on the supermarket industry, and yet we almost take for granted how food retailers are still able to provide consumers with safe and affordable grocery items despite these regulatory hurdles.
As we approach Election Day next month, we need to look toward the next Congress, the new president and the new cabinet secretaries leading the regulatory agencies to decipher how the policy agenda could change, what new food related issues may emerge and how we can build relationships with the host of new actors coming to Washington in January.
Over the next few months, FMI will be meeting with its government relations committee and other key policy groups, and surveying members to prioritize which issues are most pressing for their companies in 2017. Whether we have a change in leadership in Congress or even something resembling the status quo after the elections, FMI will look to our members to further enhance the industry’s voice in Washington with the new cast of lawmakers, policymakers and whoever else is part of the public policy conversation in the months ahead.