Back in 2021, FMI marked February 22 as Supermarket Employee Day. We’re excited to celebrate the remarkable achievements of grocery store employees, who face a multitude of challenges every day, and especially in the last few years. More than 4.8 million supermarket employees across the US keep our households stocked with the items we need most and, to our delight, they also go to great lengths to make sure shoppers can get what they want!
“With more than 40,000 stores that sell food and grocery items in the U.S. alone, there are millions of hardworking front-line heroes to celebrate,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin. “FMI looks forward to honoring them once again on this exciting and necessary holiday and calls on all members of the food industry to join the celebration on Feb. 22, 2022, Supermarket Employee Day.”
Next time you’re grabbing groceries—or even ordering them online—take a moment to sincerely thank the people who stand on the frontlines of our food system.
Supermarkets build and support communities
Each of the stores that sell food in the United States feeds families, enriches their community, and supports the local economy. Every day, millions of employees show up to work and help keep our entire food system moving. And as many stores and supermarkets transform even further, they’re expanding services and selection to meet the needs of the many individuals they serve.
During the most difficult times, grocery store employees step up
From one community to another, a crisis can hit at any time. And when there’s one on the horizon or something unexpected happens, most of us head to the grocery store to stock up on essentials and a few favorite snacks. As FMI states, “Supermarket employees maintain the critical pipeline of food and consumer goods that sustain the health and well-being of their customers.” When a natural disaster weighs on the local community, supermarket employees sustain and support them.
Grocery store employees have been getting us through the pandemic
In the past few years, these teams have faced bigger challenges than ever. Serving customers safely has led to major shifts in the way stores operate. From an explosion in online ordering and changes to customer shopping patterns to one supply chain delay after another, store teams continue to adapt in record time. Beyond what they do in stores, supermarket employees really show up for their communities. During the pandemic, Feeding America reported that food retailers provided more than 1.5 billion meals in 2020. And according to the 2021 Food Retailing Industry Speaks survey, 83% of US retailers engage in community support and build local ties through education, philanthropy, public health, and advocacy initiatives.
We asked a couple of Afreshies what they appreciate about supermarket employees, and here's what they said:
"I believe it is a feat of human ingenuity (and a privilege) that so many Americans can walk into a grocery store anywhere in the country and get tens if not hundreds of different varieties of fruits and vegetables. Having spent several weeks over the last year in grocery stores working with produce departments, I’ve gained so much more appreciation for the grocery store employees that work ridiculously hard to make this happen. They are skilled individuals that take pride in their craft—whether it’s making sure they have fresh produce on their shelves, or meticulously creating beautiful produce displays to delight their customers. Seeing grocery store operations up close gives me a whole new appreciation for the term “essential worker. A big thank you to those who keep us fed!” - Nick B., Deployment Lead
"Before working at Afresh, I had no insight into what it meant to stock a grocery store department. After shadowing produce managers, I realized the enormous amount of knowledge and expertise they have. They know their item assortment, perishability, storage needs, and ripening conditions like the back of their hands, even when they carry close to 1,000 items. They understand consumer behavior, know what sells and how much, and what their customers value. And they make fresh food available to consumers 16 hours a day. It’s incredible that I can decide on a whim to make a recipe I’ve never tried and find the ingredients I need at my local grocery store—and that flexibility is powered by grocery store employees. Eating is the most fundamental of all human needs—let’s celebrate those who make it possible!" - Melissa S., Deployment Senior Associate
Grocery stores teams are nothing short of remarkable and they have earned our gratitude, especially over the past few years. Supply chain disruptions have left stores short on top-selling products while labor shortages and shifts in shopping preferences left store teams to change how they work. Through it all, grocery store employees have uplifted their communities and provided compassionate service every day. We’re grateful to help transform an industry that means so much to everybody, including all of us here at Afresh.
Not going to the grocery store on Supermarket Employee Day? Give them a shout on social media with #SupermarketEmployeeDay and #SupermarketHeroes!