The anniversary taking place this week may cast a pall over many hearts as people reflect upon the tragedies that occurred last year on Sept. 11.
But we hope many will also remember the overwhelming levels of support offered by individuals, companies and entire industries to help improve conditions for those directly affected by the terrorist attacks on our nation.
Throughout the past year players within the supermarket industry have stepped up to the plate and come through for those in need. From the supermarkets in New York and Virginia that provided immediate aid the day of the attacks, to the consumer packaged goods manufacturers that quickly proffered financial support to relief funds, our industry has demonstrated admirable sensitivity during some of the most trying times many of us will ever endure.
The Food Marketing Institute, one of our industry's key associations, recognized this fact and paid homage to some of the companies and individuals during its annual trade show this past summer, for the first time naming three managers of the year due to the roles they and their stores played during the immediate crisis situation on Sept. 11. Manufacturers of both nationally recognized brands and private-label products have also played a large part in helping survivors get by financially thorough donations and the creation of scholarship funds. Many CPG companies announced the debut of patriotic and commemorative products of which partial or total sales are being channeled to charitable efforts.
For example, 10% of the factory sales of "Little Patriots" diapers from Paragon Trade Brands and 100% of the sales of the Hain Celestial Group's "Tea for America" was donated to the American Red Cross, while 100% of the sales of Red, White and Blue M&M's candies supported the ARC Disaster Relief Fund.
"We think the industry has stepped forward very well in terms of contributions both on the retail and manufacturer side," Gene Grabowski, vice president of communications at the Grocery Manufacturers of America, Washington, told SN.
And, he said, the efforts put forth by the grocery industry amount to much more than what has been visible through contribution checks.
"The introduction of products and the donation from profits that go to survivors' funds is a factor, but I think a lot of the stuff behind the scenes has been interesting. You would expect them [companies] to do a lot to get attention and to market what they've done, but we've seen a remarkable amount of work done by these companies that has not been done with the idea of marketing their brands and their names.
"They really have pitched in behind the scenes and believed in what they were doing," he added.
We recently reported that many grocers will be hosting low-key events in their communities this week to raise money for various assistance programs for victims' families. Perhaps Dave Mayfield, advertising manager for Martin's Supermarkets, summed up grocers' sentiments on the anniversary best when he told SN: "You want to remember it but you want to do it tactfully."