Walmart, Food Lion, Ahold, Family Dollar and Safeway are among the 15 food retail chains participating in the “Retail Academy” at the Shopper Marketing Summit.

The academy meets each year at the Shopper Marketing Summit and the Shopper Marketing Expo. The meeting at this year’s Summit will take place Wednesday, March 26.

Inclusion is by invitation only.

The goal of the academy is for retailers and their trading partners to develop mutually beneficial strategies in a “neutral zone,” free from corporate interference, multiple agendas, stifling silos and mixed signals.

“In a rapidly changing shopper environment, the only viable option is a win-win-win for the retailer, manufacturer and shopper,” said Steve Frenda, managing director of strategy and development at the Path to Purchase Institute. “Retailers and brands must collaborate earlier in the process.”

The concept of the Retail Academy arose from a challenge posed by The Coca-Cola Co. to create a place for retailers and brands to “learn at the same school.” It debuted in October 2011 at the Shopper Marketing Expo.

Topics focus on collaboration across all areas including online/offline communication with shoppers, digital and social coordinated communication, organizational alignment, and joint shopper marketing strategies.

Read more: Walmart, Ahold, P&G executives to be honored

Along with Walmart, Food Lion, Ahold, Family Dollar and Safeway, other retail chains expected to be in attendance at the Summit include CVS/pharmacy, H-E-B Grocery Co., Meijer, Price Chopper, Raley's, Roundy's Supermarkets, SpartanNash, Target, Unified Grocers and Walgreens.

The sponsors of the Retail Academy are Arc Worldwide, The Capre Group, The Coca-Cola Co., Datalogix, IN Marketing Services, RTC, Symphony EYC, Valassis and Vestcom.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarketnews