ARLINGTON, Va. – The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) is launching FMI Emerge, a subscription-based online community for emerging food and beverage brands that offers education, mentoring and access to capital sources.

“FMI Emerge convenes everyone in one place — the industry’s leading experts, regional and nationwide retailers, emerging brands boasting a wide range of products, and investors looking for new opportunities,” FMI said.

FMI Emerge seeks to cultivate trading partner relationships with food-producing companies that have products with limited grocery distribution, or companies that seek more sales velocity, FMI said. The program’s key objective is to help emerging brands grow sustainably through expanded distribution and enhanced operations, financing and sales. The “collaborative community environment” will host mentors, offer education and provide access to investors.

“Through our new virtual community, FMI Emerge, our retail members can become better equipped to meet increased consumer demand for products focused on a variety of attributes such as local sourcing, health and wellness, artisanal and global cuisine,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. “Food retail connects the consumer with the supplier. Shoppers are demanding new sensory experiences and the health of our industry depends on our ability to satisfy consumers’ desire for new tastes by providing exciting new products.”

Julie Pryor has been named program director for FMI Emerge. Her background includes marketing roles with Divine Chocolate USA, Whole Foods Market and Ahold USA.