The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA) represents the world’s most prestigious food, equipment and supply manufacturers in the $588 billion foodservice industry. This sector accounts for about half of consumers’ food dollars. 

IFMA’s mission is to “enable its member community to focus on critical issues affecting their businesses and the industry” by bringing the scope and scale of its membership to these issues. All of our activity is member-driven, with 60% of our member companies engaged in one or more of our 20 committees.

Our members drive across each of five focus areas:

Customer Connectivity:
Customer Connection with a Business Purpose

Best Practices:
Combining Knowledge/Proven Experience

Market Insight:
Relevant Input for Making Business Decisions

Human Resource Development:
Right Skills to Meet Future Market Needs

Washington Insight:
Navigating Governmental Requirements


One of our committee-driven initiatives involves the Center of Innovation Excellence (CIE). Strategic analysis of our membership and channel partners revealed that there were no foodservice innovation standards. Since innovation has often been called “the life-blood of foodservice,” IFMA’s founding committee decided to focus on one area of innovation: “Ideas to Launch.” 

The committee, involving top innovation managers from 35 leading food companies, created a three-phase approach to the effort. Phase One, completed earlier this year, specified an “Innovation Framework.” Phase Two, recently completed and the topic of the article you are about to read, focuses on “Benchmarking.”  Phase Three, slated for completion in mid-2013, focuses on “Best Practices.”

Our foodservice industry has always required close collaboration between trading partners, and these integral relationships have been accounted for in Phases One and Two. Phase Three (Best Practices) will highlight how successful companies succeed in this market. To this end, we encourage you to become involved. To learn more about IFMA, the CIE and the many other committees led by our membership, please visit

Lastly, 2012 marks IFMA’s 60th anniversary. We are proud of the way the association has evolved alongside the foodservice industry as a whole. Today IFMA enables members … 

… to connect with industry peers and trading partners through structured events and high-impact industry forums where issues are brought forward and solutions are created.

… to learn strategic insights from the best in the business; access proprietary IFMA research on key issues and opportunities; and dialog on mission-critical topics with peers.

… to apply best practices for tools specific to the needs of the foodservice industry; education; and training.


Much success in the coming year!


Larry Oberkfell

President and CEO