RIFDA: Who We Are and What We Do

Thank you for visiting the Rhode Island Food Dealers Association (RIFDA) website. Our association was established in 1909 and through its’ 100 plus year history, the Association has served the needs of the food industry in the state of Rhode Island through education, resource management, membership services and legislative representation at the state and national level.

Overview

The Rhode Island Food Dealers Association represents over 300 food organizations throughout the state including grocery and specialty retailers, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, suppliers and brokers. The food industry in RI represents the largest source of revenue generators within the state and with few exceptions employs more people than any other industry in the region.

With its size and scope the food industry in Rhode Island has developed and evolved over time to be a large complex and diverse group of organizations. The RI Food Dealers Association has and will continue to provide the services and functions needed that help its members successfully compete and grow by acting as a resource that understands their needs and provides them with information, education, representation and other efficient and effective programs.

What Does RIFDA Do?

  • Aggressively represent the economic and political interests of our industry and members at national, state, and local levels.
  • Nationally, we are active participants with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), National Grocers Association (NGA), the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), the Food Industry Association Executives (FIAE) and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS)
  • In Rhode Island, we represent our members not only in the General Assembly, but also with the Executive Branch of the Governor’s office and its various departments including, but not limited to, the RI Health Department, RI Food Inspections Services, the RI Department of Business Regulation, the RI Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA), and the Department of Transportation.
  • Act as a resource for our members when they face issues and opportunities within their business that they may not be prepared for.
    Ensure the rights of the food companies and enhance prosperity of Rhode Island’s food industry.
  • Provide members with services that may be impossible, impractical, or economically infeasible to achieve alone.
  • Empower members with business tools and knowledge to help them be more productive, competitive, and profitable.
  • Create business and social opportunities for our members through annual Trade Shows, Conventions, Annual Meetings, and Golf Tournaments, as well as special opportunity functions throughout the year.

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Other Association Benefits:

Communication/Education

  • Periodic Updates: Pro-active legislative updates on bills and proposals impacting the food industry
  • Timely Information: Product Recall, FDA Bulletins, Food Stamp distribution dates etc.
  • Monthly Electronic Industry and Organization Updates
  • Quarterly Newsletter
  • Updates posted to our website www.rifda.com
  • Links provided for key state legislative agendas, bills, as well as historical documentation
  • Members portal on website with key reference material and position papers
  • Publicity and other public relation opportunities with regional print and electronic media focused on the food industry
  • Resources provided in conjunction with RIFDA’s Active membership with the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the National Grocers Association (NGA), The Grocery Manufacturers Association (TMA), and the Food Industry Association Executives (FIAE)
  • Marketing and Networking opportunities both within the organization with other members as well as promotional opportunities with other industry organization and potential customers within programs and publication of the RIFDA

Programs

  • Energy Program: Provide lower cost group programs for electricity and natural gas
  • Seminars and Training: Food Safety training, WIC program reviews, SNAP program updates
  • Health and Dental Benefit Program: Group rates and program coordination
  • Life Insurance Program
  • Food Safety Committee Program
  • Initiatives specific to membership classes of trade
  • Small Business Focused Seminars
  • RI Department of Health representation and orientations (including WIC, SNAP program, EBT, etc.)
  • Government Relations: Representation promoting and supporting the food industry’s best interest on an ongoing basis. This includes not only legislation but also related activities associated with the Departments of Health, Human Services, and Taxation
  • RIFDA’s Political Action Committee (PAC): Supports candidates who demonstrate an understanding of the challenges faced by the food industry.
  • Affiliation and participation in RI Small Business Administration initiatives and Workshops

RIFDA Sponsored Events

  • March:  Trade Dinner and Best Bagger Contest; Typically held in March this event combines state competition for the National Grocers Association sponsored national program along with a trade dinner featuring prominent speakers within the food industry and respected legislative representatives.
  • June: Annual Convention; This June event combines business and pleasure with great networking opportunities while enjoying the finer locations and climate in the Northeast with a family focused atmosphere.
  • August: Charity Golf Tournament; This late summer activity held at some of the best golf courses in RI provides another networking forum and helps support the RIFDA charitable contributions to RI based organizations
  • September: Business Leaders Trip to Washington; Sponsored in conjunction with Sen. Jack Reed and his staff the RIFDA coordinates a daylong event in Washington DC that provides an opportunity for business leaders of RI to meet and listen to a number of high ranking political figures including cabinet members as well as members of congress.
  • December: Annual Meeting; The largest business meeting of the year typically held near year end and combines the installation of officers and directors and is typically combined with a holiday theme event

Community Involvement

  • Industry representative of ethnic, racial, gender, and economic diversity
  • Good will sponsors and financial contributors to various state non-profit organizations including RI Community Food Bank, Providence Children’s Museum, and Providence Rescue Mission

Summary

While the list of programs and services that the RI Food Dealers Association offers is large, it is still constantly being evaluated and modified as the needs of our members change. The association exists for the benefits of its members and as such the organization stays true to its mission statement:

The mission of the Rhode Island Food Dealers Association is to represent the food industry of the state of RI; to assist the retail and supply members in increasing their current and future effectiveness and profitability through information, education, and legislative representation; and to emphasize the high standard of integrity, quality, and efficiency in the conduct of the industry.