This year, our team ventured to Atlanta Georgia to attend one of the largest fresh produce conventions in the U.S., Fresh Summit, hosted by the Produce Marketing Association. Leaders in the industry come together, once a year to the Fresh Summit, to share ideas that are reshaping the produce industry.
Here are some of our key takeaways:
1. Technology and data aggregation will change our relationship with products and the way we experience food.
The falling cost of drones will drive a new precision in agriculture. Drones, lettuce bots, and harvest automation technologies are just a few machines that will drastically change the way produce is grown within the next five years.
2. By 2059, we will need to increase our food production by 50-70% in order to feed the 9.6 billion people on our planet.
To keep up, revolutionizing technologies will transform the type of food we eat and see in stores. Anyone up for modified bean protein or insects?
3. Live in the now. If you wait for the world to be perfect, it will pass you by.
Start tweaking your product once it has hit the grocery store. If you are launching new packaging for your produce, launch it, then tweak it after its debut in-store. Evangelist and author Guy Kawasaki drove this point home citing the launch of the very first Mac computer as a clear example of how the “launch then tweak” mentality can benefit any company working in fresh.
What does all of this mean for produce companies?
We believe that with improving technologies, a shift will occur for most brands to disclose more information about food transparency. A trend has ignited amongst conscious consumers to demand more information from brands. We believe this trend will continue, forcing companies to either change their ways or lose competitive advantage. This shift is creating room for young companies that align with this way of business and they will continue to take market share from the slow-moving giants. To get into the hands of conscious shoppers, we think produce companies will also need to adapt to a shift towards branded produce. An emphasis on branding and food transparency will transform the way we look at the produce aisle, literally.
In the end, one of the keynote speakers, Mike Walsh, summed up the weekend pretty nicely, “understand your essential data, learn to communicate it simply, experiment, run better meetings and put data in the hands of your people.” – Mike Walsh, futurist, global speaker, and author.
Thank you to all of the wonderful speakers @GuyKawasaki and @mikewalsh for providing great insight over the weekend.