Have berries had their run? Are apples still gaining steam? Local, organic, sustainable...
What is the next big thing? That's what I recently asked the 1,900 plus members of the Fresh Produce Discussion Group. The answers are just beginning to come in and reflecting the reality that there is no one right answer for all consumers.
Here was the question I posed:
Buy or sell? What is one fresh produce commodity are you most bullish on for the next five years? On the hand, what fresh produce item may show the most lackluster results? And, of course, why...
Here are some perspectives from the group. One European member writes:
From an European perspective organic and also with origin will still grow steady and compared to US the growing area is limited to Spain, Italy, Morocco and some few others during wintertime.
Finding a new really blockbuster is really hard. Fruit, berries are increasing but growing places are not, with higher oil prices pricing will be higher. Northern Europe will se more varieties of tomato. Regular salads, standard products with no value added like good taste, growing conditions will still be the largest volumes BUT heading for lower prices. The market is even more clearly dividing to two markets, consumer awareness and deep interest of conditions in all aspects and not. People with money want more original products in general and the rest and majority are mostly looking to price.
One member from Italy writes:
In Italy kiwifruits will be the winning card also during the next 5 years. On big headache is in everybody's mind at the moment: the killer bacteria (officially called PSA, Pseudomonas Syringae pv. Actinidiae) which has started to spread out 2 years ago and this coming autumn could reduce the Italian crop by an estimated 30 %. The reasons for optimism from the commercial side are the utmost specialisation reached in Italy (main grower in the Northern hemisphere), the good quality, the perfect technics for long preservation in coldstores and during in transit time for overseas, high professionality on the growing and the technical side, still much to do on the marketing side. Steady demand from many markets in Europe and overseas
Greens - Kale, Lacinato, Collards, Chards... especially organically grown will continue to see increased demand as consumer tastes and health awareness evolve. Greens will move beyond the Southern-style preparations and become even more of a mainstay of heath food and foodie shoppers. Value-added packaging for pre-cut greens and salads will help Greens go more mainstream.
TK: I would like to hear more responses from the group and readers of The Packer. Take time to give your speculations on the next boom or bust produce commodity.