Facing up to social media opportunity - The Packer

Facing up to social media opportunity

04/06/2012 09:02:00 AM
The Packer Editorial Board

“Nothing beats face to face.” 

The words were spoken by Richard Collins, president of Rio Vista-based California Vegetable Specialties, at the International Association of Culinary Professionals expo, book and blogger expo April 1 in New York.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a truer marketing mantra in the fresh produce industry, which prides itself on being a people-oriented business.

But “face to face” is an ideal that is often, even usually, out of reach.

Collins himself made that clear with the very next words out of his mouth that day in New York. 

Nothing beats face to face, “but,” Collins said, “for efficient dissemination of information, it’s not through mailings, it’s on the Web.”

Other industry representatives at the IACP show included Kim Reddin, director of public and industry relations for the Greeley, Colo.-based National Onion Association.

Reddin blogs about onions under the alias Onionista. She, like Collins, gets the importance of social media in the 21st century produce industry.

But the IACP show also made clear that the industry has a ways to go with integrating blogs and other social networking tools into marketing plans.

Just five of the 60 exhibitors at the show were from the produce industry. 

Produce shippers looking to boost their foodservice sales would be wise to acknowledge that a new generation of chefs relies as much, if not more, on blogs and other social media for their information and inspiration.

Fresh produce is still a “face-to-face” business, but when there’s no time for face time, social media is often a produce marketer’s next best option.

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