If you’re like me, you felt a tremendous sense of possibility in the room at Fresh Summit last month when Bryan Silbermann, Produce Marketing Association president and chief executive officer, sat down with Bolthouse Farms CEO Jeff Dunn during his state of the industry address.
The two discussed the unique time in the history of produce marketing we’re currently witnessing. Dunn said while the produce industry has focused much attention and resources on demand fulfillment, the time is ripe for demand creation.
He suggested our industry needs to play to the emotions of our customers, to be artists and artisans. We need to start taking a page or two out of the playbook of snack food marketers, he said, and create fruit and veggie passion.
We couldn’t agree more, which is why PMA is taking steps to inspire the fresh food revolution that changes the way people engage with fruits and vegetables.
Before we can inspire consumers in this revolution, however, it seems we need to inspire ourselves.
Whether driven by the media or a desire to know how fruits and vegetables are grown, consumer interest in where their food comes from shows no signs of waning. We need to think like the true food marketers we all are and tell our story through the lens of our unique place along the value chain.
There’s more than just consumer interest behind the marketing opportunities facing our industry.
- Connecting to consumers: “The Fresh Food Revolution” starts with making consumer connections happen through information about customer trends and insights from global markets, cultures and segments of the value chain. That information is the key to helping us better understand consumers and market to them in more meaningful ways.
- Leveraging science and technology: Advances in science and technology are not only helping us run our businesses more effectively, but also are helping us boost consumer confidence and increase produce consumption in the process.
In addition to continuous improvement with food safety, we’re also seeing progress around supply chain efficiencies, processing and packing innovations, data management methodologies and seed technology. All these areas enable us to safely and efficiently deliver what consumers want, when and how they want it — critical elements in fueling the fresh food revolution.
- Attracting new talent: We’re going to need a world of talented individuals to continue to support this revolution. Creative, smart people who are ready to innovate produce marketing in ways necessary to stir passion and build consumer demand. These people must have the skills and experience to help us optimize consumer insights and trends while putting emerging science and technology to work.
- Finding solutions to issues: Each one of us is a member of our global community that’s connected us with the experts, the leaders and the forum to facilitate discussions around ways to generate momentous appeal for fruits and vegetables.
Our community has the strength to influence issues affecting our industry and our businesses to innovate our approach to marketing. A great example is the recent partnership between PMA and Sesame Street.
Through this powerful, unique agreement, our industry has new opportunities to market fresh fruits and vegetables to children and build consumer demand for years to come.
No doubt, this is a pivotal time in the history of produce marketing. It’s one that requires our inner food marketer to step up and take hold of the power of the modern marketplace.
We’re already a global community incredibly passionate about what we do.
By working together on all angles of our industry’s business, we will inspire each other to better appeal to consumers and their families to eat healthier and make better decisions in stores, restaurants, schools and at home.
As we change the way people engage with fruits and vegetables, people will get healthier and our businesses will, too. Now that’s inspiring!
Tim Riley is president of The Giumarra Cos., Los Angeles, and chairman of the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association’s board of directors.
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