I have also learned that trend adoption is limited more by the buyer’s view of the category than consumer demand. Data matters, and I would use it differently.
In addition to great product, I have learned that the real winners in this industry are those who can deliver at store level.
They invest heavily in training on not only the basics of stocking and rotating, but also on the consumer side of produce.
Their store teams know how to engage consumers, help them select products and discuss preparation methods.
As I have worked with grower-shippers to launch new and differentiated items, the most significant decision we often make is which retailer we should ask to launch our products.
If I were to go back to retail, I would invest significantly more of my time and company resources in improving execution at retail by establishing a culture of consumer engagement at store level.
I firmly believe the best retailers end up with the best in class suppliers. My role as the produce leader would be to create an environment where suppliers pursue us with their best products.
In all reality, I am having too much fun in working with the supply chain to go back to retail, though I know I could improve if I did return.
Don Goodwin is the owner of Golden Sun Marketing. His company specializes in strategy and marketing for the fresh produce supply chain. Visit www.goldensunmarketing.com for more information.