Going into a new year, it is only natural to have some optimism about the months ahead.

Signs of growth are becoming more evident in the U.S. economy. The stock market has risen markedly in the past six months, signaling the worst may be over.

Even if the recession continues, and unemployment stays high, the U.S. produce industry is in a better position now than a year ago.

Read about the retail produce outlook in coverage of the United Fresh Facts report.

Supermarkets were able to move more volume of produce in the third quarter of 2009. The challenge for 2010 is to buck the deflationary trend and meet year over year sales targets.

It won’t necessarily be easy, with each week potentially bringing a new supply and demand challenge, such as the winter storms that have buffeted the country in early January.

Millions of Americans — as much as 20% of households — have been touched by unemployment.

State and federal budgets are a mess. Credit may be tightening for farmers and consumers.

Still, whether the economic rebound is “V-shaped,”  “U-shaped” or “W-shaped,” produce marketers have experienced firsthand the value demands of the U.S. consumer.

That should give all of us hope that experience is indeed the best teacher.

Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment to tell us your take.