Sometimes when I tell people that I work for a fruit and vegetable newspaper, the response is something like: what do you write about?
The question implies that one must really have to scrounge around to find news that pertains to the fresh produce industry.
A review of just a few possible topics serves to dispel the notion.
Some observations from a Sunday night check of headlines around the world wide web.
How come I didn't think of that? That's what I thought when I read this USDA FAS report about a "home shopping network" approach to selling premium U.S.fruit in the Shanghai market.
From the report:
ATO Shanghai’s cooperation with FruitDay.com, an on-line fruit retailer, is an impressive demonstration of the power of internet and TV retailing in China. This privately owned company flourishes by featuring sales of high quality imported fruit supported by various USDA producer associations. In late August, the Director of ATO Shanghai witnessed FruitDay.com sell 1900 boxes (2.2kg each) of Northwest Cherries in 30 minutes on a live television sales program called OCJ. This 30 minute sales campaign sold more than a single 20’ container load of cherries with a retail value of nearly US$100,000. This was just one of several television sales of American fruit the company has held this past season. In addition, last year’s internet sales promotion resulted in an increase in sales of US fruit on the website that was an additional 180% higher than the overall 100% increase in fruit sales the company experienced.
Has anyone in the U.S. ever attempted sales of niche or premium varieties of produce via TV or web retailing? Anyone heard of such an approach; sounds like a great way to create a buzz about a premium item.
More about FruitDay:
FruitDay.com was founded in 2006 with the motto “Every day is Fruitday” and the goal of bringing premium fruit to Chinese consumers. Capitalizing on the growing demand for fast and effortless shopping, and food safety concerns, their online store was one of the first of its kind in China. Based in Shanghai, they have three cold storage units, two logistics centers, and one customer call-center all open year-round and providing hand selected quality fruit for fast home delivery. This is a new sales channel in China that is developing at a rapid rate and proves there is increasing purchasing power among Chinese consumers willing to pay premium prices for high quality and safe, imported American food and beverage products.
Doubt if "Eat five a day?" is a question on match.com, but perhaps it should be. A recent research report written up in the Huffington Post states that spouses have the greatest impact on a person's eating habits - more than other folks in other social networks.
"Fridge raids" were helpful in pinpointing source of the listeria foodborne outbreak linked to cantaloupe from Jensen Farms in Colorado, reports the Houston Chronicle.
The USDA recently announced a $430,000 plus purchase of fresh apples for school lunch programs. Find who won the bids here.
The Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group continues to kick around the question, "If there is one thing you could stop people in the produce industry from doing, what would it be?"
Stop making so much waste. Too much product ends up in the dumpsters because companies are too busy to get it to the foodbank or recondition it. Sometimes it is just plain poor overpurchasing. There should be a way of salvaging the slightly less than "perfect" produce as well as unsold farmers produce in order to get it to people in need, especially in this economic climate.
Stop clamoring for more and more federal regulation.
Stop saving nickels in order to lose dollars on the back end. Whether it is people cutting corners and trying to sneak poor produce into the supply chain or buyers looking to save a couple cents on a questionable product. There is an adage that you are only as good as the last PO you filled, but on the converse buyers can have a great deal of influence on that equation as well...