Opinion: Growers Can Be Stars

David Eddy

Those who attend a lot of industry trade shows have probably heard Phil Lempert, or at least heard of him. Lempert is a food industry analyst who is billed as the “Supermarket Guru.” Each year he issues a list, “Top Ten Food Trends to Watch.” If he’s right, this is going to be a good crop year for you growers.

Tops on the list are higher food prices, driven by higher costs of fuel, feed, packaging, food safety — coupled with a higher demand for export. Lempert believes shoppers will shave costs by revising recipes by using less meats and seafood and eating lower cost foods like vegetables. I would think that would extend to fruit as well, especially when you consider another trend on Lempert’s list, “How sweet it isn’t.”

The new dietary guidelines for Americans recommend reducing the amount of added sugars of all kinds, and he expects reduced sugars will be the biggest health claim in the coming year. Along with that will come revised nutrition facts panels that indicate whether the sugars are added, occur naturally, or are a combination of the two. Offering a sweet treat like a nice piece of fruit with zero sugar added looks like it might be a winner. But remember, it’s up to you to make sure to get that Brix up. Nobody wants a tasteless piece of fruit, but it’s an experience that is all too common.

A couple other trends listed by Lempert are even more favorable for growers of high-quality fruit. First, the Baby Boom generation of 76 million who started turning 65 years old last year will control 52% of the total $706 billion spent on groceries by 2015. That’s right, those folks will control more than half the market. Most studies I’ve seen show that the older and the more wealthy you are, the more fruit you consume. And as the boomers continue to age, the more interested they become in foods with health benefits, like fruit.

Embrace The Role

Finally, and I’m saving the best for last, Lempert believes the limelight will begin to shine on growers this year. His reasoning is that more and more people are getting interested in the “Farm to Fork” journey. Whether because of health concerns or whatever, shoppers have become increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from. Because of that, there will be added emphasis not on the celebrity chefs who prepare the food, but on the celebrity growers who produce it.
Lempert notes that this trend can be seen in the “buy local” phenomenon that is increasingly taking hold. In fact, if you talk to any growers who direct market and really listen to their customers — and those growers would be fools not to, really — they will tell you that the movement toward buying local is at least partly overshadowing the desire for organic fruit. It’s as if the food grown nearby is necessarily more healthful, and though there’s no scientific basis for that, the customer is always right.

In sum, take advantage of your star power. Even if you don’t direct market, there are things that you can do to connect with consumers. What about working with retailers on point-of-sale pictures of yourself — or, perhaps even better, your more physically attractive children? Or what about just putting pictures of yourself or your family on your boxes? These are just a couple of ideas; I’m sure there are lots of others that are a lot better. The point is the consumer wants to get to know you — so make the connection.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Biocontrols 2015 Conference
CitrusGrowers Go In-Depth At Biocontrols 2015 Conference & Tradeshow
March 9, 2015
The first-of-its-kind event brought growers, researchers, regulators, and suppliers together for a two-day discussion on the latest biocontrols tools and technologies. Read More
Crop ProtectionAt Paramount Farming, Mating Disruption Pays Off
February 10, 2015
To say Brad Higbee is an expert in mating disruption, the use of pheromones to confuse target pests and reduce Read More
Crop ProtectionGrower Experienced In Biocontrols Says: Be Patient
February 4, 2015
The use of biocontrols in all aspects of agriculture is becoming more widespread. But incorporating biocontrols in a vegetable farming Read More
GenNext GrowersPlan Ahead To Secure Farm Funding
April 1, 2015
Do your homework before applying for a grant or a loan. Read More
Washington Capitol building
Food SafetyBill To Halt Patchwork Of State GMO Labeling Laws
March 31, 2015
Reintroduced bill includes a new provision allowing for labeling products as GMO-free via USDA-certification process. Read More
BerriesSouthern Strawberry, Peach Growers Concerned About Cold Snap
March 31, 2015
Plastic coverings, sprinklers used to keep crops warm with consecutive nights of low temperatures. Read More
Food SafetyFDA Holding Public Meeting On FSMA Implementation Strategy
March 31, 2015
Forum to provide opportunity to discuss planning efforts for the next phase of Food Safety Modernization Act implementation. Read More
PotatoesNew Dual-Purpose Potato Variety Released
March 31, 2015
The russet-skinned variety from the University of Maine and the Maine Potato Board boasts high yields. Read More
CitrusMake Every Day Ag Day
March 31, 2015
Another National Ag Day came and went on March 18. Did you do anything to promote it this year? Even Read More
VegetablesSweet Potato Options For Midwest Growers
March 31, 2015
In the U.S., commercial production of sweet potatoes is mainly in the southern states, particularly North Carolina and Louisiana. The Read More
Farm ManagementLocation Is King When Marketing
March 31, 2015
University of Pennsylvania Wharton School marketing professor David Bell was being interviewed on my local NPR station about his recently Read More
HarvestingOptimize Your Asparagus Harvest
March 30, 2015
It is an exciting time of the year when asparagus spears start poking their heads out of the ground. Careful Read More
Apples & PearsPink Lady Apple Production Continues To Grow
March 30, 2015
Total production is up nearly 50% over 2009, and is expected to increase 33% in the next three years. Read More
The Latest
GenNext GrowersPlan Ahead To Secure Farm Funding
April 1, 2015
Do your homework before applying for a grant or a loan. Read More
Washington Capitol building
Food SafetyBill To Halt Patchwork Of State GMO Labeling Laws
March 31, 2015
Reintroduced bill includes a new provision allowing for labeling products as GMO-free via USDA-certification process. Read More
BerriesSouthern Strawberry, Peach Growers Concerned About Cold…
March 31, 2015
Plastic coverings, sprinklers used to keep crops warm with consecutive nights of low temperatures. Read More
Food SafetyFDA Holding Public Meeting On FSMA Implementation Strat…
March 31, 2015
Forum to provide opportunity to discuss planning efforts for the next phase of Food Safety Modernization Act implementation. Read More
PotatoesNew Dual-Purpose Potato Variety Released
March 31, 2015
The russet-skinned variety from the University of Maine and the Maine Potato Board boasts high yields. Read More
CitrusMake Every Day Ag Day
March 31, 2015
Another National Ag Day came and went on March 18. Did you do anything to promote it this year? Even Read More
VegetablesSweet Potato Options For Midwest Growers
March 31, 2015
In the U.S., commercial production of sweet potatoes is mainly in the southern states, particularly North Carolina and Louisiana. The Read More
Farm ManagementLocation Is King When Marketing
March 31, 2015
University of Pennsylvania Wharton School marketing professor David Bell was being interviewed on my local NPR station about his recently Read More
HarvestingOptimize Your Asparagus Harvest
March 30, 2015
It is an exciting time of the year when asparagus spears start poking their heads out of the ground. Careful Read More
Apples & PearsPink Lady Apple Production Continues To Grow
March 30, 2015
Total production is up nearly 50% over 2009, and is expected to increase 33% in the next three years. Read More
Food SafetyHow To Manage Food Safety Risks
March 30, 2015
You need to understand produce safety issues and what they mean to your farm. Read More
Laboratory beakers
CitrusGrowing Demand For Magnesium Nitrate Spurs TradeMark Ni…
March 30, 2015
Via enhancements made to its manufacturing plant, Florida company is able to provide more of its product to various fertilizer distributors and retailers throughout the country. Read More
Apples & PearsHow Will We Sell All These Apples? [Opinion]
March 30, 2015
Apple production is reaching heights that would have been unthinkable two or three decades ago. That's great news for growers — if we can sell them all profitably, Read More
blue orchard bee
Integrated Pest ManagementBlue Orchard Bee Shows Promise As An Alternative Pollin…
March 30, 2015
The native bee Osmia lignaria could soon be a valuable piece of the pollinator mix, especially for smaller almond growers. Read More
Richard Jones
Farm ManagementDon’t Burn Out This Spring
March 30, 2015
Finding ways to limit stress will benefit both you and your business. Read More
Apples & PearsSounding Off On GMOs: The Arctic Apple Decision
March 27, 2015
Industry leaders share their feelings on the recently approved genetically modified apples. Read More
BerriesBuilding A Better Black Raspberry
March 27, 2015
Studies focusing on consumer preference, aphid resistance, heat tolerance, and genetics aim to capitalize on an expanding market. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateMore California Citrus Placed Under Psyllid Quarantine
March 27, 2015
Asian citrus psyllid is found in Madera County – the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Read More