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
Grapes
June 26, 2017
Washington Grape Grower Battles New Threat
Apples, cherries, and pears are also threatened by Tobacco Ringspot Virus, a pathogen never before seen in Washington state. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 26, 2017
Cosmic Changes Coming in Production [Opinion]
‘Cosmic Crisp’ is an apt moniker for Washington’s new apple, because the changes coming to the industry are immense Read More
Crop Protection
June 25, 2017
Study Suggests Closer-Proximity Lures Help Increase Insect Pest Catches
Research shows single-trap locations are not as effective as those kept close together. Read More
girl on smartphone
GenNext Growers
June 24, 2017
Find the Food Safety Apps That Are Right for You
There are a lot of choices available for growers. We’ve sifted through them to help figure out which ones will best suit you. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 23, 2017
Take Advantage of Technology to Help Manage Diseases, Pest Pressure
Expert farm advisers provide several options for apple orchard management decisions. Read More
Mobile technology farming
Citrus
June 22, 2017
Technology Boom Boosting Farm Life to a New Level [Opinion]
Whether it is human genetics or genetics applied to plants, knowledge is growing at a dizzying pace. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Certis Bolsters Biopesticide Business Portfolio with Acquisition
Addition of LAM International to allow for expansion of product development. Read More
Food Safety
June 21, 2017
Organization Seeks Winegrape Exemption Produce Safety Rule
California Association of Winegrape Growers says because winegrapes are grown for processing, they should be exempt from produce safety rule. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Early-Season Scouting Tips for Sweet Corn Growers
Black cutworm and true armyworm have been caught in relatively high numbers across the Midwest, including Michigan. Learn more about determining risk and scouting in your sweet corn plantings. Read More
honeybee with varroa mite
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Study Suggests Modern Beekeeping Gives Varroa Mites Ideal Conditions to Spread
Parasite has adapted, thrived with colonies in modern hives. Read More
More Vegetables
June 21, 2017
Variety Specs | Production Tips: Pumpkin ‘Bayhorse Gold’ from Rupp Seeds
Each month, American Vegetable Grower® will offer growing tips on specific varieties, supplied by the breeder or distributor. This month, Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Your Crops
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Citrus greening and psyllids
Insect & Disease Update
June 21, 2017
First Case of Deadly Citrus Disease Confirmed in Alabama
State agriculture officials taking action to assess and stop the spread of HLB.  Read More
Florida orange juice label close-up
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Help Consumers Read past Negative Headlines About Orange Juice
When it comes to this liquid sunshine, there are plenty of positives to point out. Read More
Cucurbit leaf crumple virus
Cucurbits
June 20, 2017
Take Caution to Curb Cucurbit Leaf Crumple Virus
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
The Latest
Grapes
June 26, 2017
Washington Grape Grower Battles New Thre…
Apples, cherries, and pears are also threatened by Tobacco Ringspot Virus, a pathogen never before seen in Washington state. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 26, 2017
Cosmic Changes Coming in Production [Opi…
‘Cosmic Crisp’ is an apt moniker for Washington’s new apple, because the changes coming to the industry are immense Read More
Crop Protection
June 25, 2017
Study Suggests Closer-Proximity Lures He…
Research shows single-trap locations are not as effective as those kept close together. Read More
GenNext Growers
June 24, 2017
Find the Food Safety Apps That Are Right…
There are a lot of choices available for growers. We’ve sifted through them to help figure out which ones will best suit you. Read More
Apples & Pears
June 23, 2017
Take Advantage of Technology to Help Man…
Expert farm advisers provide several options for apple orchard management decisions. Read More
Citrus
June 22, 2017
Technology Boom Boosting Farm Life to a …
Whether it is human genetics or genetics applied to plants, knowledge is growing at a dizzying pace. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Certis Bolsters Biopesticide Business Po…
Addition of LAM International to allow for expansion of product development. Read More
Food Safety
June 21, 2017
Organization Seeks Winegrape Exemption P…
California Association of Winegrape Growers says because winegrapes are grown for processing, they should be exempt from produce safety rule. Read More
Crop Protection
June 21, 2017
Early-Season Scouting Tips for Sweet Cor…
Black cutworm and true armyworm have been caught in relatively high numbers across the Midwest, including Michigan. Learn more about determining risk and scouting in your sweet corn plantings. Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Study Suggests Modern Beekeeping Gives V…
Parasite has adapted, thrived with colonies in modern hives. Read More
More Vegetables
June 21, 2017
Variety Specs | Production Tips: Pumpkin…
Each month, American Vegetable Grower® will offer growing tips on specific varieties, supplied by the breeder or distributor. This month, Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Storm Runoff May Recharge Aquifers and Y…
A new study hints that tapping into storm water during dry years does more than increase water table levels. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
June 21, 2017
First Case of Deadly Citrus Disease Conf…
State agriculture officials taking action to assess and stop the spread of HLB.  Read More
Citrus
June 21, 2017
Help Consumers Read past Negative Headli…
When it comes to this liquid sunshine, there are plenty of positives to point out. Read More
Cucurbits
June 20, 2017
Take Caution to Curb Cucurbit Leaf Crump…
Learn how to identify, the survival and spread, as well as management methods for this disease. Read More
Berries
June 20, 2017
Don’t Be Fooled By Rust in Your Brambles
Knowing whether you have orange rust disease or cane leaf rust is important for proper control methods. Read More
Farm Management
June 20, 2017
5 Alternative Crops Florida Farmers Shou…
Here’s a look at new selections being vetted that might have a place in fields around the Sunshine State. Read More
Citrus
June 19, 2017
$9M in Grants Allocated to Address Ag Wa…
Projects that focus on drought stress, flooding, water quality, and postharvest use are among awardees. Read More