Posts Tagged “produce industry”

Study: What Prevents Cross-Generational Consumers from Buying More Produce

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DSCN4865By Category Partners

Idaho Falls, ID – Why aren’t consumers eating more produce; and, how can the produce industry respond to meet their needs and bolster sales?

These are precisely the critical questions Category Partners (CP) and Beacon Research Solutions (BRS) sought to answer, in their just-released “Barriers to Purchase” study.

Understanding specific challenges the industry needs to overcome, in its sales and marketing efforts, is a key step in accelerating growth; particularly in today’s complex retail environment and among an ever-changing consumer base, which spans four generations and comprises diverse motivators. This is the intent of the “Barriers to Purchase” approach, which – opposite typical research – focuses first on what prevents consumers from buying, vs. triggers.

The study revealed a sizeable portion of shoppers, across a nearly 70-year age range, who aren’t consuming much produce – not even half of consumers eat produce daily and around 10% only eat weekly – and for a multitude of reasons (often, generation specific). The study also presented an opportunity, as all generations seemingly want to eat more produce; if the industry can respond to their unmet needs. The study identified 17 relevant barriers and possible implications, including:

Price/too expensive – even with an improving economy, price was the top barrier, selected by more than 50%. Price competitively and promote strategically, so consumers perceive value – and are incented – in their purchases
• Spoiling/inability to eat it all – ensure shoppers know how to select, store and use. Also consider package size in overcoming this barrier, as more consumers “right size” their purchases
• Poor appearance/quality/color – reinforce quality and related control practices throughout the supply chain (especially store-level rotation, culling and merchandising). Similarly, ensure
shoppers understand proper selection practices, per item (i.e., appearance is not the leading factor for all produce; consider shopper education for flavor, touch and smell)
• Preferred type/variety not available – establish awareness of shoppers’ preferences, provide a responsive assortment and avoid controllable out-of-stocks
• Packaging is too large and lack of bulk/loose items – U.S. households are shrinking, so ensure shoppers have a balanced choice

Related to the barriers, the study also pinpointed meaningful motivators, throughout shoppers’ decision-making process for produce. The results surprisingly indicated consumers – while planning for, and selecting, produce – may be slower to adhere to broad trends; like social media/blog use, convenience and veg-based diets. Study findings include:

• More consumers are deciding in store vs. planning
• When planning, shoppers are leaning toward traditional vehicles (ads/circulars, personal recipes, cookbooks), vs. newer sources (social media, blogs)
• Produce brings shoppers in store, with zero percent selecting home delivery as a purchase format
• Flavor, as a driver, is nearly as important as health
• While “locally grown,” “natural,” “organic” and “non-GMO” are top of mind for many, 31% of shoppers are not seeking this information
• Pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans receive much attention, but 95% of shoppers still are meat eaters
• Most consumers enjoy cooking, often devoting more than 30 minutes and several ingredients
CP & BRS worked with leading produce suppliers and commissions, including Domex Superfresh Growers, Chelan Fresh, Wada Farms, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Farm Fresh Direct, B&C Fresh, International Fruit Genetics and the California Strawberry Commission, to conduct a multi-generational study. In June 2017, CP & BRS surveyed 4,000 produce shoppers nationwide – evenly split among Millennial, Generation X, Baby Boomer and Silent generations – to better understand what deters shoppers from eating and buying more produce; and what changes can be made to positively influence their behaviors
The study’s ultimate goal is to provide the industry actionable insights, both barriers and motivators, so all members – especially retailers and suppliers – can align to develop sales and marketing programs that connect with shoppers and strengthen consumption and sales. Stay tuned in coming weeks, as we’ll follow up with “Barriers to Purchase” findings specific to Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers and the Silent generation.
About Category Partners:
Aa nationally recognized resource, among produce companies and retailers, for delivering actionable business/consumer insights, marketing/sales plans and technology/data solutions. Category Partners is grower/shipper owned and headquartered in Idaho Falls, ID, with offices in Denver, Atlanta and Laguna Hills, CA.
About Beacon Research Solutions:
a leading consumer research and data analysis firm, who works with clients to deliver need-based insights. Beacon’s methods for identifying and evaluating key business insights, include: consumer surveys; focus groups; syndicated research; category reviews; trade research; in-store testing; loyalty-card data analysis and promotion/pricing analysis.

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Freightflow Offers Cloud-Based Transport Managing

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DSCN7917RENO, NV – Progistix®, a technology company based out of Nevada, is excited to launch Freightflow®, the next generation of a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS), at Fresh Summit in Orlando, FL.  Designed specifically for the produce industry, Freightflow gives users complete visibility to their transportation planning, execution and settlement needs without costly technology investments.

Freightflow is the result of a shared vision between two logistics and produce veterans, Butch Peri and Bud Floyd. After spending decades in industries rooted in repetitive tasks and incompatible business systems, their goal was simple: to develop the next generation of an easy-to-use TMS solution that levels the playing field and allows small and medium businesses to compete in today’s complex transportation industry.

Turning vision into reality, Peri and Floyd assembled a team of software experts to develop an affordable, scalable system built using the newest cloud-based technology. Freightflow’s overarching platform integrates ERP business software with transportation tools to provide complete supply chain visibility from a single platform.

* Load Management— Centralized dashboard to prioritize, book, track and trace and post shipments to external load boards

* Customer Billing— Connectivity to key produce industry ERP business systems to manage billing, invoices and claims

* Document Storage— Convenient document storage allows users to quickly and easily retrieve and review documents associated with each load

* Analytics— Robust, easy-to-use reporting and analytics to make informed decisions

“Freightflow combines critical business components and key capabilities into a unified, easy-to-use platform that ensures reliability, security and scalability,” remarked Kyle Jaster, chief technology officer at Freightflow. “We believe the tools and data we’re offering can help any business succeed— without any start up investments.”

According to Jaster, a recent partnership with will provide customers direct access to carrier contact and policy information, certificates of insurance, limits and expiration dates, along with DOT safety ratings and authority data on more than 200,000 carriers. “Combining the power of Freightflow with will make it even easier to add qualified carriers to your preferred providers.”

Freightflow experts will be on hand at Fresh Summit to provide demos and discuss the benefits of this cloud-based solution to those interested in managing their complex, dynamic logistics and trade operation. For an appointment, contact Bud Floyd at 1-845-TMS-2345 or

Questions about this release can be directed Bud Floyd or Kyle Jaster at or 1-845-TMS-2345.


Freightflow is a cloud-based order-to-settlement transportation management system designed to transform how freight moves around the world by creating efficiencies and eliminating costs in the transportation industry. From a single platform, Freightflow provides companies the ability to manage the entire transportation lifecycle including: rating, routing, tendering, tracking, tracing and settlement for shippers, carriers and logistics companies. Freightflow co-founders include industry veterans Butch Peri and Bud Floyd. As President/CEO of Peri & Sons, Peri led the growth of the world’s largest grower/shipper of fresh-market onion operations over 30 years. Floyd spent over 14 years as Vice President, Sales and Marketing for C.H. Robinson, a Fortune 300 transportation and logistics company. Freightflow is a product of Progistix Worldwide. ©2016.

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Produce Truckers Still Lack Adequate Protections

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IMG_6477+1There is angst among some in the Canadian produce industry because the rules set up by an entity of America’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has changed some rules regarding protection they receive when there is a dispute involving a produce transaction.  However, it could be worse.  What if the Canadians had absolutely no protection against unfair practices, something U.S. produce truckers have never had.

The U.S. government recently took away a trading privilege from Canadian produce companies that has been available for more than 75 years.  The result is fruit and vegetable producers risk losing thousands of dollars, closing their businesses, or moving across the border into the U.S.

Canadian produce companies that were owed money from U.S. companies could pay $100 to start a legal process, under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA).   This would happen when U.S. companies didn’t pay their bills on time, at all, or when the company declared bankruptcy.

However,  in October 2014, the United States withdrew Canada’s privileged access to PACA after the Canadian government neglected to implement the same privileges this side of the border.   Now Canadian fruit and vegetable producers have to pay double the amount of money they’re owed to get access to the unpaid funds. If they’re owed $100,000 for cucumbers for example, they have to pay $200,000 as a bond to get the process started.

For decades, this writer has advocated owner operators, small fleets and large fleets hauling fresh fruits and vegetables be afforded similar protections the USDA’s PACA provides for the produce industry.  This would be invaluable for produce truckers facing unfair claims or deductions or rejected loads.  However, the produce industry has always fought against such measures and the PACA has certainly shown no interest.

About the only recourse for produce haulers is going through the court system, which can be costly, time consuming and particularly difficult considering the fact the problem may have taken place thousands miles from the trucker’s home base.  Otherwise, hope and pray you have a good truck broker or shipper backing you when such issues arise. — Bill Martin


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Check List – Part II: The Importance of Taking Pulp Temperatures

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RichMacleod13(To see the TransFresh and Techtrol  atmosphere checklist go to the post of  April 10, 2014, or to:

One of the most important functions to perform when loading a refrigerated trailer is to take not only the pulp temperature, but an adequate number of pulp temperatures.  But how many is enough?

Rich Macleod of TransFresh Corp. in Salinas, CA states, “I would get two temperature readings  per pallet from each lot going into the trailer.  If you had a lot of peaches, nectarines and plums, you would want at least two pulp temperatures from each of those stone fruits – so about six pulp temperatures.”

TransFresh is well known in the produce industry and the refrigerated trucking industry for its Techtrol atmosphere process where carbon dioxide (CO2) is pumped into a plastic bag that covers and surrounds a pallet of strawberries and some other perishable fruits.  Studies have shown Techtrol’s CO2 atmosphere extends the shelf life of some fruits.

It is critical to know whether produce items have been pre-cooled at shipping point and what the temperature of the product is when loaded.  It could mean a big difference upon arrival at destination, especially if there is an issue with the quality and condition of the product.

This is of course in a perfect world, which often is non existant at shipping point.  Macleod is well attuned to the “politics” and what goes on at loading docks.  Too often, there may be resistance at the dock when a trucker wants to take his own pulp temperatures.

“In the strawberry trade we run into this (at the loading dock) because they don’t want the trucker punching holes in the techtrol bag.  (At least) that is the excuse.  We very carefully train our customers to let the drivers do that and just take a piece of tape and cover it (the hole in the bag) back up again.  There are special stickers so you can cover the hole,” Macleod says.

He is aware the driver must contend with the policies of management at shipping point.  The driver might even have to deal with a forklift driver, who on that particular day just doesn’t want to take the time to allow for the pulp reading.  In reality, Macleod said it usually comes down to the “outlook” of the people where the loading is taking place.

“As important as it (taking pulp temperatures), I don’t think that is a real comfortable thing for drivers to do.  What I see is maybe 10 to 15 percent of the loads get pulped by the driver,” Macleod observes.  “The key is the driver should be aware of what the pulp temperature is.  Some shippers, or people on the dock will take the pulp temperature for them (driver).”

From the shipper’s point of view and from a safety aspect, Macleod notes, when a shipper and the trucker take the pulp temperature together, that is okay.  If the shipper is concerned about food safety issues, whose temperature probe do you want used?

(This is the second in a five-part series featuring an interview with Rich Macleod, vice president, pallet division North America for TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA.  He has been with the company since 1976, and has a masters degree in post harvest science from the University of California, Davis.)







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Truckers Need Protections, But Produce Industry Fights It

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In a nutshell, produce truckers too often receive the shaft in unfair claims and deductions from the produce industry.  And the produce industry, which has protections in disputes, won’t even consider allowing these same truckers the protections they enjoy.  More about this in a moment.

It is turning into a relatively uneventful produce shipping and hauling season, as far as total produce volume as well as supply and demand for refrigerated equipment.  Rates remain strong from the major shipping areas, but not setting any records.  Any produce shipping area that may be reporting a shortage of trucks is probably experiencing this shortage primarily due to not increasing the rates enough to attract more equipment.  Often the shipping areas are off the beaten path, and providing more lower cost, basic or “hardware” produce items.

Also, when I describe the summer produce shipping season as “relatively uneventful,” I qualify that by saying there still are the usual unfair claims and deduction on loads at destination.  Combine this with the fact, there have been a number of produce companies file for bankruptcy this year, it increases the odds that the trucker will be the last to paid, and probably not receive a dime of what is owed.

Many if not most produce companies receive protections under the Perishable Commodites Act (PACA) that provides protections and arbitation in disputes between members of the produce industry.  However, as I’ve “preached” for decades now, truckers are not afforded the same protections.  So if you are owed money by a bankrupt receiver, you are pretty much on your own in trying to collect monies owed.   Even with a receiver not involved in a bankruptcy, and there is an unfair claim or deduction,  unless you have an exceptional carrier, shipper or broker behind you, or you can afford a lawyer to represent you, mostly likely in a state hundreds if not thousands of miles away —  you are out of luck.

Meanwhile, the produce industry continues to have meetings, conferences, teleconferences, etc. now and then, that promote good and fair treatment of produce truckers.  This is honorable.  There are actually some people in the industry that care and would love to see produce haulers receive the same protections as members of the produce industry.  But they are easily in the minority and lack the clout to do much about it.

Large produce companies with political clout and money generally won’t consider PACA protections for truckers — and until this changes — no one in the Federal government has the will, stomach, or abililty to fight for this needed change. — Bill Martin

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