Archive for May, 2010

Market Produce 1

Beautifully merchandised fruit & vegetables at a Munich open air market.  Spring is in the air and this produce will just about fly into shoppers’ canvas bags (no plastic bag anywhere to be seen)  on its own.  Everything is fresh, everything is clearly ticketed and every item is hand selected by a saleswoman who gets away with pretending to have grown half the goods and being an expert on the other half.  Perception is nine tenth of reality here and it is being managed very well.  – Note the white Asparagus spears in the front of the display.

Railway Produce 1

I spent most of May travelling.  I ended up in Germany, as one does when one is called Sauerkraut, but also in Spain, the UK and Singapore.  Rather than bore readers with extensive ‘thought pieces’ as I am prone to do at times, I will post here a few snapshots of relevance to the fresh produce game in the next few days from the various countries I visited, along with a short commentary:

First cab of the rank is Chiquita.  A recipe for transforming a fruit sticker into a retailer brand! Any takers here in New Zealand?  That is the sort of strategy John Paynter is capable of pulling off!  What are the risks though?  Are the rewards worth it?  Does anyone know whether this is actually working for Chiquita?

And in case you are wondering about the location – Munich railway station!

Sauerkraut talks about one of the most vital factors in fresh produce… Consistency!

From field to shopping trolley, it’s one of the most vital factors in fresh produce operations – but there’s not nearly as much of it as there should be.

Consistency is one of the most misunderstood concepts in business. Consistency is often portrayed as a secondary goal. “Ah well, I might not be able to be top dog, but at least I am consistent, so that’s OK then.” The reality is that consistency is a state aspired to either consciously or subconsciously by growers, service providers, retailers and consumers alike – and half the time without even realising that everyone is after the same objective.
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Sauerkraut on Marketing Managers in the Produce Industry

Who needs a Marketing Manager? Some people clearly do. On any given Monday or Wednesday, the NZ Herald’s career section carries several advertisements for marketing professionals. Today as I write is no exception. A stationery shop retail chain is looking for a Marketing Manager who “comes and makes history”. The ad goes on to state that “this full scope role includes coordinating our enthusiastic advertising team, research, compliance, and feeding market intelligence to our team of Category Managers.”

A local University is also on the hunt for a Marketing Director, who “will be responsible for the strategic ownership of the University’s brand and image.” A fertilizer company is keen to have a bob each way and is looking for a Sales and Marketing Manager with “strong strategic and commercial acumen combined with the ability to establish effective business partnerships and alliances.”
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New Zealand short story icon Frank Sargeson was actually a bit of a produce marketing expert as well

New Zealand short story master Frank Sargeson summed up the essence of the risk involved in supplying produce markets in 1941.

“If you grew something for sale, he found out, particularly if it was something that would not keep, you mainly had to take just what people would pay for it, even though you might get a lot less than would pay for the work and expense it had cost you.”

Sargeson made these comments in a story entitled “ A Man of Good Will” – a story that described the relationship between the writer as a boy and “a tomato grower who was supposed to be eccentric.”

Sargeson’s comments are as relevant today as they were in 1941. A little further on in the story Sargeson’s eccentric tomato grower takes matters a bit further.
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