Archive for 'Education'

How Do I Get My Product On The Supermarket Shelf?

guardianMasterclasses are something I immediately associate with food and TV. We can thank Masterchef for that. And the Guardian is a British newspaper. What should I make of those two terms strung together though? The short answer is – anything is possible in a day and age when entertainment by bite size is the norm and the print media resembles a dinosaur and is desperately trying to reinvent itself. The Guardian seems to have determined that it has a role to play in business education way beyond having the latest crop of bowler hatted gentlemen study its financial pages. Which is why it runs a Masterclass dedicated to getting new products, presumably including new produce items, on the supermarket shelf. Details can be found here. If that thought does not appeal, how about waiting for the Walmart “Get On The Shelf” contest to come around again? From time to time, Walmart invites “inventors, tinkerers, thinkers, marketers and everyday Joes” to submit their ideas for scrutiny. BeatlesAnything seems to go these days, as traditional channels of getting business done are reduced to direct contact between wacky inventors and grocery giants and newspapers move into the adult education business. Not that there is much space on those supermarket shelves. Ever since supermarkets decided that their own name belongs on those shelves as well via their house brand and private label product ranges, it tends to be getting pretty crowded on those shelves, with a distinct limit to how many “me too” brands are required. Consumers should welcome that as it narrows the selection typically down to the premium FMCG brand, the retailer’s product and one of the second tier suppliers, just for good measure. Unless, of course, the retailer has a budget line as well as a premium label  he wants to make available. Three is already a crowd. Four becomes a mob – and unmanageable. Luckily, we don’t get to see those positioning exercises too often in the fresh produce area. For now at least, anyway. I seem to recall that supermarket product ranging trends tend to start in the centre grocery aisles before they spread to the perishable departments at the edge of the store. Oh well, The Guardian class starts on Saturday. If you hop on a plane tonight, you will get to the UK on time!

Alternatively – talk to us.

New Doctoral Set Under Way

A couple of weekends ago, the IMCA Study Centre UK launched its new doctoral set, with doctoral students from Finland, Australia and the UK. I joined the five associates from the UK and Finland  and their tutors during the start-up weekend deep in the Surrey countryside.

joe denby Here are faculty members Joe Denby, Jouko Huju and Richard Hale preparing for a sessions with the associates.

This set comes with several ‘firsts’.

It is the first time that Doctoral students pursuing explication, DBA, DPhil and Action Learning Question routes are being proactively brought together as a set from the outset.

It is the first time that IMCA has quite deliberately designed  a set that stretches across both hemispheres and has face to face subsets in three countries working with each other virtually across the web.

It is the first time that a set will be using Linked In and Dropbox as designated set tools from the start of the programme.

You will hear more about the set here as it gets to work.  Well done Joanna Kozubska and team for getting this exciting set of doctoral action leaning associates out of the starting blocks.

Hans Maurer

How to Boil an Egg

Egg timerRecently my attention was caught by this egg timer bought by Sara.  So what is so snazzy about this egg timer, you may be asking; after all, what is so hard about boiling an egg?

It goes IN the pot, dear readers.

And, it got Sara and I thinking: how could something like this be used to benefit fresh produce marketing.

How great would this be for, say, boiling potatoes?  Are they new pototoes, or do I want them boiled for mashing, or maybe parboiled in preparation for roasting… imagine the traction potatoes could get utilising one of these in a “Cooking for Dummies” ad campaign.  And that would go for all sorts of other vegetables, too.  Plus, there is the marketing hook that the modern human loves gadgets.  I could see teenagers liking this – I wonder if there is an app for that?

One of the biggest barriers facing a consumer of fresh produce is “when is this piece of fruit ready for me to eat?”  If they can not be sure, then they tend not to buy it – and certainly they won’t attempt to cook it.

The industry has already shown that it can pursue innovation in this area – remember ripeSense?  What else can the fresh produce industry do to give the consumer to confidence to buy more produce, more often?

In the meantime, Sara, our Iraqi Kiwi with her eye for gadgets, her penchant for travel and her mastery of our facebook, twitter, linkedin and webmarketing affairs can be relied upon to discuss the next ‘very useful’ innovation in a matter of weeks. We will keep you posted.

The AgriChain Centre Announces Scholarships for the 2011 IMCA Executive Diploma in Produce Marketing

 The AgriChain Centre is committed to the Horticulture New Zealand 10/2020 Strategy and enhancing the marketing effectiveness of the New Zealand produce industry. 

Education is an important business tool for the future and therefore, The AgriChain Centre, in partnership with its sister company IMCA New Zealand Ltd, is launching scholarships to the Executive Diploma in Produce Marketing course.

The opportunity currently exists for enrolment into the IMCA Executive Diploma in Produce Marketing course which is due to commence in January 2011.  This course offers New Zealand fresh produce industry managers the opportunity to obtain skills and knowledge specific to the industry. 

The Diploma in Produce Marketing is an eighteen-month, in-post, Action Learning programme based around an organisation’s key issues related to the marketing of fresh produce.  Participants will gain valuable knowledge by researching and acting upon real issues faced by their organisation. 

The topics covered during the course are:

  • Marketing Management,
  • Marketing Analysis and Decision-Making,
  • Marketing Planning and Implementation, as well as
  • Marketing Communications.

 Course delivery is substantially Internet based and complemented by Auckland based tutorials.  Tutorials are normally carried out at six weekly intervals and planned several months in advance.

The course investment is typically NZ$ 8,000 (plus GST) per Associate, however, if you are fortunate enough to be awarded an AgriChain Centre Scholarship, 50% of the fees will be met, making the course investment only $4,000 (plus GST).

Associates will become associate members of the International Management Centres Association, The Global Action Learning Business School and will gain access to IMCA’s online business library, containing some 1,200 fully searchable management and business journals. 

The investment in time varies, based on the degree of integration between an Associate’s course requirements and his/her ability to relate those to the workplace environment and activities.  On average, Associates should work on the basis of an eight-hour per week time commitment in addition to the face to face tutorial sessions.

This Diploma is suitable for growers involved in management, service company account managers, produce retailers and brokerage marketing staff.  In other words, managers working in a produce business who are used to making decisions.  There is no requirement for Associates to have any specific prior qualifications.  A commitment to the produce industry, an open mind, a willingness to learn, Internet access and the ability to use Microsoft Office products are pre-requisites.

If you require any further information or wish to apply for a scholarship please contact Dr Hans Maurer or Debbie Woods on Tel: 09-414-4536, e-mail

Visit for further general information. 

Scholarship places are limited, prompt applications are therefore essential.