Archive for 'Netherlands'

Produce & Digital Technology

speaking at rotterdam15December 2015 had me presenting to an international fresh produce audience  at the 2nd EU Fresh Info Forum in Rotterdam.  The event was organised by Frug I Com, the Dutch produce industry body for electronic messaging and coding standards and co-hosted with GS1 and IFPS, the International Federation for Produce Standards.   Anyone interested in a summary of the event, can find this here.

Following the event, Frug I Com and its sister organisation, Fresh Information Management Centre BV, produced a white paper  which can be found at  Internet-of-Veggies, Horticulture in the Digital World.

The big learning for us here at The AgriChain Centre has been the realisation that even the smartest minds struggle at times comprehending that the way business is conducted can change, will change and needs to change because the availability of new technologies not only makes change possible but, in many cases, compelling to the extent that without timely and strategy driven change being embraced, the biggest change of all may well occur – a business that cannot at the very least adapt to change will sooner or later cease to exist.

Now more so than ever, horticultural and produce industry leaders owe it to their organisations to cultivate a questioning mind, particularly with a firm focus on the potential impact generated by emerging technologies.

This process is most certainly in full swing around here, particularly since The AgriChain Centre became an Independent Verification Agency (IVA) for the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries last year.

So – what is going to happen in your business when you ask these questions:

“How could I improve my customer service delivery through smarter use of digital technology?”

“What business activities can I add to my existing ones, if I were to introduce smart technology?”

“How will my industry look like in five years time and what are the big data based opportunity for my business in that new landscape?”

The first two questions are very much incremental.  There are a good way to start building on today – the platform and environment you are familiar with.  The third question challenges the fundamental.  It assumes the industry will change and questions whether there is still a place for your business on the future strategic canvas.  Not for the faint hearted, but an essential question to ask for all serial value -adders.


dutchchesseshopwindowA little while ago, I posted a blog entry about a Dutch supermarket which refused to take cash. Here are a couple of more photos from the same store – or rather two photos of the same cheese display…First impressions are seldom wrong. Of course, I would expect to see cheese displayed in the Netherlands. Not necessarily in supermarket windows, but then we are used to the American supermarket model here in New Zealand, the one with huge glass frontages and not the quaint European ones…with not so quaint ideas about accepting cash…but I digress. And not only did cheese not come as a surprise but also the fact that they had whole of wheels of cheese on display could be expected, after all, we are talking about the Netherlands here…

facebookcheeseblogWhat I did not expect to see was the sign perched on top of the cheese, the one inviting the passing public to visit the store’s Facebook page. What a neat way of combining century old tradition with modern marketing concepts. I was so impressed, I nearly forgave them about not wanting to take my cash! In typical Dutch minimalist fashion, the store is called Marqt…Market… The website is in Dutch only…to be expected… but one look at the imagery will wet your appetite I bet. Food does not have to be complicated, but it needs to be fresh and professionally merchandised. That is something Marqt does well. Very well.


I have grown up with a few motherhood statements and I am sure I am not alone with that. Here are three I remember from my early childhood; I was probably three years old…

1. Do not cut potatoes with a knife. (very German piece of useless etiquette)

2. Vegetables are good for you. (Debatable from a child’s perspective)

3. Money buys sweets, toys & icecream. (Later supplemented with beer, wine & cigars)

Money at the time was defined as folding stuff and round metal disks of various sizes which made a racket in one’s pocket – or fell out if one ‘s mother had not done her job properly.

In latter years, cheque books, credit cards, debit cards, chip cards and electronic transfers made it into my arsenal. Nothing, however, prepared me for this Dutch store that rejected my cash.

It looks like society is heading for a major paradigm shift in the not so distance future.