Look How Far We Have Come

An industry colleague with more gray hair than I have, turned up at a recent United Fresh meeting with a copy of the June/ July 1982 issue of what was the Grower magazine. He thought might interest me.  Yeah right!

Ten points for those who guessed correctly: yes, that is me on that cover.

While not wanting to dwell on the mistakes I have made over the years, it was a good trigger to take some time and think about what has changed in the industry since this issue was published in 1992.

Those price tickets you can see behind me on display were preprinted centrally but without the price. The produce department staff then put the prices on the tickets as per instruction, using stickers.

Inside the magazine, colour is the exception not the norm.  Casting my eye over the contact details for contributors and in advertisements and what jumps out at me?  There is not an email address or web URL in sight and mobiles were not common enough – nor were the call rates cheap enough – to warrant any mobile numbers being included.

Now? If you are not web enabled while mobile, you might as well be dead (or so anyone under 20 will have you believe).

So what does that mean for the fresh produce industry going forward in terms of technology?  Can we afford to invest in further technology, given that produce values in real terms are going in the wrong direction?  Can we afford not to invest?  How much technology do we need?  So much that horticulture becomes an open air food factory process with minimum labour inputs?  Or do we scale technology back to aid Government’s (regardless of who is in command of the Beehive) efforts to find jobs for the unemployable elements of society?

As I get older, and I do, judging by the picture, my ability to ask questions as opposed to finding answers appears to be increasing.  This is a good thing really, as questions drive action.

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