As our industry works together to grow a healthier world, it’s critical to stay on top of current trends and issues, both inside and outside of the industry. PMA CEO Cathy Burns shared these insights at the State of the Industry address at Fresh Summit.
Nearly two-thirds of global consumers prefer to buy goods and services from companies that stand for a shared purpose, Accenture found. Sixty-five percent said their purchasing decisions are influenced by the words, values and actions of a company’s leaders. Sixty-two percent said they are attracted to organizations committed to improving the environment.
As business leaders and policymakers grapple with important issues such as climate change and plastics, consumers worldwide are demanding more corporate social responsibility and sustainable practices.
According to PMA member and consumer focus groups, we found that how and where we, as business leaders, talk about sustainability doesn’t necessarily line up with what consumers are interested in.
Consumers are focused on packaging, waste, and energy, while growers and suppliers often talk about water and soil health. In fact, the biggest issues that resonate with consumers are zero waste and energy efficiency.
If you are passionate about sustainability, stay tuned as we will soon launch a toolbox to assist our members in recognizing sustainable business practices and communicating their stories.
Here, consumers are reducing their time online and cutting down on their social engagements to reconnect with themselves and rejuvenate their mental wellbeing.
Research by the World Economic Forum found that increases in fruit and veg consumption are linked to increases in self-reported mental well-being and life satisfaction over a 5-year period. Meanwhile on the floral side, several start-ups are capitalizing on improving consumers’ mental states through home delivery of plants by appealing to the stress and anxieties younger generations feel.
This notion of plants bringing joy and happiness to consumers was one PMA explored in our groundbreaking consumer study that examined the functional and emotional drivers behind floral purchases.
We found that while there is appreciation for fresh flowers among consumers, traditionally U.S. floral sales haven’t been as robust as they are elsewhere in the world, unlike the overall cultural acceptance and everyday use of flowers in Europe.
Our industry, regardless of where we fall in the supply chain, must understand the end consumer.
To that end, we are tracking three megatrends that are reshaping consumer lifestyles and purchasing decisions: rapid urbanization, an aging population and accelerating migration.
The urban population is expected to increase 25 percent by 2030, which is nearly twice the pace of total population growth during the same period. Mature age groups will increase the fastest, with people aged 65 and older accounting for 13 percent of the world’s population (or 1 billion people). In the U.S., they will represent 19 percent of the population.
These three mega-trends will impact the food industry and, to help our members understand more about select international markets, we have released our Global Market Tracker.
There is also a new suite of reports on drivers and barriers for produce consumption in Australia, Brazil, China, South Africa, and the U.S. These can be used to make decisions, develop strategies and meet consumer demand.
As younger generations join the workforce, we must become more strategic in our approaches to accommodate the talent we need now and in the future.
Talent is a business strategy which must be viewed as a horizontal platform that cuts across your whole operation.
You need to get the right people at the table to not only fulfill your need for skills, but also a receptive culture where innovative ideas and winning strategies can thrive and flourish.
According to Deloitte’s latest study, 84 percent of CEOs said they need to rethink their workforce experience to improve productivity. Rethinking the workforce experience includes reskilling existing employees through training and education programs.
Thirty percent of millennials say businesses have the greatest responsibility for preparing workers, followed by educational institutions. But Gen Z reverses this, with 36 percent saying the responsibility lies with colleges and secondary educational schools, then businesses.
Among Gen Z workers analyzing potential jobs, opportunity for growth was the No. 1 factor they considered, followed by work-life blend, and compensation.
Product recalls and foodborne illness outbreaks continue to affect consumer confidence in our food supply. If we do not correct the produce safety problems in our industry, there will be continued erosion of consumer trust.
Our new online Essentials in Produce Safety program is designed to help strengthen your businesses through training that ensures the latest produce safety best practices are being understood and applied by your employees and supply chain partners.
This year has seen a continued emphasis on technology. Sometimes this focus is for in-store logistics, and at other times it is simply about making consumers’ lives easier.
Euromonitor predicts that technology will continue to revolutionize the in-store experience for consumers by giving them more opportunities to engage with products.
As an industry, we should continue to focus on who has access to technology and how development is funded. This is one of the many reasons PMA has entered a 3-year strategic global partnership with SVG Ventures to connect growers with cutting-edge technology solutions.
The innovations made possible by our collaboration will be critical next steps to addressing the big questions of how we overcome current food production issues and feed our growing world.