Rapid advances in technology, the continued enhancement of Internet-based marketing, and the democratization of information are just some of the forces that ushered in a brand new world for the produce industry. Keeping pace with a changing market and an evolving consumer requires a new perspective, one that reaches beyond what the industry’s always known and done. PMA President and CEO Bryan Silbermann will focus on this new perspective for growth during his annual State of the Industry Address as the keynote speaker at the Saturday general session during PMA’s 2011 Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition in Atlanta, Ga., Oct. 14-17.
“Our industry must plant the seeds of new ideas and fuel the innovations and growth that will carry us forward. The complexity of our supply chain, the sophistication of our consumer and the amplified challenges at the farm make for hard questions and even harder answers,” said Silbermann. “Ensuring our future profitability as individual businesses and as an industry requires a fresh outlook in the traditional areas of supply, consumption and marketing.”
The first area he’ll consider is the changing nature of the linear supply chain. Its evolution has taken shape as more of a supply web, as new industry segments have emerged and old ones are redefined. Silbermann will introduce the concept of Supply Chain 2.0 – a supply chain that begins and ends with the most sophisticated and connected consumer the world has ever seen. And, just as important in this new supply chain is the way each member of that chain will be defined – not by who they know but more by what they know.
Recognizing that knowledge plays a progressively more important role as the industry works toward the shared goal of increasing consumption, Silbermann will highlight research from Mintel Menu Insights, PMA and others that have demonstrated the beginning of major shifts in demand for fresh produce on menus. Healthy diets including fruits and vegetables are being promoted at the highest level of government and in public and private partnerships and the industry’s collective and shared efforts on such important ventures like Foodservice 2020 showcase what the industry can do together. “Yet we’ve barely scratched the surface of affecting consumption. It is essential that we strive for even fresher perspectives on how to draw consumers and promote the flavor and health attributes of our products,” Silbermann said.
He’ll also look at one of the freshest new links to consumers – social media. Described as a revolution, Silbermann will explain what that means in the world of Consumer 2.0, also known as the digital native – the first generation of consumers that are truly different from their parents. Many in the industry haven’t capitalized on social media and Silbermann will challenge the industry to leverage this communication vehicle and connect it to your business plan to realize opportunities.