I wasn‚Äôt sure how I was going to write this blog about the Fresh Produce FPJ (Fresh Produce Journal) Conferences West Midlands, that I attended on Tuesday, 9th November 2010.
I will admit that I‚Äôm no blogger nor journalist, but I am hoping that my take on the event as someone who has been heavily involved in Fresh Produce industry for more years than I care to remember, would be interesting and might even be of use.
This Blog in the form of bite-sized Tweets will, I hope, give you a flavour of the event and the types of topics and issues that were discussed that affect growers, farmers, producers, suppliers, retailers, wholesalers, food service and food processing within the Fresh Produce industry supply chain.
- A ‚ÄúTweet‚ÄĚ is max 140 characters or less (including spaces).
- 72 Tweets by @GrowingDirect ‚Äď (that‚Äôs me).
- 1 Question by a Fresh Produce consumer.
- 7 RT‚Äôs (Re-Tweets).
- 3 interests shown in potential produce supply.
- #FPJWM and #freshproduce ‚Äď hash tags predominantly used, so that Tweeters could follow the Twitter updates and help to search for trending topics.
- Approximately 50-60 attendees.
Tweet: All at @fpjlive #freshproduce #FPJWM #in Stratford upon Avon lookout 4 our Tweets #growers
- A call to all those who follow Fresh Produce to look out for the Tweets with the ‚Äúmarker‚ÄĚ #FPJWM.
Topic ‚Äď The Growers‚Äô Platform: How companies within the region can work together to improve the supply chain.
- Speakers John Chinn ‚Äď Cobrey Farms & Anthony Snell AJ & CI Snell.
First up was John Chinn from Cobrey Farms.
Tweet: John Chinn from Cobrey Farm talking about farming in Herefordshire #freshproduce #FPJWM
John spoke about the history of farming in Herefordshire and the entrepreneurial and Innovative nature of the growers there.¬† This has been driven mainly by the incredibly small pockets of land and the undulating nature of the landscape.¬† The drive for innovation is also due in part to the poor transport links and the higher costs of transportation.
John went on to speak about his analysis of the SWOT (Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities and Threats) of the Herefordshire grower base and the challenges it faces.¬† He also posed the question are all supermarkets the same?
Tweet: Are supermarkets all the same? #freshproduce #FPJWM
John also spoke about ‚ÄúTerroir‚ÄĚ of the region ‚Äď Wikipedia definition is loosely translated as ‚Äúa sense of place‚ÄĚ, embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the manufacture of the product.
Tweet: Interesting that Cobrey Farms & the Chinn family R #farming according 2 the landscape wiv a diverse range of crops #freshproduce #FPJWM
Innovation with the main farming activities includes poly-tunnel‚Äôs to extend the British Asparagus season along with a vineyard.¬† Cobrey farms are currently running a 3-4 week trial of British Asparagus in Marks and Spencer (4 London stores) in direct competition with imported Asparagus with the UK grown crop at double the retail of the imported!¬† Guess which one cannot keep up with demand ‚Äď yes it‚Äôs the British crop.
Tweet: Fact: poly covered Asparagus Saves approx 600tons of CO2 vs imported from Peru <–worth paying 7p/bundle 4 British #FPJWM #freshproduce
Along with the extension of the season of British Asparagus ‚Äď John has his own little passion for growing his newly planted Vineyard of Grapes for British wine production.
Tweet: Cobrey Farms also using a steep slope *justliketheromans* to #freshproduce wine from vineyards #FPJWM
This is a historical trial to see if Cobrey can reproduce English ‚Äúsparkling‚ÄĚ wine (Champagne to you and me and very nice it was too ).
Next up was Anthony Snell (AJ & CI Snell) a soft fruit grower from Herefordshire, and also NFU West Midlands Horticulture Board Chair.
Tweet: Next up #in #FPJWM #freshproduce conference is Anthony Snell #Softfruit #growers
Anthony not only confirmed the difficult geography, but highlighted the great soils that growers in Herefordshire had to work with.¬† Some positives here for the Political climate in so much for there seems to be more support from the new Government ‚Äď singled out for praise at this stage were Jim Paice (Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Caroline Spelman (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
Mainly the Snell farming operation produces soft fruit of Strawberries and Raspberries:
Tweet: Key to the Snell #Softfruit is to #freshproduce the right variety with Gr8 flavour & yield here #in the UK #FPJWM
The Snell farm also produces some 600 tonnes of Blackcurrants, and has an active promotional vehicle in the shape of British Blackcurrants (Twitter @UKBlackcurrants).
Tweet: #freshproduce Fact: did u know that some 90% of Blackcurrants r 4 Ribena!! #FPJWM
RT by @UKShallots: RT @GrowingDirect: #freshproduce Fact: did u know that some 90% of Blackcurrants r 4 Ribena!! #FPJWM
RT by @activemdkate: RT @GrowingDirect: #freshproduce Fact: did u know that some 90% of Blackcurrants r 4 Ribena!! #FPJWM <yep & most grown in nfk #norfolkdiet
The Snell farming operation also uses self-promotion by opening the farm up to school children (the Ribena Open Day) along with hosting the Radio 4 farming programme for a week.
Following on from this Anthony went onto explain that soft fruit (led heavily by Strawberries) is now the leading fruit category, with its share up by +11.3%.
Tweet: #Softfruit is now the leading #fruit category with #in #freshproduce #FPJWM +11.3%
Anthony did go onto comment about the move out of 454g punnets into 400g and 300g punnets this season (which for the retailer deliver lower and more attractive retail price points for the consumer).¬† The soft fruit growers would be looking for a move back into the larger weight of punnets for 2011 season.
In Anthony‚Äôs opinion he felt the new Direct approach by Retailers to the larger growers was short-sighted, and urged for all growers to ‚Äústick together‚ÄĚ, as this ‚Äúwas the road to ruin‚ÄĚ.
Tweet: bigger #growers being “flattered” by #direct approaches by the #Retailers | apparently the *road2ruin* | #freshproduce debate #in #FPJWM
I felt this was an ‚Äúinteresting‚ÄĚ opinion and take upon the changes occurring within the Fresh Produce supply chain and procurement evolution towards Vertical Integration.¬† I must admit to having a vested interest in growers going directly to their customer base (well the business I run is called Growing Direct)!¬† But I do believe that Direct sourcing will never be able to replace all Sales and Marketing desks ‚Äď just that these desks/middle-men have to prove their value to not only the customer (be that retailer, food service, wholesaler or processor) but critically to the growers and producers.
Tweet: UK #farmers & #growers doing a FAB job #in supporting wildlife #freshproduce #FPJWM
Anthony did mention that the reason some of the improvements in wildlife populations was down to positive action by farmers and growers.
Topic ‚Äď Investment in Horticulture: Is the Fresh Produce Industry being held back by ‚Äúred tape‚ÄĚ and the inability of the industry to promote the benefits of systems (greenhouses / poly tunnels) to the general public.
- Speakers Chris Brooks ‚Äď Whychavon District Council & David Shepherd ‚Äď Evesham Vale Growers.
Tweet: Next session at #FPJWM conference how easy is it to invest #in Horticulture? #freshproduce
Tweet: Next up to discuss planning #freshproduce Chris Brooks Wychavon Council #FPJWM | how to engage with us?
Chris asked a lot of common sense questions about engagement with the respective councils and the local communities including Parish Councils.¬† A great question posed by was around this engagement versus the strength of the opposition.
Tweet: Is planning permission obstructive? #FPJWM #freshproduce | depends on engagement & opposition
Some of the examples that Chris used and the incredibly vast ‚Äúpolicy‚ÄĚ book (well tomb actually) that he showed us, the question in my mind was ‚Äúwhere is the common sense‚ÄĚ?
Tweet: Does planning policy include any element of *commonsense* ? #FPJWM #freshproduce <– depends on nature of the complaint
Chris went onto discuss the concept of ‚Äúlocalism‚ÄĚ and this being part of businesses engagement plans with their communities, and ensuring that this is ongoing.¬† Chris also spoke about the loss of the Rural Development Agencies (RDA‚Äôs) and that in some circumstances (like Worcestershire) not being replaced with the LEP body ‚Äď this will have an impact.
Tweet: Where does “localism” fit within planning, investment & the local community #freshproduce #FPJWM
Some great advice by Chris on local businesses getting involved at a strategic level within the local community but also about ensuring that all Workers (that are required to be) are on the Workers Registration Scheme.
Tweet: #growers & #suppliers should engage with the local community & the new LEP’s #FPJWM #freshproduce
Chris was also vocal about the fresh produce industry in telling the Government what we needed as an industry around topics such as SAWS and why it works for us.
Tweet: Gr8 bit of advice 4 #growers #in #freshproduce : Tell the Government why SAWS is sooo good #FPJWM
Next up was David Shepherd from Evesham Vale Growers.
Tweet: Next up David Shepherd Evesham Vale Growers // planning from a #growers perspective #freshproduce #FPJWM
David gave us his perspective as a growing fresh produce business to some of the constraints facing growers in local communities.¬† Evesham Vale Growers have been growing in the Vale for more than 35 years and is a successful family owned business.¬† They have a good balance of customers and products that they supply to both retailers and other outlets. They are the UK‚Äôs largest specialist growers and the only ones growing using hydroponics.
Tweet: Very funny take on the serious issue of Planning Permission <David Shepherd> #freshproduce #FPJWM
Whilst the presentation was amusing there were some serious points that David shared with the audience including like why it took just over four years to get a fully operational packhouse erected.¬† But the biggest hurdle was gaining planning permission for a 20 acre greenhouse ‚Äď which took just over 5 years, including the amends, refusal‚Äôs and re-amends.
They got final approval for a 12 acre greenhouse, which unfortunately is not as top spec as it should be, for example the height of the facility versus our European competitors.¬† I think a missed opportunity for an excellent investment in upgrade to improve Fresh Produce production and to help expand a thriving UK and local business.¬† Just to be a little light hearted at this stage EVG were even asked ‚Äúwill you take the Greenhouse down when you go bust‚ÄĚ!
Tweet: “will u take it down when u go bust” <– comments from planning objections #freshproduce #FPJWM #in
To put this into context versus some of the other planning applications for greenhouses that have been approved (outside of the West Midlands):
- Baarda ‚Äď 2006 ‚Äď 38 acres.
- Thanet Earth ‚Äď 2009 ‚Äď 67 acres.
David did say that there was a total lack of understanding by the Parish council of the project and the initiatives that EVG wanted to focus on and include like investment further into sustainable and competitive, leading edge production.
David and the EVG team are not sitting on their laurels though regarding more planning applications for environmentally friendly solutions ‚Äď they are next going to tackle installation and commissioning of an Anaerobic Digester ‚Äď and I wish them all the very best of good luck!
This is where I feel that the Fresh Produce industry as a collective should be having a more engaging discussion with the public.¬† It is also where I feel that Social Media can have a really positive impact as part of and with the right strategic plan ‚Äď is it not time we celebrated successful Fresh Produce businesses and helped them to develop further and contribute more to the economy?
Topic ‚Äď Making the Region Sustainable: Open Debate with FPJ Editor Michael Barker.
The top table was made up of: Anthony Snell (AJ & CI Snell), John Chinn (Cobrey Farms), Sarah Pettitt (NFU Horticulture Board Chair) and Sue Kennedy (Elsoms Seeds‚Äô).
Tweet: Next session at #FPJWM conference | Making The Region Sustainable – open debate #freshproduce
Michael kicked off the debate by asking John to further expand upon the innovative approach that Cobrey Farms had taken regarding expanding the British Asparagus season to November.
Tweet: Continuing 2 innovate 2 be able 2 extend our British offer 4 the #consumer #in freshproduce #FPJWM
Sarah and John made good points about season extensions by discussing the need to secure a fixed permanent team of employees throughout the year.
Tweet: Coupled with continuity of secure employment opportunities with #in #freshproduce #FPJWM
Sarah then went on to demonstrate how the Grow EM: The Horticulture Industry in the East Midlands, is a fantastic example of a joined up strategic document that qualifies the positive economic impact that Fresh Produce has not only in that region but also on the Economy at national level.
Tweet: #calltoaction West Midlands sustainability report of what is the strategy 4 the region? #freshproduce #FPJWM // by Sarah Pettitt
Sarah then asked the following question of the audience:
Tweet: Good question at #FPJWM –> who is setting the Agenda 4 #freshproduce to produce more?
Tweet: Any #freshproduce biz #growers #retailers or #suppliers want 2 ask the panel a question at #FPJWM ? just Tweet me
The above Tweet is just asking if any Tweeters following the conference would like to ask the panel a question.
Another great question posed was around who and if we as the Fresh Produce industry were promoting ourselves and our Great British products for the 2012 Olympics.¬† And who was going to be co-ordinating the additional volumes of produce that were likely to be needed for the increased visitors to the UK.
Tweet: #2012Olympics should we be promoting British #freshproduce? #FPJWM
I asked the question of Twitter followers.
Tweet: Are we as a nation supportive of British #freshproduce *justasking* #FPJWM
One of the 5 Tweets back was:
Tweet: (from @MowgliTweets) @GrowingDirect: In my experience has to be No, not on the whole.¬† There are small pockets of ‚Äėresistance‚Äô though :-
I then sent out a reminder to Twitter that if anyone had any questions to tweet them to me so that I could ask the panel.
Tweet: Any #freshproduce interested ppl pls Tweet your #FPJWM questions & I’ll happily ask #in
We then broke for a well organised hot buffet lunch, including some great British produce.¬† At this point I had Tweeted 35 Tweets of (remember) not more than 140 characters per Tweet.¬† I also had a number of DM‚Äôs (they are Direct Messages) from Fresh Produce people who were following (or more commonly known as ‚Äúshadowing‚ÄĚ) the FPJ West Midlands conference.
Topic ‚Äď Making the Best of Retail home and away: the view of the Fresh Produce market Locally, Nationally and Are Supplier Relations improving.
Thanks to the comments made by Anthony Snell there was a lot of ‚Äúoutside of conference‚ÄĚ discussion about Direct sourcing by the retailers, with many saying that it was a positive move, and some pointing out that it represented an fantastic opportunity to communicate directly with their customers.
- Speakers Simon Martin ‚Äď QV Foods & Liz Bowles ‚Äď EFFP.
First up is Simon Martin Director of QV Foods.
Tweet: #Retailers up next & #Direct sourcing at #FPJWM conference #growers #in
Tweet: Simon Martin from QV Foods is our next speaker at #FPJWM #freshproduce
Simon explained the evolution of this family farming business and the diversification that had occurred over the past four or so years.
Tweet: QV Foods a family owned #farming biz #in #freshproduce #FPJWM
Simon very much advocates that we, as the Fresh Produce industry, need to improve our direct communications with our customer base.¬† Central to this was how we market our Fresh Produce in a passionate way that does justice to our fantastic British growers.
Tweet: How do we market #freshproduce in a passionate way that reflects our Fab UK #growers ? Thoughts #FPJWM
Simon explained some of the initiatives that QV Foods had run including Grower days and the development of local and regional hubs for the effective distribution of Fresh Produce to a more local potential group of customers.
Tweet: #local #freshproduce hubs #in & around not only WM but nationwide #FPJWM <– opportunities 4 WM thou
He was also quite scathing of some of the ‚ÄúSales and Marketing‚ÄĚ desks and their charges, citing one example of a grower being charged, apparently, some ¬£200k for order processing in one year.
Tweet: QV Foods a Gr8 example of a #freshproduce biz & #grower who have gone #Direct 2 better understand the consumer #in #FPJWM
Another topic that Simon was quite passionate about was how we as the Fresh Produce industry entice and encourage the next generation to see Fresh Produce as a vibrant and compelling career choice.
Tweet: How do we attract young people #in 2 #freshproduce ? #FPJWM
One of the ways that Simon was advocating was the development of consumer focused products and brands within Fresh Produce.
Tweet: #Inspire range from QV Foods including @gregwallace British range of #freshproduce #FPJWM
Along with more consumer focus Simon urged the Fresh Produce industry to have a look at ourselves regarding continued sustainability within our trading environment as there are many opportunities to reduce cost and waste.
Tweet: #freshproduce industry environment next <– need 2 look at ourselves & what we do –> sustainability #in #FPJWM
To conclude Simon urged us as an industry to ensure that we grow want our consumers want us to grow.¬† He wanted us to really understand our consumers and produce consumer centric products to ensure the development and progression of our industry.
Tweet: #freshproduce needs 2 grow what the consumer wants as #growers #FPJWM
In this section next up was Liz Bowles from EFFP.
Tweet: Next up at #FPJWM is Liz Bowles from EFFP | Making the best of retail
Tweet: What is #EFFP #in #freshproduce ? #FPJWM
EFFP are European Food and Farming Partnerships (and not as I mistakenly thought at the beginning English Food and Farming Partnerships).
EFFP are a consultancy focussed upon the Supply Chain and are used as a Food and Agriculture interface between many stakeholders within Fresh Produce, such as Retailers, Processors, Suppliers, Growers and Farmers.
Anyhow back to the conference.
Tweet: Liz >> how our #retail customers R looking 4 product #innovation & empty shelves r not an option particularly #in #freshproduce #FPJWM
Liz made a very valid point that all the innovation in the world does not make up for empty shelves in the consumers mind, particularly for a service driven customer like a retailer, food service or food processor.
A concerning statistic that Liz gave regarding supply issues:
Tweet: Supply issues – declining UK production #in #veg #freshproduce #FPJWM
Which means this decline in UK production is being filled by other willing sources from outside of the UK our competitors.¬† Liz went on to say that we as nation are only producing half of our capability in top fruit (please note that in the Tweet below in relation to this point I do not use the term Top Fruit ‚Äď as this is a Fresh Produce term).
Tweet: Did u know that only 25%-30% of apples & pears R #freshproduce ‘d #in the UK <– this cud B 50-60% #FPJWM
Some of the key issues that EFFP had voiced to them were that we have one of the most expensive supply chains in Europe.¬† The customer forecast of sales demand versus the actual programme and production, very rarely matched.¬† The lack of commitment from the customer base for crops and production mainly ‚Äď so the lack of confidence in planting and growing Fresh Produce.¬† The poorly executed and run Producer Organisation (PO) scheme, it would appear that we have many small PO‚Äôs where as a country like Holland has a few larger ones.¬† Also commented on Intermediary Marketing businesses.
Liz noted that growers within Fresh Produce are calling for change and the Retailers are strong and are procuring effectively.¬† Liz also advocates (along with Simon) that the Fresh Produce sector needs a more strategic and collaborative approach.
Tweet: #growers #in #freshproduce do u know what the #fruitsandvegetables Aid Scheme is? #FPJWM
Liz went on to briefly discuss the Fruits and Vegetable Aid Scheme and question if the Fresh Produce grower base knew what it was.¬† She also noted that the PO uptake was low and that this represented a competitive disadvantage of between 2 or 3 pence for every ¬£1.¬† There was also some feedback that we might, just might within Fresh Produce take our home market for granted, in so much that it will always be there.
Liz also remarked that a re-emphasis of more effective supply chain partnerships and a more collaborative approach of working to secure greater operational efficiencies were required.¬† On a final note that the Supply Chains of the future within Fresh Produce and Food would have to have:
- Critical Mass.
Tweet: #calltoaction: #growers #freshproduce #in future will need to have collaborative #supplychains #FPJWM
Topic ‚Äď Exploring the Marketplace: niche to mainstream: from Niche crops using traditional outlets (like wholesale markets) & how to widen Fresh Produce sales.
- Speakers James Seymour & Simon Coles ‚Äď HumberVHB (WOW! Micro Leaf), Andrew McLay ‚Äď Promar International & Martin Levy ‚Äď Fresh Direct.
Tweet: Next up at #FPJWM Exploring the Marketplace: niche 2 Mainstream by HumberVHB #freshproduce
A very lively presentation thankfully (as there was no coffee break in the afternoon sessions) by the ‚Äúdynamic duo‚ÄĚ of James and Simon.¬† After handing out some really fantastic samples of the WOW! Branded Micro leaves to the conference floor…they really were incredibly tasty and innovative Fresh Produce products.
Tweet: WOW! Partnership VHB & Westland nurseries joint venture 2 develop the growing of Micro herbs the UK #FPJWM #freshproduce
James stepped up and introduced the brand and the partnership.¬† WOW! Is the result of a perfect Fresh Produce partnership between the UK‚Äôs largest specialist grower of micro leaf and the country‚Äôs largest fresh produce herb supplier.¬† Westland Nurseries bring their expertise in production to VHB‚Äôs commercial, marketing and technical knowhow.
Tweet: What is Micro leaf – young version of salads / herbs / veg #freshproduce intense flavours #FPJWM
So what exactly is Micro leaf then ‚Äď basically they are young versions of salad leaves or herbs.¬† They are exceptionally tender and in most cases, intensely flavoured and the WOW! Range is selected for their unique flavour or visual impact and colour.¬† The were initially targeted to the food service as an innovative ingredient and are now used by some of the top Michelin starred chefs in the UK.¬† The current customer split is 83% Food Service and 17% Processors.
At this point my Tweeter stream got really interesting with a number of food bloggers and specialist businesses wanting to ask questions of the WOW! Micro Leaf team.
A selection of the Tweet ‚Äútraffic‚ÄĚ and questions asked are below:
Tweet: RT @LondonFoodFinds: @GrowingDirect Love microleaves especially shiso <– have u got any Questions 4 the guys? #freshproduce #FPJWM
This was me responding to a business that had commented that they ‚ÄúLove‚ÄĚ microleaves ‚Äď I asked them if they had any questions for the WOW! Team.
Tweet: @LondonFoodFinds where do u buy your Micro leaves from? #FPJWM #freshproduce
This is me demonstrating the engagement aspect of Twitter / Social Media for the benefit of this blog ‚Äď by asking an influential Twitter person (Susan is an expert buyer).
Tweet: RT @LondonFoodFinds: @GrowingDirect Where to buy them for home use? That would be great sorry got 2RT 4 #FPJWM #freshproduce
I had to RT (Re-Tweet) the London Food Finds Tweet because they didn‚Äôt use the #FPJWM tag.
This was nearing the end of the excellent presentation that WOW! were giving and just as they were saying that whilst they have some fantastic sales in food service, processing and wholesale markets they had not managed to get a listing with the Retailers.¬† The reason for this is that the Retailers do not believe the consumer was ready for a ‚Äúsophisticated‚ÄĚ or Niche product such as this.
The reason that Susan was asking was that as a Foodie she has been talking about this product a lot and many of her Foodie customers and friends wanted to know which retailers stock this product range.
So as the WOW! Presentation wrapped up and the audience at the conference were asked if they had any questions…I of course put my hand up to ask on behalf of the Consumer: Where can you buy these products for home use?
The answer is in my Tweet below:
Tweet: @LondonFoodFinds hi Susan u can buy them under the brand WOW! #in Wholefoods #FPJWM #freshproduce thks 4 the question
This proved to be just the beginning of a stream of engaging questions between a producer and the consumer.¬† Oh and I also believe a small demonstration of how Social Media can get you the direct and I mean really direct links to a potential consumer and market.
Tweet: Andrew McLay from Promar International is speaking now at #FPJWM #freshproduce
Andrew spoke very much from an academic perspective and posed the question of the audience regarding traditional Strategy planning and how this was achieved by using past experience based around forecasting.
He introduced an interesting and different take on Strategy development around a tool called the ‚ÄúScenario Plan‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúScenario Thinking‚ÄĚ.
Tweet: Whoooo *Scenario Thinking* 4 #freshproduce #FPJWM <– basically looking at how the future MIGHT look #growers 4 options coming up…. #in
Essentially what Andrew outlined was strategically planning based upon how the future might look, rather than using historic data to forecast.
He went on to describe four of the keys to the Scenario Plan:
Tweet: Option 1: Slow Recovery…..or more of the same #FPJWM
This is essentially doing the same or the market being the same as before with no major changes, so the development and growth opportunities remain small.
Tweet: Option 2: Big is Best #FPJWM basically very large scale #freshproduce
This is where a market becomes very large scale and the customer is very sophisticated and volume driven, so scale economies are necessary for survival.
Tweet: Option 3: New Food Order very local food market #FPJWM #freshproduce
This is driven by local and sustainable production capacity and the re-introduction of seasonality.
Tweet: And the 4th one is Crisis….<–post modern Food industry scenarios #FPJWM #freshproduce
Andrew then went on to discuss the product market options around customer Value propositions:
1.¬†¬†¬† Product Leadership.
2.¬†¬†¬† Lowest Cost.
3.¬†¬†¬† Customer Lock-In.
4.¬†¬†¬† Customer Intimacy.
He suggested that the most successful businesses are those who develop a customer intimacy and really understand fully the product they produce and are incredibly market focused.¬† Andrew summed up by saying that you as a Fresh Produce business needed to excel at one of the four.
Lastly but my no means least is Martin Levy Head of the Gourmet team at Fresh Direct.
Tweet: Fresh Direct now up #in the form of Martin Levy #FPJWM #freshproduce
Fresh Direct provide the fresh produce ingredients of between 1.5 and 2 million meals per day ‚Äď I wonder how they know that.¬† They do a lot of work with the Jamie Oliver chain of restaurants and go on many overseas supplier visits with Jamie Oliver.¬† Martin did explain the separate divisions of the Fresh Direct business and it was interesting to hear about their Roots division.¬† This was along with the Gourmet division and the sourcing and procurement that they have to undertake in order to serve their customer base.
Tweet: BTW Roots was the brain child of Rick Sanderson #FPJWM #freshproduce
Topic ‚Äď Making the Supply Chain Work: Open Debate with FPJ Editor Michael Barker.
The top table was made up of: David Shepherd (Evesham Value Growers), Mark Horton (Wealmoor), Andrew McLay (Promar) Martin Levy (Fresh Direct), Liz Bowles (EFFP).
Tweet: Making the Supply Chain work #FPJWM #freshproduce is next up #in here
Direct sourcing appeared to be a consistently re-occurring theme with the panel agreeing that it will continue.¬† Some commented that ‚Äúmiddle-men‚ÄĚ will have to prove they can add value.
Tweet: So any final #freshproduce questions 4 the panel #FPJWM #in #growers #chefs #foodies #Retailers #foodservice
There was also the view that we are still a very fragmented industry with many growers, producers and suppliers within Fresh Produce not trusting each other.
Tweet: How difficult is it 4 a #freshproduce biz 2 export UK grown products? #FPJWM
A really great discussion and debate ensued regarding our opportunities as a Fresh Produce business to export our British grown products.
And so the conference closed.
Tweet: Thanks 2 all those who helped me by RT the #FPJWM conference & 2 those of u who asked questions | my 1st go at this 4 #freshproduce
- 8 further Tweets under the #FPJWM since the event ‚Äď including those from Fresh Convenience Magazine, Redfox, Disa_Farm
- Plus at least one great new customer contact made to a Fresh Produce grower by a buyer directly from Twitter.
This event was not only covered within the UK, but also worldwide via the # (hash tag) freshproduce.¬† So a local event Nationally and Internationally ‚Äď who said Twitter doesn‚Äôt work!
Tweet: #FPJWM Thanks to @GrowingDirect for keeping everyone up to date with the FPJ Conferences – West Midlands event. Good day had by all I think!
In summary a well organised event and something that I would definitely go to again.¬† I was a little disappointed with the lack (again) of actual growers in attendance. But mostly great speakers and interesting views and exchanges occurred.¬† Well done to the FPJ team and to Liz O‚ÄôKeefe for organising it and for the great choice of the venue.
Please feel free to add your own comments in the comments box below and also please feel free to Tweet our Blog link by pressing the Tweet button.¬† You will also find this blog replicated on the weekly RedFox Newsletter.¬† Finally a huge thank you for getting to this point…I hope it was interesting and insightful, all the best Carol
This entry was posted on Thursday, November 11th, 2010 at 4:57 am