Fresh producers can make their business more sustainable by creating a brand to reach a wider audience with their messaging
By Eamonn Flynn, Managing Director, Keelings Knowledge ERP
Branding is opening your soul, putting your values out to the consumer and waiting to see if what you represent resonates with them: for fresh producers, this is the risk and the great opportunity! Branding exists at a strategic level of an organization; how you communicate these characteristics is what defines your brand. Branding is the representation and communication of the values, culture and vision of your organisation to a global audience.
If consumers believe in what that branded product represents, it’s up to each of them to decide: are its values similar to theirs? Is it something they’d like to support or recommend? Today’s consumer has more information than ever available to them through social and traditional media, allowing them to make more educated decisions.
Your true customer
Understanding your market is key in any industry; for the fresh produce sector, it’s pivotal. Many fresh producers believe the retailer to be the end customer; ultimately, everyone is selling to the consumer.
So, what are their needs? Consumers are living longer, and trying to be healthier by eating better foods. Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey found that millennial consumers are prepared to pay more for healthier products.
This is on everyone’s agenda, be it governments, retailers, producers, or consumers. Currently more than 1.9 billion adults, which is almost 40 per cent of the global population, are considered overweight. According to World Health Organisation, if current trends continue, some 70 million young children will be overweight or obese by 2025, and the rate of increase is 30 per cent higher in middle and low income countries.
Branding hits the spot
Fresh producers are in the sweet spot to address all of these converging issues, and branding is a key enabler to helping them do that.
Branding also ensures sustainability for the fresh producer’s business because it establishes the value they provide, separate to any other company and unique to them. It’s a competitive differentiator. Branding creates awareness among consumers that stands apart from any one route to market.
The benefit for producers is twofold: good branding will automatically resonate with millennials who as we’ve established, already want healthy eating options, and what could be healthier than fresh produce? And it will make the producer’s business sustainable because they’re no longer an unseen part of the fresh food production process.
It’s becoming increasingly important to have a brand strategy that supports your company values in order to give you that advantage. In the fresh produce industry, quality and transparency are key drivers in a consumer’s decision making, so producers need to measure and control how their brand is performing in different market sectors, the costs involved in bringing products to market and ensuring they deliver on your organisational values daily. Looking at the performance of your branded products in detail, down to each SKU, is key and what will create sustainability.
Producers need to be in control of their brands, know what lines are performing, what lines are challenges, what lines to drop, what types and varieties have they used in their product and how they have performed. For example, has a particular variety of fruit performed better and led to increased sales? Capturing all of the critical cost-driven data accurately for the product life cycle can be the difference between success and failure.
Branding can make our food healthier – it holds the producer accountable to today’s consumer who demands transparency. Technology is the tool to deliver that accountability and transparency. The question for fresh producers is, do they have the information today to give them knowledge and a competitive edge?
Contact us to find out more about us or our industry specific ERP software solution for fresh produce companies.