Why Fruits and Vegetables Require More Data

Jan 2019

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The global fruits and vegetables market is expected to be worth 346 billion dollars USD in 2022, having grown by 7.1% since 2017.

This industry is continuously modified in reaction to newly emerging products and shifts in consumer demands. The key players in the supply chain - from breeding companies, to grower corporations  to retailers - are becoming increasingly conscious of the role of accurate, real-time data in meeting the challenges of such a fast-paced market. 


Real-time data: the ultimate asset for the whole supply chain


The main issue every key player in the supply chain faces is the fact that fruits and vegetables are highly perishable due to their very short lifecycle. However, quantity- and variety forecasting is not the only challenge anymore: the increasing focus on healthy eating is shaping not only what is consumed but how it is consumed. 
                            
Besides being interested in accurate data on in-store variety, prices, and product execution, growers and export companies are now also focused on how shoppers prepare and consume fruits and vegetables to guide their research and development of new varieties. Retailers, on the other hand, need to improve their forecasting abilities in order to minimize wastage of these fresh products. Thus, all the key players in this industry are in tremendous need of accurate, real-time data in order to improve their supply chains and in-store execution and to increase their sales volumes. 


A fast-paced solution for a fast-paced market


The traditional approach of field-marketing agencies includes agents traveling to remote locations and delivering results at the end of their assignment. But nowadays, mobile crowdsourcing provides both large and smaller brands with thousands of shoppers who are ready to take action in multiple locations and report results immediately.
Big FMCG manufacturers have been among the first to embrace crowdsourcing as the new way of doing effective field marketing, recognizing the benefits of delegating widespread, high-volume, and repeatable activities to communities of grocery shoppers. 
                
The crowdsourcing model is even more advantageous for the fruits and vegetables market, where accessing real-time information is crucial to making fast and effective data-driven decisions. This in turn allows for the immediate implementation of corrective actions, creating an advantage over those competitors who are still anchored to traditional procedures. Mobile crowdsourced monitoring solutions are therefore the key to solving issues related to supply-and-demand forecasting, poor in-store execution, and research and development of new varieties of fruits and vegetables. 

A trained and skilled Crowd can easily report on the  availability of products as well as the variety and freshness of the in-store assortment; they can also give their consumer opinion on presentation. They can answer other qualitative questions that cover the whole customer journey, such as providing an in-depth analysis of what their chosen fruits and vegetables are, how they cook them, and what drives their choices. This enables key players in the supply chain to obtain excellent analytics and data on multiple levels, from distribution to the consumer journey.

Some companies are already using their data effectively to obtain more knowledge about their customers, improving operational efficiency. An example is Snack Lettuce, an innovation in the lettuce category.
                          
Following extensive consumer research, growers developed a snack-sized lettuce that stays firm and crunchy even when used in hot dishes and whose uniquely-shaped leaves can be used as spoons, an achievement that was recognized with an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Award.