Published on: December 3, 2014by Kevin Coupe
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The New York Times has a story about how changing and expanding supply chain patterns are affecting the fruits that people eat: "If people are eating more of some kind of fruit," the Times writes, "it’s probably because farmers have figured out how to deliver more of it, at higher quality, throughout the year."
And one of the chief beneficiaries of these improved capabilities are berries.
Take blueberries, for example: "Historically, blueberries needed to be grown in regions that get cold weather for part of the year, because rising temperatures bring the plants out of dormancy. But newer “low-chill” blueberry varieties have helped make berries available all year by expanding production to formerly inappropriate areas like coastal California. That helps make more berries available in months like November."
In addition, improved import quality - linked, at least in part, to a greater degree of traceability and trackability that improves transparency and trust - has expanded the palette of fruits available to consumers year-round.
The Times goes on:
"According to statistics published by the United States Department of Agriculture, per capita consumption of fresh raspberries grew 475 percent from 2000 to 2012, the most recent year for which data are available. Blueberry consumption is up 411 percent, and strawberries are up 60 percent."
That doesn't mean that people are eating more fruit overall. In fact, the average American consumes 48 pounds of fruit a year, up just one percent since 2000. But patterns are shifting, away from things like apples and bananas (meaning, I suppose, that Raffi is going to have to rewrite one of his more popular songs) and towards things like berries, papayas, mangoes and lemons.
Which means, in a bottom line sort of way, that smart retailers will grow this trend by taking advantage of availability and interest. Sure, "local" is important … but satisfying customers' appetites is the most important thing.
- KC's View: