Feeding the world will be a challenge as population continues to rise. There are different strategies that can be employed to accomplish this daunting task;
- Produce more,
- Eat less,
- Consume a higher percentage of existing food produced
- Change diets
- Develop food that delivers better nutrition value per acre of production
- Increase yields in existing production.
Some of these solutions will only be effective in certain regions. Consuming a greater percentage of the food consumed is possible in North America however it will not have a direct impact on the amount of food available to feed a growing population in India.
Food retailers in Europe have been focused on increasing the consumption of food produced. Tesco, in the U.K. published their findings to say that close to one third of food produced is never consumed. This is a staggering number. Consider the cost this adds to our food, as everyone in the value chain has to increase costs to allow for the waste at every transfer point.
In response to this issue Loblaw has announced the introduction of No Name Naturally Imperfect fruits and vegetables. Similar to programs in Europe the products are odd shaped and sizes that do not meet current grades. The eating quality is the same, they just look different. Any time something like this is introduced there are pros and cons.
A program that sells fresh produce for 30% less makes eating produce more affordable. This should increase consumption for people who might have found produce to be too expensive.
More tonnage (lbs) of apples should be sold.
Currently this produce would go for processing in regions where there are processing facilities. It is a bigger win for producers in regions such as Atlantic Canada where the processing is not a viable option.
Overall marketable yield should increase.
The store is not getting any bigger. It will be interesting to see how the product is merchandised and if some skus will come out to make room.
The warehouse is not getting any bigger. It will be interesting to see if some skus will come out to make room in the warehouse.
If the tonnage (lbs) do not increase then we will see deflation in the category and perhaps higher shrink on the products that meet the previous product specs.
We have put considerable effort into producing the current grades and now we will see product available that does not meet the specs. There is pride in producing product that meets the demands of the customer. Will this lead to ‘accepting less’ on the farm? I realize we can’t control nature but we have many farms that produce great quality and they should be applauded for this. They have increased costs to do what they do, they should not lose volume because another farm produces to a lower grade.
This is only a win if…
Canadians put more fresh produce in their shopping cart.
Canadians consume more fresh produce.
Growers, packers and retailers sell more produce.
Growers, packers and retailers all increase their rate of return in these categories.