In Florida, particularly South Florida, much of the M&A action revolved around banks and financial institutions in 2014, and though this has not directly affected the growing, selling, or shipping of perishables, all suppliers and receivers have relationships in the financial community. For brokers and those who trade internationally, banks are a crucial piece of the puzzle in securing shipments and guaranteeing payment from foreign buyers or sellers.
Despite the challenges they face, many Miami produce suppliers have enjoyed a surge in business in the past year.
“We’ve been on a very steady upward trend,” says Tannehill, who recently celebrated the three-year anniversary of Global Perishable Services. “Our current customers have also grown their businesses, so it seems as though the economy is in a stronger uptick.”
Cabrera says business has been booming for Bayshore Produce as well. “Business was very good in 2014. We are on pace for double-digit growth,” she enthuses. Because the company has recently started some new import programs, Cabrera expects sales to increase significantly in 2015.
A Bright Future
The majority of Miami produce professionals remain optimistic about the future. After all, Miami enjoys one priceless benefit over other regions: location, location, location (not to mention a plethora of sunshine and consistently warm temperatures).
As a gateway to America, Miami has quick and easy access to perishable items from around the world, and variety, as they say, is the spice of life. “Consumers within this market value a wide range of produce items available year-round from a variety of growing regions,” Jost comments. “They also have a strong appreciation for a good mix of offerings from both national chain stores and small regional markets.”
Further, handling such a broad range of products can help suppliers increase their customer base while maintaining a steady flow of both product and profit. “As these particular consumer trends continue to shape Miami’s produce landscape,” Jost adds, “suppliers who provide comprehensive and flexible business solutions will be able to remain competitive in this market despite the changes.”
In other words, the forecast for the Miami produce trade is a lot like the typical South Florida weather: sunny and hot.