MONTREAL—At the annual Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention on April 3, CPMA president Ron Lemaire introduced new tools members have to tackle key issues facing the fresh produce industry.
The organization is launching a new food waste management tool modeled after one developed by the Ontario Produce Marketing Association and Value Chain Management International, Lemaire said.
The online tool – offered to members at no cost – helps businesses realize efficiencies that help reduce food waste.
Lemaire said the tool is a win-win. Companies that have implemented the systems have seen cost savings up to 30%.
“We’re dealing with a civil society and government issue while you as a company save money,” he said.
CPMA also announced a new Artificial Intelligence data capture service available to members that helps track data about fresh produce specific to the Canadian market.
“We’ve realized we have a data gap in Canada,” Lemaire said. “Data costs too much, and people don’t understand what the trends are.”
This is another service for members, Lemaire said.
“We will also be generating data to provide a landscape of what’s happening with consumer perception around fruits and vegetables in Canada,” he said. “No one else is doing this.”
CPMA also launched a new Produce Innovation Hub, available to both members and non-members.
The goal of the hub is to connect the produce industry with start-up companies in ag tech, like robotics and software to identify needs on behalf of produce and spur innovation from start-ups.
CPMA’s annual convention continues April 4 with its expo and award banquet.