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Technology means different things to retailers as grower-shippers

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The best and worst thing about technology is that it never stops changing.

While growers will focus in the next several years on everything from sustainable, environmentally responsible farming techniques to experimental high tunnels to drones, packers and shippers may look to high-pressure or pulsed electric field processing to increase efficiencies and kill pathogenic organisms to promote product safety.

Meanwhile, on the retail end, marketing, data analysis, tracking technologies, and beyond will continue to shape the way grocers sell fruit and vegetables and the way consumers purchase them.

“We’re constantly evaluating new technologies that can make a difference across all areas of our business,” said Daniel Corsaro, sales and marketing director for Indianapolis Fruit Company, LLC.

“Logistics, sales, and supply chain improvements are segments where we see tremendous opportunity.”

While Bill Bishop, founder of Brick Meets Click, stresses the work his company is doing to guide businesses through the evolving world of ecommerce, digital marketing, the internet of things, and smart shipping, he also knows there’s a reason this industry has hinged on good old human interaction for so long.

“We know the industry is changing; what we don’t always know is how fast,” he said.

And while there are many people who don’t want to select produce online because they want to see, smell, and touch it—well, times, they are changing.

“Companies are using their data to build trust with consumers,” Bishop said.

“If you have confidence in the quality of produce a delivery service is bringing to you, wanting to pick your own has a half-life. And if that’s the case, branding and packaging all turn out to be really important drivers of consumption—and argue for making that digital transformation especially fast.”