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Game Changers: Who’s Got Next?

bp game changer cover

As a produce industry observer, I’m always on the lookout for innovation.

And, as the North American fresh produce industry prepares to gather for its largest conference and trade show since 2019, all eyes are on the International Fresh Produce Association’s BB #:378962 Global Produce and Floral Show in Orlando next month.

Let’s take a look back at several of the most influential ideas, the gamechangers as we’ll call them, that revolutionized the way we do business, and how these disruptors evolved into the innovations we see and enjoy today.

Who’s Got Next?
Bagged salads and clamshells have opened new doors for the produce industry, but they also bring challenges the industry is going to have to face sooner, rather than later.

“There are consequences, foreseen and unforeseen,” says Bruce Peterson, founder and CEO of Peterson Insights, Inc. in Bentonville, AR.

“One of the biggest threats to the produce industry today is the fact that, from an environmental standpoint, single-use plastics are coming under a fair amount of scrutiny,” he says.

Packaging continues to evolve, and consumers are pushing for it.

“Innovation in packaging is going to be one of those interesting frontiers going forward,” predicts Peterson. “What you do with the package when you’re done with it is a gigantic deal.”

Tristan Simpson of Tristan Michele Marketing BB #:366330, thinks this turn toward environmentally conscious practices is driving the latest disruptions in produce.

In terms of game changers, she believes all of things that have a significant impact and change climate, such as the use of water, land, and resources will become more and more important to consumers.

“Once the consumer sees it as a bigger need, that’s when the tipping point happens,” she says.

These types of consumers are driving innovation in packaging, controlled atmosphere, and container farming for hyper-local, resource-conscious growing, and the rise of regenerative agriculture.

It’s hard to tell what the next concept to change the game in fresh produce will be. Change is happening faster than ever before.

“There’s no crystal ball anymore,” Simpson says. “Covid shattered that—change is literally happening right in front of you.”

This is an excerpt from the cover story in the September/October 2022 issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine. Click here to read the whole issue.


Pamela Riemenschneider is Retail Editor for Blue Book Services