The new supply landscape

Fruitnet’s annual survey of fresh produce industry sentiment looks at the challenges and trends that are set to shape the fruit and vegetable business in the next 12 months. Here in Part 1, we look at the what lies ahead for suppliers and producers.

by Mike Knowles

What kind of impact will the challenges listed on the coming pages have on the fresh produce business in 2022?

Respondents were asked to rank each of the following potential challenges according to the level of predicted impact – with zero being no impact, and ten being the maximum impact.

“In the 12 coming months, logistical issues will be a major challenge for international fruit business. Availability of containers, costs of transport can change the common business lines in worldwide exchanges. New technologies will also have a big impact but in a longer term than 12 months.”

David Socheleau, Le Verger de la Blottière (France)

“Logistics and transport will have a tremendous impact. cost reduction and high-quality yields will be key to facing these challenges, and technology will play a crucial role in achieving the goal.”

Isabel Quiroz, iQonsulting (Chile)

“The pandemic was the ultimate cause of the logistical challenges that the world faced in 2021. This will remain in 2022, with it impacting both the supply of labour – pickers, packhouses, drivers – and the way in which products are purchased and sold. The cost to ship products globally will increase and ability to ship products will decrease, thus making some products unaffordable and unprofitable. Ultimately it will all fall back on the producer.”

Brendon Osborn, Heartland Fruit (New Zealand)

“Current cost increases will have a major impact on producers, but likely also on consumer behaviour. Labour issues will continue to be an important theme for all businesses along the supply chain.”

Cindy van Rijswick, Rabobank (Netherlands)

“Covid-19 is having a ‘snowball effect’ on how business is done now, by all aspects of the produce industry across the board – from logistics nationally to international as well. the overall economic climate is changing and prices are rising.”

Robert Schueller, Melissa’s Produce (US)

“Our supply chain was based on many aspects that are no longer valid. Therefore we are changing ways, to secure the sourcing of fresh fruits around the world in line with the new logistic reality, the impact of our activities, and supply-demand forecasting. More important will be farm-to-table initiatives, and how we deliver the cheapest priced fresh produce possible and the highest possible return to the farmer-grower.”

Juan Andres Ferrari, ACF Global Sourcing (Chile)

“The effect will be here to stay for another year or so, subject to Covid now being under control. I foresee that inflation has not been registered yet, but it’s happening and the world is yet to see it.”

Azhar Tambuwala, Seasonz International (India)

“Logistical challenges! These shipping/ container companies are making absurd returns and not passing them on to customers – particularly fresh produce producers who often have to waste their exports, because they can’t afford a container or guarantee it will get to the new market in time.”

Abbie Franklin, New Zealand Frost Fans (New Zealand)

“The lack of containers and increased shipping prices have hit the industry, but the problems at South African ports are not really pandemic-related – more to do with bad attitude, utter incompetence, and corruption. The changes in technology, including Crispr, are going to provide a revolution in best practice. Farming is going to move to becoming highly technological.”

Peter Allderman, TopFruit (South Africa)

“We have huge inflation in horticulture with wages, logistics and inputs. All of this is being ignored by the supermarkets, so growers will give up and uk produce will decline. the supermarkets have too much power.”

Archie Saul, John Saul Ltd (UK)

“The economy will not be able to recover in 2022, because it has been deeply affected by the pandemic. All areas and sectors will need to rebuild and save money.”

Quang Anh Nguyen, Tam An Ha Noi Co (Vietnam)

“Multi-sourcing [will emerge as a trend] as a result of growing uncertainties in the ‘classic’ food trades.”

Rafael Llerena, EasyFresh (Spain)

“The environment will become more important. Young people see the risks to the planet and they expect the products they buy to be responsibly and sustainably sourced.”

Denis Punter, Total Produce (UK)

“We are observing a harsh decline in the marketplace, and I believe that this trend is not going to change for a while. Investments in agri production have not been planned well, and there is a very obvious supply-demand imbalance.”

Bahadir Rashidli, Modena