leading the way to results for fresh food marketing

In this Issue:

From the Founder: FreshXperts LLC--A Consortium of Experts
In Season: Market and Logistics Memo
Ask the Xpert
FreshXpertise: Six simple ways to avoid being doomed in the produce business
Getting Fresh with Dan the Produce Man
FreshXperts: Stay connected with us
From the Editor

In Season: Market Memo

Update 12-7-2020

Produce Markets and Promotion Activity:
We have now transitioned into the prime winter growing regions.  The markets have started to settle, and quality has improved.  For the next few weeks retail will be promoting winter vegetables as people shop for the Holidays.  Look to promote vegetables for warmer meals that include soups and stews.  The Foodservice industry will go through some more challenges as people hunker down for the winter and are not out and about shopping like normal.  Some restaurants will have to go back to carry out dining only for the next several weeks.  Look for the produce markets to stay steady for most of December.

Logistics Update:
The truck market has settled down a little.  It was extremely active in early November but once we made it through Thanksgiving, supplies got better.  We expect the market to rise a little for the Holidays at the end of December but then the market should come back down after New Year’s Day.  Now would be the time to lock in your winter freight rates.  If you need help with your logistics contracts for 2021 please contact your FreshXpert.

~Paul Grothe

FreshXperts LLC

A Consortium of Experts, historic and unique 

In 2007 and 2008, my good friend Ron Pelger and I together developed a vision to form a group of fresh industry experts. We could see there was a definite need for our expertise in the industry. Having relationships with other experts and having had already begun referring work to some, we shared our vision with them. Ron and I had engaged each other--and a few of the other--in specific client engagements when possible and found that worked out very well. 

We incubated FreshXperts using Grow My Profits LLC as the incubator in year one. In our second year, we formalized FreshXperts LLC by setting it up as a Missouri-based LLC. As a group, we joined the primary trade associations, subscribed to credit reporting companies, and built a collective brand identity. Early members included John Shelford, Chef Tony Merola, Ron Pelger, and Tim Vaux. Soon after Francesco Obregon, Jelger di Vriend, and Mike Nicometo joined us. Throughout the years, several very qualified experts have come and gone based on opportunities and the stages of their careers. We evolved in our business model somewhat as we went, however, the core values that made up what we set out to be and do in the first place remained constant. We are comprised of true fresh experts and long-term fresh industry personalities who are known for his/her knowledge, in-depth experience, and integrity. We adopted a code of ethics to put our clients first and to explicitly keep their confidences. Our mission was, and is, to contribute to the success of our clients by addressing their opportunities and highlighting their offerings to the industry. We employ laser focus on their strengths and highlight the benefits of doing business with them.
All of us agree that a key benefit of being a FreshXpert has been getting to know one another more deeply while learning a great deal from one another. Some of us have had the blessing of working on very interesting projects together like cool chain visibility, aquatic growing technology, aeroponic growing, hydroponic growing, vertical farming, cutting edge corrugated and other packaging tech, operational software, APP tech, CRM, EDI, locally-grown programs, B2B & B2C business development, technology and waste management, and much more. Never boring and always enlightening is how we would describe the journey. 

The year 2020 has been a challenge for most of our clients--either with big swings upward in sales, big swings downward in sales, and/or challenges in supply chain resources in one form or another. 
A heartfelt thank you for the privilege you have given us to work with you. 

As we complete 2020 and due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and subsequent needs for further efficiencies, we are dissolving the entity FreshXperts LLC. We each remain experts in our fields and will continue to support and promote one another when the opportunity presents itself. We remain eager to work with you by addressing any individuals or company opportunities you feel may benefit from our services.

Wishing everyone health and safety in the weeks and months ahead.

Anthony Totta, co-founder and CEO
 “Due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and subsequent needs for further efficiencies we are dissolving the entity FreshXperts LLC. We each remain experts in our fields and will continue to support and promote one another when the opportunity presents itself.” 
~Anthony Totta, CEO

Ask the Xpert

Q: Where can I find inspiration for retail merchandising displays?
A: The Facebook group, Produce Pros, has 1500+ active members from around the country who share photos of their displays and encourage one another as retail professionals.

Q: As a grower/producer, how can I connect to the retail level to increase interest and encourage marketing displays of produce?
A: One way is to consider sponsoring Produce Pros for a week. Sponsors not only show their support for those building store displays but also are able to showcase their product, services, and other offerings. For more information, email the group's Admin. 

by Ron Pelger

Six simple ways to avoid being doomed in the produce business    

A produce associate commented to me, “Our company is taking it on the chin with heavy profit losses. We’re actually on the verge of closing down. Our top boss blames us for the results, yet he was ignoring staff information related to new threatening market trends that he claimed would not develop. Now we’re just a business failure waiting to happen.”

Some companies like this example are spinning downward and headed for the doom pit. This is forcing struggling companies in the food industry to take drastic measures to cut back on operational costs.

Businesses fail for many reasons. Most of the failures could have been prevented before the company went down the tubes. There is absolutely no reason to allow the more efficient companies to take over the business of those that were once most successful.

There is a certain fear factor in workers today a weakening company could possibly fail at any time. True, it could happen if management teams wander onto the road of complacency.

Here are six simple ways to avoid being doomed in the produce business.

(Apply each factor that may pertain to your company whether you are a grower, packer, shipper, distributor, or retailer.)

Don’t become stagnant — We deal with change and uncertainty every day. Trends change overnight. People, lifestyles, and shopping habits change. Nothing stays the same these days. If your company gets stuck in the same growing, packing, shipping, buying, warehousing, or retail habits, it won’t be around for too much longer.
Be a creative trailblazer — Keep pace with the consumers and their newer shopping behaviors. Invent better ideas of change.  Give your company the recognition for being a "go-getter."

Whether it's new packaging, convenient product line, labor-saving method, better merchandising style; keep your company moving forward into anything that is different. People are immediately interested in anything new.
Control that shrink waste — The perishable nature of fresh fruits and vegetables involves some degree of waste. It happens, but it doesn’t have to be made worse. If you are a top executive or company owner, have you looked at your company shrink waste lately? I don’t mean just on paper. Have you physically looked at the product going in the tank? You should see the real world. A penny here and a penny there could be your survival ticket.
Invest in people — Many companies spend money foolishly. Primary spending should be invested in people, not fancy meetings and golf outings. Good people make a company successful, so do all you can to keep good workers. Take time to constantly train them. The better they become, the more the company will prosper.
Don’t disregard competition — Becoming contented because your company has always been triumphant could make it a serious candidate for failure. Any one of your competitors could easily attract your customers over to their side. Good operating competitors keep getting better. Better keep both eyes on your customer base. You just can’t keep relying on customer loyalty.
Get out into the action — Company executives should regularly escape from the office and get out to see how the business is running. Check out the growing fields, packing facilities, warehouses, shipping, trucks, and especially retail stores. Managing the numbers and meetings are important, but it's not the whole game. Get out and motivate your workers.

There is more that can be added to this list, but these are a start. Prevent your company from becoming doomed. Don't become complacent by operating the same old way while others move forward into a different age with consumers.

Follow Dan the Produce Man

Dan the Produce Man, often with Guido the Gardener, shares the enjoyment of fresh fruit and vegetables with guests from the food world.

Stay Connected to Us!

We each remain experts in our fields and will continue to support and promote one another when the opportunity presents itself. We remain eager to work with you.
Experts in all aspects of the fresh industry–from Farm to Fork
Growers - Retailers - Distributors
Logistics - Foodservice -
Start Ups & New Ventures
Anthony Totta: Business and Brand Development Specialist
Grow My Profits LLC; email; LinkedIn
Tim Vaux: Executive Leadership Specialist
The Vaux Group; email; LinkedIn
Eric Bosveld: M&A; Agro-Economics Specialist
Bosveld Associates; email
Dan Avakian: Media, Food Safety
Dan the Produce Man; email;
Ron Pelger: Retail Operations Specialist
RonProCon; email; LinkedIn
Jennifer Lawson: editor-thePATH, Administration, Information Design
Creative Linez; email; Facebook; LinkedIn
Paul Grothe: Foodservice Procurement Specialist
Del Sur Produce; email; LinkedIn
Nick Pasculli: PR & Marketing
TMD; email; LInkedIn

From the Editor

It has been a pleasure working on thePATH for these past 2 years. I have enjoyed the opportunity to send out monthly quality articles from our members and helpful "Xpertise" to those in all walks of the fresh produce industry. Regretfully, the changes with FreshXperts requires a suspension of thePATH. 
So as I publish this final issue of thePATH, I wish you a blessed holiday season and prosperous 2021 and beyond.
Jennifer Lawson, editor, thePATH by FreshXperts

Image Credits

Jennifer Lawson;
Copyright © 2018, FreshXperts LLC All rights reserved.
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