Global demand for fresh produce is on the rise, and statistics say we can expect that trend to continue. This reality is closely linked to the fact that, for decades, the global population has been significantly increasing. Details like increasing life expectancy, rising average incomes and migration patterns have all contributed to this.
With this proliferation naturally comes a higher demand for more calories and nutrients, especially in the forms of fresh produce. According to the Harvard Business Review, the changes on the horizon for the agricultural markets will be at never before seen levels. Subsequently, global agribusinesses, producers and distributors will need to explore new avenues to supply and meet the needs of their growing customer base.
Meeting global needs
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the global population is expected to surpass 9 billion people by the year 2050 – that is an over 35% increase from today. To meet the caloric needs of that population, the FAO estimates that food production must increase by 60%.
Not only must this demand be met, but it must also be supplied to the world’s population in an effective and consistent way. One dietary staple that will rely heavily on fresh supply and distribution – due to its highly perishable and seasonal nature – is produce.
Globally, food and vegetables are absolutely crucial for healthy living. They are also an important component of building a more sustainable food system. Acknowledging this, the United Nations named 2021 the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the health and livelihoods of people across the world, we must come together to ensure that nutritious food, including fruits and vegetables, reaches the most vulnerable, leaving no one behind,” said the UN’s Secretary-General António Guterres in his message launching the year.
People around the globe already do not get enough fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets. According to one study published in the British Nutrition Review, as many as 87% of them are deficient in these foods.
What businesses need to respond
With significant challenges ahead for the produce industry, companies in the space need to start being proactive today in order to come out ahead tomorrow. This can begin by being successful within the industry, particularly with B2B sales.
Remember, increasing production isn’t enough. To meet the global produce demand will require a joint effort with distributors, processors and marketers. This includes innovative solutions to reduce food waste, create more sustainable packaging and making more efficient transportation. All of these are indirect ways to help reach the ultimate end goal and can be important parts of a company’s strategy and portfolio.
Strong communication to stay connected and informed with other businesses and industry partners will also help companies be proactive at tackling the most relevant issues both now and in the future.
Even with an adequate population, food companies still need to effectively market. The Produce Marketing Association refers to “demand creation” as being part of feeding the global population. This must be an industry-wide effort, one that brings education and conversation into tangible food products.
This type of forward-thinking will be what enables certain companies to pull ahead of the competition. For example, understanding the soon-to-be consumers – such as Gen Zers – will be a large part of surviving in a changing world.
At Consentio, we strive to help our customers succeed and make it easier for them to thrive in a changing world. We make the buying and selling processes modern and effective. Together as an industry, we can work together to make a bright future where no one is left behind – with amply produce that is sustainable, accessible and affordable.
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