Clos­ing out the year gives way to per­sonal and pro­fes­sional reflec­tion.

As an indus­try, 2018 pre­sented many dif­fi­cult chal­lenges to hur­dle for every sup­ply chain stake­holder.

Grow­ers, ship­pers, proces­sors, sup­pli­ers, retail­ers and food­ser­vice estab­lish­ments all shared in the endeavor to deliver fresh pro­duce.

Demand­ing everyone’s atten­tion through­out the year were var­i­ous prod­uct recalls, warn­ings and alerts. Recent romaine ill­nesses are still top of mind. Fifty nine indi­vid­u­als, in fif­teen states, were affected in the last out­break.

These all too fre­quent out­breaks unfor­tu­nately adversely impact the health of any num­ber of fresh pro­duce con­sumers. For the rest of the mar­ket­place, it casts a dark shadow on eat­ing any leafy greens or veg­eta­bles.

Pro­mot­ing increased con­sump­tion of fresh pro­duce is an already tall task. Rebuild­ing erod­ing con­sumer con­fi­dence in the after­math of these peri­odic out­breaks puts addi­tional stress on most indus­try professionals.

Par­ents, chefs, pro­duce man­agers, school dieti­cians and all oth­ers in the busi­ness of feed­ing peo­ple are on the front lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with sup­pli­ers. Food safety is never taken for granted or ignored when it comes to pur­chas­ing or stock­ing inven­tory.

Improve­ments in labelling were installed after the last out­break. Look for more advance­ments ahead in iden­ti­fy­ing prod­uct grow­ing regions and har­vests dates.

After food safety issues, the other annual woes of labor short­ages, ris­ing costs of health care and fed­eral trans­porta­tion reg­u­la­tions con­tributed to food busi­ness tri­als and tribu­la­tions.

On the up side, tech­nol­ogy is paving the way towards real time access to prod­ucts, ser­vices and infor­ma­tion. Those eager to har­ness new meth­ods of trans­ac­tions can enjoy front door deliv­ery of ingre­di­ents or entire meals.

Inno­va­tion is chang­ing how we shop and eat. While meal­time today may look dif­fer­ent from past gen­er­a­tions, don’t dis­miss the fact that humans are wired to share food (and drink) with oth­ers.

The enjoy­ment of prepar­ing, then shar­ing a meal with loved ones, friends and co-​workers is pos­si­bly the great­est plea­sure dur­ing the hol­i­days.

Catch­ing up on this year’s events, travel, and life expe­ri­ences is done bet­ter at the table. Pop a cork and fill the glasses. Cheers to 2018!

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.
Market Report page 1

Market Report page 2

Market Report page 3

Market Report page 4