January 2014: Oxymoronic Grocery Predictions and Big Data for the Produce Industry
Over the last few weeks we have been inundated with the "Top 10 Food Predictions for 2014" and even though everyone has their own ideas of trends, we spotted a common theme … ideas that sound wrong, but could actually work. Just as anyone who has tried bacon-flavored donuts can tell you, once you get past the contradictory idea, your taste buds will celebrate. Here are a few leaden ideas that might turn into grocery gold:
Doug Rouch, former president of Trader Joe's, is opening a store in Dorchester, Massachusetts that will only sell produce that is past its sell by date. With up to 40% of fresh produce ending up in landfills, Doug wants to create a grocery store/fast food hybrid environment in communities with limited grocery options. With Americans' emphasis on saving money and convenience this idea could have legs…if Americans don't sour on the idea of old produce.
2014 could be the year of the ugly vegetables. From irregular heirloom tomatoes to gnarly carrots marketers are trying to turn ugly ducklings into swans. As American palates mature they are finding flavor in these ancient and misshapen varieties, much more than their manicured and uniform derivatives. But can they see past the looks to the flavor? Are American shoppers ready for the ugly truth?
And how could we ignore the big event on Sunday? Now that the NFL's official dip is hummus, can you really see mashed up chickpeas replacing guacamole or ranch dressing? In our house hummus is a healthy, "cool" compliment to hot wings, but not everyone is familiar with the ancient Mediterranean treat. If hummus can get a bigger dip of the dip market, it will be money well spent. Look for hummus touching down at your Super Bowl party – and a vigorous debate on how to pronounce it.
Demystifying the Use of Big Data in the Produce Industry
We've all heard about Big Data and how companies like Netflix and Facebook are using it to improve customer service and drive stratospheric revenue growth. But for most of us, the term Big Data is ambiguous and it can be hard to know how it could apply to the produce industry. After all, we're not recommending movies or selling ad space.
What exactly makes data 'big'? How is this different to what your team does in Excel today? Even if you have Big Data, what can you do with it? What would you be asking your team to do differently, if they were using Big Data? Who in your organization is responsible for 'doing' Big Data, and how do you implement it (and how much will it cost!)?
We'll answer these and other questions in this white paper, with plenty of examples specifically from the produce industry. We'll also avoid using buzz words – or we'll explain in clear language what they mean. If you're not interested in the technical details – skip Section 3. The in-depth examples from the produce industry try to make the concepts more understandable. The main takeaway from reading this paper should be a much better understanding of what Big Data is, and how you can use it or ask for it to be applied … no matter what your role in your company.