28 Sep 2020
Research by Rijk Zwaan reveals: Sales channels have changed permanently
The coronavirus crisis has caused some permanent shifts in the sales channels for fruit and vegetables. Fresh produce growers and processing companies worldwide are looking for ways to adapt to these changes. They are also concerned about a looming recession. Those are the key findings from new research conducted by vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan based in De Lier, the Netherlands, among its chain partners and specialists.
The fresh chain for fruit and vegetables is experiencing similar shifts across the globe. For example, Rijk Zwaan specialists from regions including China, India, Russia, Europe, South Africa and the USA all indicate that the pandemic has accelerated the transition to online shopping and home delivery, which was already underway. This has prompted retailers such as Alibaba, Walmart, Carrefour and Lidl to increase their investment in online tools. Suppliers of meal kits and box schemes such as Marley Spoon and HelloFresh are increasingly gaining a foothold in the market, particularly in Europe and Australia. The foodservice sector has been severely affected on all continents and, according to the specialist in the US, revenue in that channel was still 70% lower than normal in August. Experts at Rabobank predict that some of these channel shifts will be permanent.
Seeking inspiration for healthy home cooking
Consumers in all four corners of the globe are not only switching to new channels but are also increasingly choosing fresh and healthy food, and vegetables with a long shelf are especially popular. This represents an opportunity for the sector. According to a specialist in Brazil, consumers are actively looking for information about nutritional values. People are also increasingly choosing local products and suppliers. Besides that, the pandemic has sparked a significant rise in home cooking, particularly in the USA, Latin America, Asia, Europe and Australia, so consumers everywhere are hungry for inspiration. That explains the success of fresh meal kits, both in supermarkets and from suppliers of healthy box schemes.
Sharing market insights with partners
Rijk Zwaan is sharing these market insights with its customers. The company is keen to help them adapt to the current changes in the world, such as through product/market diversification or through investment in more efficient digital processes or mechanisation. The research reveals that finding sufficient labour is a major challenge for growers, as is creating a safe place to work. The vegetable breeding company is therefore investing in vegetable varieties that are aligned with these new needs, such as thanks to a long shelf life, an appropriate size for meal kits and/or suitability for mechanical harvesting. Moreover, in conjunction with its partners, Rijk Zwaan offers consumers lots of inspiration for home cooking, including through its LoveMySalad platform. That’s how we share a healthy future.