Fruit Logistica 2018 – Trends, themes and ponderings

21st February 2018

This was supposed to be a report on the Fruitnet Fresh World of Ideas forum held in Berlin on Tuesday 6th February before Fruit Logistica 2018 officially started to be absolutely honest. It was supposed to be the third in a trilogy of reflections on this year’s Fruit Logistica for our blog. However, for various reasons involving stand set up (read, I was too busy running around Messe Berlin like a headless chicken) I didn’t make it to all that much of the event so I have had to extend the remit a bit further to, ahem, pad this out a little bit…

At the very well attended and well organised Fruitnet Fresh World of Ideas I did manage to get to listen to Bettina Stier Scatamacchia talk about building the Chiquita bananas brand. She was inspiring and the Chiquita moon campaign she led was exceptionally successful.

Produce and marketing was something that came up a few times at Fruit Logistica (see Marta’s report on the social media event). This year there was an official hashtag and we posted on #fruitlog18 with pride. It is time for produce to harness the energy of social media and new marketing strategies as plant based eating is here to stay and we are now bang on trend. Produce companies need to work out how to turn social media platform work into a revenue driver. Fruit is leading the way, with berries the obvious superstars. Berries were everywhere at Fruit Logistica 2018, it felt like you couldn’t turn a corner without seeing one. A definite produce trend that I would say isn’t going anywhere for a good while.

Rainer Munch from Oliver Wyman got my full attention too at the Fruitnet event. His frank assessment of what consumers now expect and how we all have to get better at raising the bar to meet them sums up perfectly our collective challenges for the next few years. Amazon are the best example of a trailblazer, innovating at a consumer centric level at rapid speed and they are firmly established in our sector now. They are creating a consumer reality of 24/7 availability, an almost unlimited choice and a same day delivery speed requirement. He says all produce businesses need to be rapid, precise, transparent and flexible to be able to follow.

This led to a discussion on the technology we will need to help us optimize and squeeze our time frames, robots QC’ing for us and automated warehouses. Rainer did stress that the most important thing about all of this was freshness of product. We need dynamic planning and control, analytics and data will become ever more important in helping us achieve that.

Technology was a recurrent theme that continued throughout the rest of the Fruitnet Fresh World of ideas and also throughout Fruit Logistica itself. Both visible technology in terms of a heavier focus on the machine floor in the press coverage and what I think could be referred to as invisible technology, that is the value added products that have sprung up in the last few years. The main examples would be the spiralised product and cold pressed juices, produce transformed using new innovations and technologies.

Organics also seemed to be back on the agenda this year in Berlin. At JWE we had several enquiries on our organic range and I did notice more organic stands at the event than previous years. I even spotted a stand of organic tulips in the Dutch hall!

It was a very busy Fruit Logistica this year, it felt like there was a real buzz of activity going on. Our stand was busy almost constantly and we saw lots of old faces and met lots of new faces. The event programme was bigger and better and the hashtag worked well.

Basically, it never gets old no matter how many times you attend. Thank you Fruit Logistica organisers – we’re off to book everything for 2019 now!