Visit to organic fruit export facility

10Nov07

Met with the CEO of an organic fruit export company today (Wednesday 7th) to discuss opportunities for PLA, packaging produce at source, and ways to differentiate product through packaging.

As mentioned in a previous entry, NZ has a real need to differentiate its product to allow it to play in the premium product space overseas. Its geographic isolation and high cost of production prevent it from competing on cost on a commodity style basis. Apart from investing in new varieties and the intellectual property associated with those (which many companies are already doing, ENZA, HortResearch, Blackcurrants NZ etc.), the only other possible means of differentiation lies in the packaging and presentation, and associated advertising and branding.

With this in mind, I thought perhaps that there might be some opportunity to work on the packaging and presentation of some NZ fruit. It was an interesting discussion, but as per my prior commercial experience, people in industry can’t seem to see further than what they currently have. If it works don’t touch it. And even though the current packaging and branding certainly doesn’t differentiate the product, they are unwilling to invest in or explore ways of doing this. (Or perhaps just can’t see them with an operations hat on.)

Russel was interested in packaging for organic Blueberries.  We discussed potential changes to shape and size to differentiate and/or add value to product but it seems that concerns of packing space (little square boxes fit well into bigger square boxes), stacking, and cost were the main issues.

The clamshell style square punnet is pretty entrenched. He mentioned that there was room to work on the label. Mmmm. That should really differentiate it and have consumers ooh-ing and aah-ing.

(Mental note for next time. Have a fully functional proposed product.)

 So, whilst there is a real-life opportunity here, a second-life definately is not the focus, and it’ll take more work than I have time for in this brief.

Into the “deal to when I have time and mental capacity” basket you go…

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