The recent outbreak of the Coronavirus got me thinking about how small our world has become. 50 years ago an outbreak like this would have been very different. In 2020 people, food and millions of consumer packaged goods travel from continent to continent every day. Consumers in every market expect to find products from all over the world. When something like this happens the world is impacted very quickly.
It is interesting how we talk about ‘buy local’ but then the same consumer expects to find coconut milk from Thailand and fresh apples from New Zealand or South Africa. The reality is our food supply network is global and we have trained consumers to believe they will find almost anything they want in their neighborhood store.
Anytime you are considering a new product you do have to assess the competition from your own backyard and the rest of the world. Your customers do have access to these products. They might not list them but they do have access to them and they can make comparisons. The other benefit of looking into other markets is you might find some great ideas.
An outbreak like this virus is also a reminder to diversify your markets. It can be enticing to develop a market and if the sales are there put all of your focus to maximize the benefits. The risk is that you might be impacted by something totally out of your control. If you are selling 90% of your lobster to China right now, this virus will have a big impact on your business. True it was great sending the product there every week but if it is your only market you have a problem. This is the same with our Canadian food retail landscape. There are 5 retailers selling the vast majority of the food in Canada. Make sure you are not too dependent on one of them. A decision to delist your product or a personnel change can really hurt your business. Diversify to reduce your risk.
When I was thinking about how our food supply network is global I was reminded about sharing the stage with George Steinmetz last year in Drummondville, Quebec at the CRAAQ Perspectives Agroalimentaires conference. I was there to talk about how to sell more and George was there to share a different side of the food industry. He is a photographer who was tasked by National Geographic to look at how industrialized agriculture will supply enough food to feed 9 billion people by 2025. His photos can be viewed on his website https://georgesteinmetz.com. If you are interested in food and production or processing like me, you will find his photos captivating and very interesting. I really found it incredible to listen to George share his perspectives about food supply in the world. His analogy to a spider web is so true.
While we hope the latest outbreak of a virus does not impact you directly it is a lesson to make sure you diversify risk and take the proper precautions to ensure it does not impact your food business.
Learnsphere is putting on three upcoming Co-Packing Training & Networking events in March. It was great to help develop the concept and some of the content
Register now to participate in free workshops, networking and one-on-one meeting
This workshop will feature an interactive discussion and exploration of the co–packer journey - from how to identify candidates that best match your objectives through to the key elements of a successful negotiation.
Learn about the risks and rewards of private label and contract manufacturing and apply a tool to assess your firm's capability to meet the expectations of potential co-packing customers.
After a morning of training, the workshop participants will be brought together for a networking lunch, panel of co-packing success stories, and short presentations by support organizations. Selected co-packers and support organizations will be available for one-on-one meetings, based on availability, that afternoon.
On top of the learning, tools, networking and connections, each attendee will have access to up to 4 hours of one-on-one consulting hours in follow-up! Don’t miss out on this event. If you think you’ll need a co-packer in the future, or have an opportunity to grow your business by manufacturing for another company at your facility, this is an event not to be missed.
If you have any questions please give me a call at (902) 489-2900 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.