Biggest challenges for the industry ahead

What is the biggest challenge for the produce industry in the next 10 years?

I asked that question to the LinkedIn Fresh Produce Industry Group, and it has garnered numerous responses so far.
Here are a few:

L.L. “How do we integrate all levels of data into formats that are user friendly to management. We are now be given the ability to look at production and post harvest field data, packinghouse operation data, WMS data, and sales or customer data and to store all of this in the Cloud. Some grower packers have as many as 20 different data bases to utilize. We will be over run with data unless we can integrate all of this into user friendly dash boards.”

T.S. “Training new people entering the industry. Teach them that success starts with building relationships and learning the basics from a mentor.”

D.V. “The future of transportation will be a challenge for both the shippers and receivers. New regulations and the need to keep the fresh supply chain fresh is going to drive better communications and end to end cooperation.”

J.T. “There is a lot of attention on labor issues at the field level, which will only become more complex in the years to come as mentioned already in this thread. The “Tech Skills Gap” will also become more evident in our industry as STEM courses in education (from K- Undergrad) are not emphasized enough to keep up with industry advances in tech.”

J.P. "To paraphrase Cindy Sorensen...I have observed some consumer purchase and consumption trends but would like to point out that some of those trends have developed as a result of marketing claims and not on the reality of farm practices. MARKETING CLAIMS CAN CONFUSE , NOT EDUCATE , CONSUMERS. It is my responsibility to not only identify trends, but to balance those insights with credible information. So ........ dealing with consumer trends or retailer preferences built on a foundation of sand will be an increasing challenge.

T.K. “Building demand in an age of lazy consumers ... How can per capita consumption increase with current trends toward grocery home delivery?”

C.F.Cost effective Labor!”

M.D. “Not only cost effective labor but strong due diligence around labor human rights and ensuring that employees are not in held in some of the many different forms of modern slavery. This is an area that is receiving increasing focus in the UK since the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 but internationally as other countries increase their regulations around labor, slavery and exploitation. Cost effective labor means invariably means cheap labor and cheap labor means opening vulnerable people to exploitation which is horrific as anyone who has ever been involved with a case will know.”

G.M. “Adapting to the changing marketplace logistics necessary to maintain the cold chain and fresh products being delivered through on-line sales direct to the consumer.”

S.L. “The challenge is to reduce both the volume and value of avoidable waste whilst at the same time delivering a consistently good product to the consumer.”

C.N.  "Agree with Mr. Morton it will be more of the fresh product being shipped and delivered from the on-line platform and maintaining freshness through the supply chain. That is why the packaging will be even more important in the future."

F.S. “More infrastructure for housing. Also:
- lack of temporary qualified farm labor
-specialization of labor crews that return with same employers
- +profit sharing in order to maintain your labor force

What challenge resonates with you? Check out the discussion