ProducePay released findings of an industry-wide survey that explored business stability for produce stakeholders, including growers, packers, distributors, integrated suppliers and end buyers in the United States and Latin America.
“The fresh produce industry is critical to feeding a growing world with sustainable and healthy food, and an economic engine for many rural communities across the globe,” says Patrick McCullough, CEO, ProducePay. “Given the importance of this industry, it’s essential that we support the entire vertical – from grower to retailer – by eliminating the volatility and unpredictability that limits economic growth and investments in sustainable practices, and that results in inefficient forms of waste throughout the supply chain. This requires developing tools and new ways of doing business that give growers and buyers greater control of their business by providing unprecedented access to each other, capital, trading, insights and greater supply chain visibility.”
With growers, producers and packers comprising a majority of survey respondents (55%), the data underscores how increasing volatility and unpredictability limit the fresh produce sector as a vital industry for feeding a growing global population sustainably.
Highlights from the survey:
- Commodity pricing volatility: Commodity pricing volatility, a top concern revealed by last year’s survey results, affects the greatest proportion of respondents (83%).
- Business stability: A majority of growers (52%), and 30% of respondents overall, rated the stability of their current business climate less positive (5 or lower, on a scale of 1-10), compared to last year.
- Business impact: More than half of respondents rated the following concerns as “extremely significant” in impacting their business negatively: cost of inputs (55%), ability to grow and deliver quality produce (53%), commodity pricing volatility (52%), weather unpredictability (52%), and reaching fair pricing terms (50%).
- Worsening challenges: These issues were rated worse this year compared to last year: weather unpredictability (54%), cost of inputs (53%), cost or access to labor (46%), commodity pricing volatility (44%), and cost or access to capital (40%).
- Concerns about the future: More respondents expect all these challenges to get even worse in the next five years, compared to those who expect things to improve.
- Produce waste: 60% of respondents estimate that greater than 10% of their produce is wasted, degraded or damaged due to supply chain inefficiencies.