What is “natural”? What is “fresh”?
These sound like very simple questions, but, apparently, they are not.
A huge challenge for food retailers and food service operators today is to not only provide fresh and natural foods, but to be able to convince their customers, the consumer, that they are actually providing what they say they are. There is an increasing demand for transparency. There is also an increasing willingness for consumers to pay more for what they want as well as an increased readiness to switch juice brands and stores if they’re not satisfied with the products and services they receive.
DOCUMENTED CONSUMER TRENDS
Prior to COVID there was already increasing demand for “fresh”, “natural”, and “healthy” products. These trends, driven by millennials and Generation Z, have all been accelerated due to the COVID crisis.
In its 2019 paper, The future of fresh, Strategies to realize value in the fresh food category, Deloitte highlighted that “Produce is the key driver of perimeter growth” outstripping “total foods” as well as “total fresh foods”. (see graphic below) In its paper, The future of fresh, Patterns from the pandemic, Deloitte highlights that “Contemporary Consumers” (versus “Conventional Consumer”) “are more willing to pay a premium for fresh food (75% versus 62% for conventional consumers… … Contemporary consumers say they increased their fresh purchases in the last four months at a level almost double that of conventional consumers (50% versus 27%, respectively).”
In its article How COVID-19 is changing consumer behavior – now and forever McKinsey highlights that “many of the trends are accelerations of past behaviors” and that one of the enduring trends will be consumers’ focus on health and hygiene. Furthermore, in its article (and podcast) Meet Generation Z: Shaping the future of shopping, McKinsey highlights more trends are being driven faster by Gen Z and Millennials, with topics surrounding sustainability and niche diets (eg. vegetarianism, veganism, keto etc.) driving a need for these consumers to fully understand the food supply chain.
Source: McKinsey & Co.
THE TRUST FACTOR
What does it mean when a grocery store or restaurant claims they’re serving “fresh” or “100% natural” products? What does it mean when a brand advertises “nothing added” or “no preservatives”?
There are multiple government agencies involved in defining what companies may or may not claim with many regulated terms and claims. There are also multiple class action lawsuits against major branded companies fighting about what’s meant by “fresh” and “natural”, and then, if companies made false claims. Regardless of how many and which of these lawsuits have been won, lost, or settled, it indicates a huge breach of trust with certain consumer segments who feel so betrayed they take their concerns to court.
In its 2019 Review, Perkins Coie LLC highlights that “False claims” and issues related to “All Natural” still made up more than 50% of industry legal filings in 2019 (from a peak of 73% in 2017) and that there were 177 filings in 2019 alone, a highwater mark in their review.
Source: Perkins Coie LLP
Source: Perkins Coie LLP
Once again, this article is not analyzing if any of these lawsuits are with or without merit. This article is about satisfying the consumers’ growing demand for fresh, natural, healthy products plus a growing desire for more transparency and understanding into the food value chain.
Even though it can be a very complicated discussion, we can keep it simple. Let’s not rely on the government to define the solution. The industry needs to give the consumer high quality products, provide proper transparency and they, the consumer, can make the right decisions for themselves. Naturally, government agencies are there to keep things ‘safe’ and to keep things ‘truthful’, but in the end, the consumer will make their own informed purchasing decisions. However, it’s up to us, as responsible business managers, to provide transparency so they, the consumer, can make properly informed decisions.
Businesses provide the choices and the transparency: The consumer will decide.
BUILD TRUST CAPITAL
As discussed above, there is a certain “trust deficit” present today. This term is not a new term, being first used, as far as we can tell, over the past two decades, but this trust deficiency seems to be invading everywhere in business, in social networks, in politics, in the media, and even in schools. We can observe lawsuits, academic honesty statements, fact checkers, regulatory actions, and plenty of other related symptoms of this trust deficit. As business leaders, it’s up to us to overcome this trust deficiency with our customers and build what experts have coined “Trust Capital”.
In fact, Larry Light, in his 2015 article 4 Guiding Principles for Overcoming the Trust Deficit Syndrome
argued there are not three (3), rather four (4) major sources of organizational wealth:
- Financial Capital,
- Human Capital,
- Intellectual Capital, and now,
- Trust Capital.
Mr. Light goes on to say that it’s the CEO’s responsibility to build a company’s “Trust Capital” and thereby become the most trusted company in its targeted market segment, thus reinforcing its brand. Mr. Light goes on to provide four (4) guiding principles for developing a company’s Trust Capital:
- Create a cross-functional, cross-geography team of which the CEO is the leader.
- When strategy and culture conflict, culture wins.
- Do what you say you will do.
- Generate a plan to boost leadership, credibility, integrity, and responsibility
Deloitte, in its 2020 study recommends building a fresh image. “Retailers might accomplish this by emphasizing fresh attribute messaging as a core part of their own brand. If done properly and backed by trusted and transparent supply chain management, customers may begin to feel that all fresh food bought in your store must have those attributes.”
CITRUS AMERICA’S ROLE IN BUILDING TRUST CAPITAL
At Citrus America, we think the best way to build “Trust Capital” with the customer is to actually earn their trust. That sounds simple, but we know it’s not. It takes a lot of commitment and work.
- Citrus America helps our customers, provide The Juice, The Whole Juice, and Nothing but the Juice. We help our customers earn Healthy Profits with Juicing by following THE Strategy, based on Taste, Hygiene, and Efficiency in Juicing.
- Our customers, in the retail, hospitality, and food service trades earn Healthy Profits with Juicing by providing their clientele with the highest quality, best tasting, freshly squeezed juices and support their brand by supplying “fresh” experiences, thus building Trust Capital with their customer base.
- Citrus America helps its customers provide fresh on-location juicing experiences that, when properly executed, remove the need to make claims because the consumer can actually see and experience the freshness being performed every day, for them, the consumer.
- Our commercial juicing solutions help our customers use freshly squeezed citrus juices to enhance their beverage offerings, improve their food ingredients, and provide an image and brand boost that consumers are looking for.
- Citrus America provides the know-how, the commercial juicing equipment, and the technical support to help its customers provide daily fresh juice experiences and strengthen its Trust Capital with the consumer
BE “fresh”. SHOW “fresh”. SERVE “fresh”. You, the grocery retailer, hotel, bar, restaurant, café, bakery, etc. have the ability to serve “fresh” and “natural” and you have the ability to demonstrate to your customers that you are providing them with high quality “fresh” and “natural” products.
Naturally, you can offer a wide variety of packaged products as well. These other, alternative products are also high-quality products. However, “fresh” is an option you can offer your clientele. If you offer fresh choices then you should show your customers what you are doing for them – be transparent. Demonstrate to your customers what you are doing and earn their trust and build more Trust Capital.
For Citrus America, there’s is no better way to earn the consumers’ trust than by preparing your fresh juice right on-location, every day, in front of the customer where they can experience it:
- Let them see what you are doing,
- Let them smell what you are making,
- Let them taste what you are serving,
- Let them experience fresh.
For many customers, experiencing the real fresh, on-demand, in-store, squeezed citrus juice may be a first-time experience for them. People are surprised to find out what fresh juices actually smell and taste like. Once somebody tastes freshly squeezed orange juice, especially with less bitter peel oil for increased sweetness, cocktails made with fresh citrus juices, and other high quality fresh products, it’s tough to forget the fresh experience. Lower quality products simply lose their appeal and, in the end, quality wins every time.
QUALITY COSTS BUT QUALITY PAYS
Providing high quality isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be overly complicated either. It requires some thought, some planning and some effort, but we all know it’s worth it when we see a happy customer who enjoys their experience at your location and, in the near future, comes back again to enjoy your products and services.
Smart investments with fast paybacks that help our customers develop and strengthen their quality image has paybacks far beyond just earning attractive margins directly from juicing. Improved brand image, increased Trust Capital, gains in market share, increased in-store customer frequency are some of the additional benefits that build long-term value.
OUR JUICING SOLUTIONS ARE REVOLUTIONARY
Making juice has been around for many thousands of years. Squeezing grapes and making wine are the earliest documented forms of juicing going back to biblical times. Making juice, one glass at a time is a relatively simple process. However, making many servings, or even hundreds or thousands of servings per day requires some know-how and some excellent commercial juicing equipment so that it can be safe and efficient.
There are some simple guidelines that can help you implement a successful juicing program… and there are some clear things that can bring a juicing program down and prevent a roll-out across multiple locations.
Here are 5 Key Elements for Juicing Success:
- Use quality fruit if you want quality juice
- Select the best equipment if you want to be the best in Taste, Hygiene and Efficiency
- Develop clear internal communications about why juicing is important to your organization
- Implement clear, easy to understand processes to support a successful program
- Provide quality training to your staff so they understand juicing and are good at it
Back in 2010, before Citrus America was formed, it was easier to get a quality glass of orange juice in Vienna, Austria Click here to see juicing in Vienna in 2010
, where Citrus America’s founder was living, than when visiting his parents in Florida. Let’s repeat that: It was easier to get high quality, freshly squeezed orange juice in Vienna, Austria than when he was visiting his parents in Florida. Brian Framson, and his father, Ron, decided to get into juicing equipment to address the many issues they identified at the time. They partnered with Citrocasa, an Austrian juice equipment manufacturer, to become the leading quality brand in the fresh orange juice equipment segment.
We’ll cover a lot of topics here at THE JUICE, but the first guideline, however, is if a retailer or food service operator is telling the consumer they’re serving 100% fresh and natural juice, then that is what they should be doing. Anything else will decrease Trust Capital. The opposite is also true: juicing where everyone can see it, serving fresh juice and keeping things transparent and with quality will help increase Trust Capital.
That’s The Juice, The Whole Juice, and Nothing But the Juice!
Citrus America, Inc. will be sharing our thoughts and insights into fresh juicing here. We hope to help you be successful. In the meantime:
- If you’re thinking about getting into juicing, then please feel free to contact us and discuss.
- If you’re already juicing and looking to improve or grow your juicing operations, let us know to discuss how we can help.
WELCOME TO “THE JUICE”. We will be positing to this blog page on a regular basis. Feel free to reach out to us to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns. We’re looking forward to a long and fruitful dialogue with you, our reader.
About Citrus America: Citrus America has been driving innovation and quality in the juicing segment for more than a decade in North America and the Caribbean. We’re the exclusive master distributor for Citrocasa and have driven many innovations and quality improvements in juicing equipment. In addition to equipment solutions, we provide tailored training and support strategies to help our customers earn Healthy Profits.