- The consumer is king and the world revolves around their wishes and demands.
- The news media has the ability to influence the consumer by creating hype and fear in food products.
- Consumers have strong views on food safety, production systems, and environmental issues.
- Consumers want food to be blemish free, cheap and available all year round.
- Supermarkets respond to consumer complaints.
- They are petrified of bad press and the resulting consumer backlash which inevitably leads to financial disaster for the supermarket chain.
- Commercial advantage exists where supermarkets initiate and lead consumers to believe they sell safe, quality food, for good value.
- The principles of IFP is the important framework for growers to concentrate on. The detail will vary from region to region and country to country.
- Growers who are involved with the IFP programme building, review and implementation are the most successful. Those growers where IFP is imposed upon them generally have problems.
- Growers need to work closely with researchers to develop and have confidence in the detail. Bureaucrats need to keep out of the detail as this can be detrimental and can make the programme unworkable.
IFP is the best response for New Zealand export fruit growers to both consumer trends and environmental concerns. We are very good at producing fruit with low residue, but as the industry moves down the IFP track, there needs to be a greater focus on justification for every action taken.
Consumers must have confidence in the brands that are attached to our fruit e.g. ENZA and ZESPRI. These brands must underpin the intrinsic values and enhance the integrity of these value systems. We must work hard to continually improve these growing systems in the future. Sustainable production is not only imperative for profitability but essential to feed the world as the world population expands dramatically into the new millennium.
IFP is only part of a change in world trends. Primary producers are entering a cycle where, if they do not adapt to this changing environment they will be left behind or be completely shut out of entire markets.