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Mike Knowles



Fresh ideas come to the fore

Mike Knowles reflects on the brand new event with an innovative multimedia format that kicked off Fruit Logistica

Fresh ideas come to the fore

Mike Knowles presenting at Fruitnet World of Fresh Ideas

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The first ever Fruitnet World of Fresh Ideas, a brand new curtain-raiser event for the world’s leading fresh produce industry trade fair, Fruit Logistica, took place on in Berlin on 7 February, bringing with it an exciting new mixture of live multimedia content to inform those attending about the latest ideas, trends and innovations in the international fresh fruit and vegetable business.

Recorded live in front of an audience of around 350 people, the show was presented by myself and Fruitnet Media International managing director Chris White, with expert contributions from Michael Barker and John Hey, editors of the Fresh Produce Journal and Asiafruit Magazine respectively.

Drawing on our global network of industry experts, we were able to explore what’s new and happening in the world of fresh produce today, and then present our findings using video, audio, live interviews, snappy presentations and real-time polling.

In short, Fruitnet World of Fresh Ideas offered a new multimedia experience that took our audience on a journey of innovation through the global fresh produce supply chain. From the newest trends in food retail to the latest developments in production, packaging and technology, we were able to spotlight the most important trends in the global fresh produce business and offer some real and exciting ways to create new value and interest.

We were pleased to welcome an excellent line-up of special guests, who took part in live interviews on stage. These included Charlie Hicks of Total Produce UK, who explained how the huge potential of social media now puts effective marketing within reach of everyone in the business; Tom Coen of Belgian company Octinion, which is developing the world’s first robotic harvester for table-top strawberry growers; Dan Mathieson, global president of sales and marketing at New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri, who explained how a global approach to branding was reaping rewards for the company; and Claas van Os, who was on hand to discuss Dutch supplier Levarht’s innovative approach to new product and packaging development.

Elsewhere on the programme, Kurt Ratschiller of Vog and Michael Grasser of VI.P Val Venosta revealed how the Italian companies are aiming to tap into new apple markets around the Mediterranean with their new branded apple variety Yello. The variety, which originated in Japan, is set to be marketed heavily in Italy this year, with plans to extend that marketing into export markets in the coming years.

Fruitnet World of Fresh Ideas was packed with inspiration from every stage in the supply chain. Gilad Sadan of Melbourne-based Navi Co Global delivered a whirlwind tour of recent innovations in packaging design; Mihai Ciobanu of Fresh4Cast outlined the huge potential for big data to improve decision-making in the fruit and vegetable business; and Sarig Duek of Israeli firm Phytech gave us a glimpse of the future with an explanation of how individual plants could be monitored via an internet-based system.

At the heart of Fruitnet World of Fresh Ideas was the unveiling of Fruit Trade 2025, a specially commissioned report into the future of the fresh produce business published by Marta Kwiatkowski and Christine Schäfer of the Swiss organisation Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute. Dr David Bosshart picked out what the report identified as important consumer trends and drivers in the international fresh produce business, such as health, digital communication and product origin. He then outlined the key trends to look out for in terms of production, distribution and consumer behaviour, before drawing a number of conclusions with major relevance to the industry.

Eurofruit is planning to publish some of the Fruit Trade 2025 report’s findings in subsequent issues, so look out for further inspiration in the near future.

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