On November 7 World Horti Center organized the sixth edition of I-Grow Inside. A strong panel of three talked about the topic ‘CEA: a game changer for retail?’. With a breeder, a grower and a retailer at the table the audience got a broad look into the world of controlled environment agriculture in relation to retail. Together with the moderator the panel concluded that they’re mostly facing the same challenges, like sustainability, how to work with the seasons and how to tell a story to the consumer. Working together and telling the story together is key.
A lot of stories to tell
The sixth edition of I-Grow Inside had a strong panel of three talking about controlled environment agriculture in relation to retail. Part of the panel was Simone van der Steeg, Sourcing Manager for the Fresh Fruit Category at Albert Heijn. Van der Steeg and her team are responsible for the fresh produce being sold in this Dutch retail chain. With over 20.000 products sold in each store there’s a lot of stories to tell. ‘If we tell all these stories consumers will go crazy, they get too much impulses. That’s why we have to choose what we send out’ says van der Steeg. Johan Vis, Marketing Specialist Tomato, Lettuce and Leafies at Rijk Zwaan stands at the beginning of the chain, the company he works at looks for new varieties, certain resistances and so on. Vis adds to the discussion: ‘We have a big job in explaining how resistances contribute to a cleaner world, with less use of pesticides etc.’ On the other hand he is also aware that this a complicated story to tell, using the slogan ‘less pesticides’ for selected produce can be confusing for consumers in store.