Fruit Trade Methodology concerns itself with the way the industry goes about conducting its business. Fresh produce is very perishable, yet we send it in refrigerated containers vessels from New Zealand to Europe and everywhere in between. The local greengrocer likes to visit his terminal market in person to select the produce he needs to buy to keep his customers happy. The corporate produce category manager in the UK thinks nothing of buying ten 40 foot shipping containers at a time to keep the South African table grape special in his stores going all week.
Are the greengrocer and the category manager in this example following the same fruit trade methodology? It does not appear to be the case. Actual and likely differences include the size of the order, the frequency of purchase, the point at which the buyer takes control of the product, the price paid, the level of business risk involved and the way the produce is used to achieve overall business objectives. And this list is not exclusive by any means.
Just by looking at these two examples we can deduce that there is no right or wrong methodology when it comes to the fresh produce trade. The grower selling his watermelons at the roadside is as legitimate a trader as Walmart running a nationwide special across the continental US. The fresh fruit and vegetable industry is complex and we should therefore not be surprised that the way we go about our business ends up being complex as well. Even if it all looks very simple to the consumer, who after all just wants to be able to buy what she wants when she wants it and at a very competitive price, thank you very much. I will expand on the differences introduced here in the coming weeks.