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Historical document

Study tour to Florida and Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Produce Summit, Florida, October 2008 (VG08090)

Key research provider: Quadrant Australia Pty Ltd
Publication date: October, 2008

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

Quadrant Australia offered a professionally led study tour to the United States of America designed to expose vegetable growers and industry representatives to issues associated with global vegetable production, marketing, processing, value adding, supply chain and research activity.

This tour included attending the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) 59th Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition which was held in Orlando, Florida 2 – 5 October 2008. Leading the tour was Jonathan Eccles who was well known in the Australian horticultural industries.

A four day tour of Florida preceded the convention, visiting Plant City, Wimauma and Gainesville. The aim of the tour was to give participants the opportunity to observe and discuss issues and the latest industry developments with local farmers and researchers. Visits were made to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences, the Center for Food Distribution & Retailing and the Protected Agriculture Project. The group also met the Florida Strawberry Growers Association and gained an understanding of farming issues in Florida and how the growers work together to market winter strawberries and support research activities.

Visits were also made to various retail produce stores including the Florida based Publix supermarket. There was more value adding of produce in US supermarkets than in Australia and a far greater use of commercially branded products. Also, more use was made of marketing concepts for fresh produce than what was seen in Australia and companies provide greater marketing and promotional support to their products throughout the supply chain.

This year’s PMA Fresh Summit was being held under the cloud of the United States’ financial turmoil, large increases in cost of inputs, such as fuel and fertiliser, and the lower purchasing power of the American consumer. Added to this was a presidential election taking place. Workshops were held in the mornings and the afternoons were dedicated to one of the world’s largest fresh produce exhibitions held. It attracted over 800 exhibitors from 23 countries and nearly 76,000 attendees from more than 58 countries.

Food safety issues continue to dominate this year’s Fresh Summit with another food-borne illness attributed to fresh produce over the summer of 2008. Electronic traceability throughout the industry and development of a food safety management plan were being advocated. The United States produce industry still had no emergency management plan to handle a food safety outbreak and there were no clear communication pathways.

Recommendations from the study tour included the need for the Australian Vegetable Industry to develop an emergency management plan to handle a food safety outbreak with a clear communication strategy.

Details

ISBN:
0 7341 1950 X

Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Quadrant Australia Pty Ltd and the vegetable industry.

Copyright:
Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2009. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).