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South African Road Trip

Today’s modern retailers will go to the ends of the earth to make sure consumers have a selection of every fresh produce item on a year-round basis.

And I’m going to fly about as far as you can go from Boca Raton, FL, to help make that happen. At the end of next week, I’ll be jetting off to South Africa, where I’ve been graciously invited to address the allFresh conference, which is sort of like the PMA, United, IFPA, WGA, FFVA and TCVA of South Africa rolled into one. The conference is at the world-famous Sun City resort, and the program is extremely educational.

My own talk will be focused on the battle between a retailer’s own objectives and the needs of consumers, and is entitled The Changing Face of Retail Worldwide: Retail or Shopper Driven?

In addition, I’ll be giving workshops and talks for retail groups and grower groups across the country as well as touring growing regions, visiting the local terminal markets, fresh-cut processors and doing retail tours — and, yes, you can be certain I’ll be looking at the entire perishable offering of these stores.

It is my first trip to South Africa, and I’m looking forward to seeing my old industry friends, who I’ve only seen at conferences on my home turf. I also look forward to meeting new friends.

South Africa has long been a world-class producer but has traditionally sold mostly in Europe. A country like South Africa needs robust economic growth if it is to meet the aspirations of its people for hope and prosperity. Produce can be part of that growth, and I hope I can be of some service.

But whatever knowledge I may leave behind, I know I’ll pick up so much more. It is so tempting not to do things like this. So easy to look at your multiple pressing responsibilities and say I don’t have time. But it so imperative to make the time. Doing things such as this trip is the definition of helping yourself think out of the box.

So, this is just a heads up. Any fans of the Pundit down in South Africa and environs, I hope to see you at the conference or meet up with you across the country. Don’t hesitate to send a note and let me know if you would like to try to get together.

And to those who can’t make the conference, don’t worry. The Pundit will be reporting live from South Africa, letting you see this exciting country fresh through my eyes.

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