Blog Archives

Here Comes the Cold Weather — and Mus Musculus

For much of the country, as the temperatures drop, there is increased activity of mice to find a harborage area. For any food operation, or homeowner, for that matter, this means an increased potential of infestation if some proactive measures are not taken to eliminate entry. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Think like a mouse.

2. Any hole, gap or crack leading directly outside must be either sealed or flush with the floor. If you see sunlight, chances are that gap may be large enough for a mouse to squeeze through. Simply using some type of spray foam to plug a hole may work temporarily until the mice decide to chew through it, so put a metal scrub pad in the hole before it is sealed. I’ve seen mice tunnel through fireproof insulation three floors high, chew through wires, sheetrock, plaster and plywood, so they are resilient and can get to where they want to go.

3. Keep doors closed when not in use, especially in a warehouse next to a field, where even Bigfoot can walk right in.

4. Be careful of potential exterior harborage areas. Those hay bales — yes, they’re very fall-like and a nice-looking Halloween decoration — but they’re also a nice, warm and comfortable area for mice to inhabit. Bags of mulch and even vending machines are as well. Just keep that in mind the next time your dispensed scratch-off lottery ticket looks like it has been nibbled on the end. Those make perfect nesting material, and the grand prize you might win may have four legs.

5. Be mindful of any potential outdoor food source that can be an attraction, such as an unkept garbage area, seed, pet food and anything else that will attract rodents.

6. Make sure to thoroughly check any food and/or paper deliveries for evidence of infestation. Is one of your vendors possibly bringing you something more than you bargained for?

7. Finally, ask yourself: Just exactly what are those holes in the ground outside your back door?

Mice can be a big problem once they have gained access to your interior, not only for the spread of potential disease, product loss, damage to reputation, citations and/or fines from the health department, but also for the money you will spend in labor to clean up after them and for the pest-control company to get rid of them.

Keep in mind that, with a potential reproduction rate of five to 10 litters a year, times five to six babies each, an unchecked mouse population can grow fast. And it all starts with entry.

Food Safety News

Here Comes the Cold Weather — and Mus Musculus

For much of the country, as the temperatures drop, there is increased activity of mice to find a harborage area. For any food operation, or homeowner, for that matter, this means an increased potential of infestation if some proactive measures are not taken to eliminate entry. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Think like a mouse.

2. Any hole, gap or crack leading directly outside must be either sealed or flush with the floor. If you see sunlight, chances are that gap may be large enough for a mouse to squeeze through. Simply using some type of spray foam to plug a hole may work temporarily until the mice decide to chew through it, so put a metal scrub pad in the hole before it is sealed. I’ve seen mice tunnel through fireproof insulation three floors high, chew through wires, sheetrock, plaster and plywood, so they are resilient and can get to where they want to go.

3. Keep doors closed when not in use, especially in a warehouse next to a field, where even Bigfoot can walk right in.

4. Be careful of potential exterior harborage areas. Those hay bales — yes, they’re very fall-like and a nice-looking Halloween decoration — but they’re also a nice, warm and comfortable area for mice to inhabit. Bags of mulch and even vending machines are as well. Just keep that in mind the next time your dispensed scratch-off lottery ticket looks like it has been nibbled on the end. Those make perfect nesting material, and the grand prize you might win may have four legs.

5. Be mindful of any potential outdoor food source that can be an attraction, such as an unkept garbage area, seed, pet food and anything else that will attract rodents.

6. Make sure to thoroughly check any food and/or paper deliveries for evidence of infestation. Is one of your vendors possibly bringing you something more than you bargained for?

7. Finally, ask yourself: Just exactly what are those holes in the ground outside your back door?

Mice can be a big problem once they have gained access to your interior, not only for the spread of potential disease, product loss, damage to reputation, citations and/or fines from the health department, but also for the money you will spend in labor to clean up after them and for the pest-control company to get rid of them.

Keep in mind that, with a potential reproduction rate of five to 10 litters a year, times five to six babies each, an unchecked mouse population can grow fast. And it all starts with entry.

Food Safety News

Ready or not, here comes online grocery

Leading department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s expect most of their growth in the next few years to come from online shopping, not from their traditional stores. The same is true for home improvement operators like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Do food retailers understand they face a similar future? I think many underestimate the impact that online food and grocery sales will have on their business.

Look at what grocery shoppers are doing

Brick Meets Click research sees a significant increase in online grocery shopping in the next 10 years.Recently updated Brick Meets Click consumer research found that 1 in 10 grocery shoppers had bought at least some grocery items online in the previous 30 days. This translates to about 4% of today’s total grocery spending. If current trends, activity and investment continue, we forecast that online shopping will account for between 11% and 17% of grocery spending in most U.S. markets within 10 years.

Today, online grocery growth is driven by highly focused online food retailers like Door to Door Organics, Relay Foods and Artizone, who are doing a good job of serving the needs of particularly well-defined market niches. It will grow even faster when the big operators start expanding their online programs – when Walmart rolls out “click and collect” to more than 4,000 stores, Amazon Fresh moves into new markets, or Google rapidly expands their Shopping Express service to grocery retailers.

How will you respond?

Some don’t believe this major disruptor is going to affect their grocery market, but I do. So I’m asking, “What are you doing to get ready for the inevitable?”

For more information, you can download BMC’s online grocery forecast paper from our site.

Supermarket News

Ready or not, here comes online grocery

Leading department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s expect most of their growth in the next few years to come from online shopping, not from their traditional stores. The same is true for home improvement operators like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Do food retailers understand they face a similar future? I think many underestimate the impact that online food and grocery sales will have on their business.

Look at what grocery shoppers are doing

Brick Meets Click research sees a significant increase in online grocery shopping in the next 10 years.Recently updated Brick Meets Click consumer research found that 1 in 10 grocery shoppers had bought at least some grocery items online in the previous 30 days. This translates to about 4% of today’s total grocery spending. If current trends, activity and investment continue, we forecast that online shopping will account for between 11% and 17% of grocery spending in most U.S. markets within 10 years.

Today, online grocery growth is driven by highly focused online food retailers like Door to Door Organics, Relay Foods and Artizone, who are doing a good job of serving the needs of particularly well-defined market niches. It will grow even faster when the big operators start expanding their online programs – when Walmart rolls out “click and collect” to more than 4,000 stores, Amazon Fresh moves into new markets, or Google rapidly expands their Shopping Express service to grocery retailers.

How will you respond?

Some don’t believe this major disruptor is going to affect their grocery market, but I do. So I’m asking, “What are you doing to get ready for the inevitable?”

For more information, you can download BMC’s online grocery forecast paper from our site.

Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Food trucks here to stay

Food truck proprietors comprise a pool of mostly talented chefs – who could partner with supermarkets looking for new ways to appeal to shoppers with prepared foods.

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Supermarket News

The next best thing is already here

NEW ORLEANS — The hottest new trend is already around, it just hasn’t gotten hot yet.

Boiled down, that was the message delivered at the Oct. 19 general session by keynote speaker Peter Sheahan during the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit, here.

Sheahan, who has written extensively about capitalizing on trends, is a best-selling author and the chief executive officer of ChangeLabs. He and his team have researched many different change trends in business and have determined that when companies are caught by surprise it is typically because they made false assumptions about emerging trends. It was not that the trends weren’t evident.

For example, Henry Ford is credited with changing the world in 1908 when he began mass producing automobiles. But Ford did not invent the automobile. Sheahan said that by 1901, there were 78,000 cars on the road. What Ford did was make an assumption about a trend better than anyone else.

“Change is actually really slow — until it is not,” Sheahan said.

He and his team have looked at many different revolutionary changes and discovered that by and large, they evolved very slowly until they took off. He said that is undoubtedly what is going to happen with the next big thing. It’s already out there in the fringes somewhere. Someone has figured it out. At some point, the adoption rate will be tremendous and some companies will be left behind.

Sheahan said a successful leader is someone who can look at what is already going on and get ahead of the curve. It is not necessarily the person who invents the newest thing.

He listed many different examples, including computers, iPads and cell phones. It took someone to take an existing product and turn it into a marketable item that people just couldn’t live without. Tablet computers, he said, were around for years before Apple created the iPad and sold millions of units almost overnight.

“Change is actually really slow — until it is not,” he repeated.

Sheahan said the key to this kind of thinking is to question assumptions. And he said the best time to do that is when your company or product is riding a wave, because there is almost certainly something on the fringe that is going to eventually knock your product from the top rung.

The ChangeLabs executive said one of the keys to creating the right thinking within a company is collaboration. He used Sony as an example of a firm that was perfectly situated to capitalize when the listening of music transitioned from a physical disc to a small machine, such as an MP3 or an iTouch, that could play thousands of hours of music without a disc.

Sony had a great brand. The firm’s researchers had tested the MP3-type technology and knew it would work. They had the licenses for a lot of music and were experts in video technology. But instead of introducing a technologically advanced MP3 player, Sony put its eggs in the mini-disc basket. That was a tremendous miscalculation that cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sony’s chief executive later blamed miscommunication for the company missing that great opportunity. All the pieces were there to produce a great product, but there was no collaboration between divisions — and apparently no leader with the foresight to steer the boat in the right direction.

Sheahan best illustrated his viewpoint with a story about 16-time world chess champion Gary Kasparov, who said his most difficult matches came during his run toward the third title. The first time he won was by introducing a new strategy and being aggressive. The second time competitors had still not caught up with his genius and he won with more of the same strategy.

By the third year, Kasparov knew he had to not only create a new strategy but also unlearn his own strategy. And most importantly, when things weren’t going well, he had to trust his intellect and stay true to his new course. He did so and came out on top once again.

Sheahan calls the desire to abandon new ideas and stick with what got you there the “gravity of success.” He believes this “visceral pull to go back” to previous successes prevents many companies from seeing trends and changing with the times.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines