Continuity is crucial

I often refer to the ‘Big Five’ of fresh produce marketing: supply, demand, quality, continuity and communication. This week I want to focus on continuity.

- Advertisement -

In its simplest form, continuity means having your fresh produce on the market floor through thick and thin. It means placing it in front of the buyer regardless of circumstances. Look at any successful producer and you’ll see that one of the reasons for success is that the product is on hand at all times. I can hear the groans from some readers. “But what about the weather, disease and pests?” they ask. “I’m a small grower,” is another favourite. These factors do play a role, and even the big producers have to contend with them. Many of these growers have the option of more land to spread the risk, but it’s not always so simple.


A grower cannot do much about the weather – unless the crop is under cover – but diseases and pests can be tackled through good management and planning. There’s a wide range of sprays to combat diseases and pests, while many new varieties offer inbuilt resistance to certain diseases. Growing the correct variety for the time of year as well as the specific circumstances on the farm can also help to achieve a marketable crop.

Continuity offers real benefits to a producer wanting to establish his brand on a market. In general, buyers get to know a brand, develop trust in it, and then buy it repeatedly. This brand loyalty becomes vital to a producer when the market is over-supplied and prices are down.

Buyers have choice, and bargain-hunting is the name of the game. But when a buyer trusts a brand, he or she will tend to buy it even if there is an over-supply of the product. The price might be down at that moment but at least the buyer is moving your product.

- Advertisement -

Swopping allegiance
By contrast, if your product is unavailable, the buyer is likely to go elsewhere, and might even end up with another market agent, enticed by an attractive deal. And you can be sure that market agent will do all he can to retain the buyer’s business.
There’s another danger: if you are an unreliable supplier, your market agent might switch allegiance at your expense.

Contact Mike Cordes at [email protected]. Please state ‘Market floor’ in the subject line of your email.