With the start of each year, resolutions are made. And while New Year’s resolutions are typically personal – exercising more, creating and sticking to a budget, or spending more time with family – business resolutions can also be a great way to begin the year. Now is a great time to determine the milestones that you want to achieve this year – and make a plan to achieve them.

Setting business goals for an entire year can seem like a daunting task. And, once a goal is set, where do you even begin? For those of you in the fresh food industry, the Zest team has you covered.

Looking at the industry overall, we know that 2018 will be a year of tremendous change. Increased competition in a crowded marketplace (e.g. Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods), new trucking regulations that will drive up transportation costs, continued food safety issues for growers and retailers, and new delivery models that reflect changing consumer buying habits are just a few of the changes that growers, manufacturers, restaurants and retail grocers need to navigate while growing their businesses this year.

Change Brings Challenges and Opportunities – Three Resolutions

According to the Produce Marketing Institute, consumers remain committed to fresh foods, with 75% stating produce is the most important consideration in determining where to shop, followed by fresh meat, poultry and seafood at 60%. This represents an opportunity for competitive differentiation by ensuring freshness, quality and safety to attract and retain customers. This can be achieved by focusing on the entire post-harvest fresh food supply chain.

If you are a grower, manufacturer, restaurateur or retail grocer, you need to start the year fresh with three clear resolutions to make 2018 a banner year for your business:

  1. Set a waste reduction goal and implement a plan to achieve it so you can start saving money now.
  2. Achieve true transparency in your supply chain and develop a strategy for blockchain for freshness and safety.
  3. Establish a freshness metric for your cold chain.

These goals are intimately tied to profitability and creating brand value, which is what will help you emerge from 2018 stronger than you went in.

There’s a common theme that spans these goals: being proactive. To remain competitive, every member of the supply chain must move from being reactive when it comes to their product to proactively managing it – and today’s technology enables this. The year ahead is going to be one of major industry evolution; simply tweaking your business strategy here and there won’t cut it. You’ll need to start drastically reimagining your business to achieve the necessary results that will ensure ongoing business success and growth—and starting with the three goals outlined above will set you on the right path to accomplish that.

In the coming months, we’ll be covering these topics in more depth.  On February 22nd, our CEO, Peter Mehring, will discuss these topics on a Progressive Grocer webinar.  You can register for the webinar by clicking here.