Looking Back, Looking Ahead

It’s fitting that the one-year anniversary is “the paper anniversary” – at least fitting for a magazine. This month’s issue represents the 12th issue of Fresh Cut published by Great American Publishing. It’s been an interesting year for me and the rest of the staff at Fresh Cut.

We had a bit of learning to do as we ventured into this new and exciting category of the produce industry. Finding out what makes an industry tick can be a monumental task, but everyone in the industry has been extremely helpful. I especially want to thank my editorial advisory board, which served as a great resource for me as I got my feet wet. Everyone on the board has given me story ideas and feedback on stories others have submitted. I appreciate all the help they’ve given me.

I also want to thank all of the people I called upon for feature stories. All of our featured companies were extremely helpful – and I’ve learned so much just by being invited into processors’ facilities and participating in industry tours.

The best part of the last year has been watching what’s going on in the industry. It kind of reminds me of the last time I bought a car. I hadn’t really seen any Chevy Cavaliers on the road – until I bought mine. Then, they were everywhere I looked. The same is kind of true with fresh-cut produce. I guess I had somewhat taken for granted that there would be fresh-cut salads in the grocery store. But when I took over as editor for Fresh Cut magazine, I started noticing a whole new exciting world in the produce aisle.

There were shredded carrots and broccoli/cauliflower medleys. There were different kinds of salad green mixes – I’ve grown particularly fond of spring mixes. From different steam-in mixed vegetable packs to open-and-serve snacks, the fresh-cut industry is a lot bigger than it once seemed from behind my grocery cart. It seems that every week last year there was a new fresh-cut item in the produce aisle.

Fresh-cut produce is giving us increasingly busy consumers a new way to think about dinner. It doesn’t have to be another chore on a daily to-do list. It can be something that’s quick, easy and, most importantly, healthful.

In the last year, I’ve seen a lot of new products come into the market, too. And I see the industry headed down a new path – that of whole-meal replacements. I think it’s brilliant to combine fresh-cut produce with pre-cooked meats and different varieties of cheese. There is a lot more room for cross-merchandising. As I talk to industry members about their plans for the future, many of them talk about venturing into that new area. However, I must admit, none of them want to reveal their exact strategies – just yet.

I’m excited to watch where this industry is headed. Each day is more exciting than the last, and I’m continuing to learn. Let us know how we’re doing so far – and what you’d like to see in the future. Take our survey at www.freshcut.com/pages/survey.php. And, as always, I’d love to hear directly from you. E-mail me at [email protected]

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