A Q&A with Natalie Shuman, Director of Shopper Marketing
According to your website, Apeel Sciences “works with nature.” Can you explain what this means?
SHUMAN: By using technology rooted in nature, Apeel is making sustainable solutions to lengthen the shelf life of fresh produce, reduce global food waste and meet a growing population’s food demands around the world. Made of materials found in every bite of fruit, Apeel creates an edible “peel” on the outside surface of fresh produce that retains moisture and resists oxidation, helping to slow down spoilage.
Apeel is a plant-based solution that has been able to demonstrate that it can double the shelf-life of produce, creating value throughout the entire supply chain. For retailers this means less shrink, increased sales and enhanced shopper satisfaction. With many shoppers choosing their retail destination based upon the quality of the produce department, this can also equate to preference and loyalty. And for those who are looking to align their purchases with their personal values, minimizing wasted food and climate change can be as simple as choosing their favorite produce items with Apeel.
How does your company plan to use its P2PI membership resources?
SHUMAN: As shopping preferences continue to accelerate toward omnichannel, the potential benefits that two-times longer-lasting produce can bring to online shopping and future brick-and-mortar retail are many. So we are utilizing the P2PI membership to inform our strategy for today and define the role we can play in the future of the online and offline produce department. The virtual events such as the Retail Intel and Learning Lab webinars have been key to keeping a pulse on the changing retail landscape.
How is your company’s work affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how are you addressing it as an organization?
SHUMAN: COVID-19 has caused major disruptions in the fresh food supply chain, leading to a rise in food waste and economic losses for food businesses around the world. Our solution has been in high demand as it increases the resilience of fresh food by enabling resilient produce and operational flexibility. When farmers, retailers and consumers have more time with fresh produce, it means food businesses can be more flexible with their changing operations and cut down on waste at every stage of the supply chain. Also, as consumer food buying behaviors shift toward products with stock-up value for the home, Apeel produce can be an ideal choice. COVID-19 hasn’t changed Apeel’s business. It’s accelerating it, and we’re now on the fast-track to meet demand for longer-lasting fresh food.
What are your predictions for the future of marketing, and how will your company navigate that future?
SHUMAN: More suppliers, retailers and consumers are recognizing the importance of adopting and supporting more sustainable innovations throughout the food system. Marketing efforts can accelerate this transformation. Our business model will continue to enable grocers to reduce losses and increase their bottom line, since fruits and vegetables will no longer just spoil on store shelves before consumers have a chance to purchase and enjoy.
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