Providing a grocery store with assurance that cantaloupes they purchased met their brand standard and were fit for sale
A large national grocery chain was increasingly concerned that the fresh fruits and vegetables they purchased might contain biological contaminants that could infect their customers. Their brand could then be in jeopardy. A large U.S cantaloupe distributor was asked by the grocery chain’s management for assurance that their cantaloupes were free of biological contamination upon delivery. The distributor requested assistance from our client, a major global chemical company.
At the time, our clcient was providing only a small portion of the crop protection chemicals to the growers who contracted with this distributor, but they were intrigued by the potential issues and possible solutions that could lead to a new business. A value-adding chain analysis of the growing, picking, and distribution process identified several potential causes of contamination throughout the entire process. These included potential sources at the the grocery chain’s stores where employees handled the product in an unsanitary way.
Our client provided the distributor with a new process to be utilized by their growers. When that process was followed, our client certified that the cantaloupes shipped to the grocery stores were free of biological contaminants. The new procedure included special handling practices for store employees. The solution had a series of contamination prevention and elimination activities at the various steps in the value adding chain from farm to store. Our client’s most significant contributions to this process had little to do with their historic role providing crop protection chemicals in the field. Instead, as a result of careful documentation of the as is process, the solution included a total change in the handling, treatment, and packaging of the cantaloupes after they were picked.
The revised process was accepted by both the distributor and the grocery chain. However, at the time, our client was not willing to incorporate the new offering in their portfolio, accepting instead a larger position in crop protection chemical sales and assisting other service companies in commercializing the process.