While 2020 has been a roller coaster year globally across fresh produce, it has been especially challenging for those leaders in the UK.
The COVID-19 pandemic combined with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has made for a perfect storm that has upended business models, upset supply chains and forced owners and CEOs to rethink their strategies in building toward a new future.
Benjamin Olins, the CEO of fresh-cut specialist Prep World, has lived the disruption first-hand. His business experienced a 50% decline in sales early on before rallying behind some ingenuity for a brilliant finish this December.
CHECK OUT BENJAMIN OLINS’ SESSION FROM THE NEW YORK PRODUCE SHOW AND CONFERENCE BELOW
Olins, whose family has been in the fresh produce world for five generations, has been at Prep World since 2012 and also is the Director of Business Operations and Strategy at BerryWorld. He has seen a lot of changes but none moreso than this year.
“We were hit very hard,” he said during an engaging session at the recent virtual New York Produce Show and Conference. “We saw a rapid decline in our volume. We benefit from having regularity of purchase. Those huge queues at supermarkets were a death knell for us.”
But after a few months, it started to come back and Prep World has experienced a “steady incline” since.
Still, there is more uncertainty looming on the horizon: Both COVID-19 and the potential fallout from Brexit.
Olins suspects that whatever compromise will be reached likely won’t please any of the sides, saying “my suspicion is that a deal will get done but a won’t be a deal that anyone likes.”
Looking back on his career, the past year and ahead to January, Olins offered his thoughts on COVID-19, Brexit, the fresh-cut sector and international trade during that session from the New York Produce Show and Conference.
For more, check out Benjamin’s session above and also go to nyproduceshow.com for other thoughtful insight from the Perishable Pundit’s world of top fresh produce leaders.