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Fresh Produce Supply Chain is now more global than ever before

HazelBlog, the official produce waste awareness and fresh produce supply chain blog
Staff, Hazel Technologies
June 3, 2016 4:39 PM CST

The average apple moving through the produce supply chain will travel over 1400 miles to reach its destination, according to recent research on fresh produce supply chain travelling distances to terminal markets.

Produce whether transported by truck, boat, rail, or air, will commonly travel over 1,000 miles

Produce whether transported by truck, boat, rail, or air, will commonly travel over 1,000 miles to its final consumer

This distance, and it should come as no surprise, is not getting any shorter. In fact, it is getting longer, and not only that, it is getting longer faster.

According to a new report from the Packer, ValleyFresh, a leading global fresh produce packer and distributor headquartered in Melbourne, will be opening up a produce supply chain servicing India as well as Saudi Arabia.

ValleyFresh, which was acquired in 2014 by billion dollar corporation FreshMax, also has active operations in Pasadena, California, Peru, and South Africa.

To give an idea of the implications of this new Saudi and Indian supply channel, it is worth noting that the distance between New Zealand, a central growing location for ValleyFresh, and Saudi Arabia, for example, is approximately 15,000 kilometers, or just under 10,000 miles.

To give an idea of this distance, it is nearly 2 New York to Los Angeles round trips, or about a 20+ hour flight journey by air-freight.  

This distance is over 6x what an apple may travel currently in supply chains ending in major terminal produce markets in the United states. This trend belies several important implications:

1) The "local" produce movement as well as the urban farming movement will never scale enough to gain significant market share rivaling global produce supply chains

2) new technologies and practices will continue to be adapted to minimize the transportation cost and maximize the quality of produce travelling increasingly grueling journeys in the global supply chain

3) The average distance traveled by produce in the supply chain will increase at a faster rate, enabled by evolving technologies and increases in supply chain efficiency

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