In the era of global digital business, the European fruit and vegetable sector is embracing social media as a resource of limitless connections. Now moving away from its infancy, social media has emerged as an essential economic tool to connect businesses to other stakeholders, to their consumers and to new information. Freshfel Europe endorses the European fruit and vegetable sector’s shift to optimising social media to build commercial partnerships and to connect to consumers and new opportunities.
Digital infrastructure, ranging from reliable internet connections on farms to electronic authentication methods, has evolved to become essential to the European fruit and vegetable sector’s ability to provide high quality, safe, sustainable and delicious products with high added value for consumers. In this digital age, social media has emerged as key to providing and maintaining local to global connections in the sector.
Open to both private individuals and businesses, social media is an inclusive digital platform for open dialogue. Social media as a digital service connects businesses with other businesses across the globe and acts as a space for commercial promotion and information gathering on consumer demands, facilitating highly informed commercial decision-making. As part of the growing digital economy, consumers additionally benefit from this space as an extensive and valuable information resource on the fruit and vegetable sector, not only on fruit and vegetable product availability, quality and production but also on the sector’s vital role in healthy and sustainable lifestyles. Furthermore, while social media already hosts a variety of innovative digital marketplaces, in the future, social media may play an increasingly significant role in digital retail, where online business-to-consumer relationships in the sector will be enhanced.
Freshfel Europe is contributing to the European fruit and vegetable sector’s presence on social media through the campaign #FruitVeg4You. Launched in March 2017, the social media campaign is a joint commitment with Copa-Cogeca to the European Commission’s EU Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. The objective of #FruitVeg4You is to raise awareness amongst consumers of all ages across the EU of the importance of a healthy and balanced diet through fruit and vegetable consumption, by sharing fruit and vegetable information, recipes and ideas.
In the European policy arena the Digital Single Market, which encompasses social media, has taken centre stage. Among its many strategic priorities, such as investing in network technologies, advancing digital science and infrastructure and improving connectivity and access, the European Commission is focusing on boosting EU digital industry. Here, regulation of digitalisation to provide an effective policy framework for the digital economy, which may also operate as an enabling regulatory environment, is essential.
Freshfel is working towards increased understanding of the sector’s adoption of social media. Social media will form part of discussions at Freshfel’s 2018 Annual General Meeting, taking place jointly with the German Fruit Trade Association (DFHV) in Hamburg in June. The Annual General Meeting will focus on the challenge of changing consumer purchasing habits as a result of the digital economy and the implications for the European fruit and vegetable supply chain.
Note to the Editors:
Freshfel Europe is the European Fresh Produce Association, representing the interests of the fresh fruit and vegetables supply chain in Europe and beyond. Freshfel Europe currently has over 200 members, including both companies and associations. For more information, contact the association at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the association website www.freshfel.org.