Episode 193: Kelly Bristow and Jenny Maloney
The UN declared 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables. With this declaration, the UN gifted Bayer with an invitation to raise awareness to the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption and the role it plays in human nutrition, food security, and health. Bayer wanted to take the year as a lens and bring together the important steps across the value chain all the way from seed to ultimately what ends up on consumer’s plates. To help increase awareness, consumption, and even enhance flavor of fruits and vegetables.
Kelly Bristow is the Science and Nutrition Partnerships Manager at Bayer and mom to two young kids. She meets with outside organizations and stakeholders to bring together influential people to think globally about how we can impact fruit and vegetable consumption. Jenny Maloney is the Strategic Account Manager for the Americas for Bayer Vegetable Seeds all while being mom to three young girls. Jenny and Kelly, along with Lori, put together a virtual event called Beyond Farm to Table: A Seed’s Journey to Your Plate. Bayer wanted to have a holistic look at the food chain, not only looking at it from a grower or retailer perspective, but also a consumer perspective. Bayer pulled together three leading experts in this space. Lori was there moderating the event. They also had David Bell, CMO at Long Vine Growing Company, Chad Street from the Albertson’s Company, and Jana Parker from IRI Fresh. All of these different perspectives made for such a great, well-rounded, interactive event.
For Kelly, it was so great to get three different people in different parts of the value together and seeing their different perspectives. One really does play off the other. It’s not often you get to see the whole process in one event. It was interesting to Kelly to hear from Jana about what are in shopper’s carts. What produce are shoppers buying and what’s accompanying it. It was great to hear that shoppers are buying an increased amount of produce and some ways to help improve that consumption even more.
For Jenny, it was interesting to hear David Bell talk about the journey of a tomato. Starting with seed selection, propagation, transferring to a grow house after eight weeks, How they’re picked by hand then sorted for quality, and then sold to consumers. The other thing that stuck out was Long Vine Growing Company’s Sustainability Program. One of their facilities is located adjacent to a natural gas power plant. They use energy from that plant to power their own greenhouse. Any water that isn’t used by the pants is recirculated. Over 90% of their water is recycled. They are ultimately aiming to grow with care.
What Chad really highlighted was the thought and precision that goes into the placement of every piece of produce in the store. There’s a whole team behind the scenes that makes it easy to shop for your produce. He was able to shed a lot of light on the behind the scenes work.
Taste, convenience, and price are big motivators for consumers buying produce, but seeing Jana’s data to back this up was really eye-opening for Kelly. We see that people are cooking at home more than ever, but they’re still looking for the convenience factor. Even though people are spending more time at home, they are still looking for their fruits and vegetables to be easy and quick to buy and make at home. It was interesting to see this data through the lens of the pandemic.
This International Year of Fruits and Vegetables really helped Bayer shine a spotlight on the importance of developmental goals and looking at giving greater visibility to small scale growers. They brought more awareness to food security, nutrition, and even looked at scalable production and consumption. Everyone across the entire value chain needs to work together, even as individual consumers, to make a difference and ensure that fruit and vegetable consumption really becomes a part of everyone’s diet, promote healthy habits, and fight against hunger and malnutrition.
You can find the entire event on Seminis YouTube Channel here!
How to get involved
- Join The Produce Moms Group on Facebook and continue the discussion every week!
- Reach out to us – we’d love to hear more about where you are in life and business! Find out more here.
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