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Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy … recording this commentary at the third annual Organic Produce Summit, an event that only seems to grow in stature and enthusiasm and attendance. It is quite remarkable - I’ve had presenter roles at all three, and it is a testament to the founders and the vitality of the category.

Perhaps it should not be a surprise that one of the sessions I moderated - featuring studies from Nielsen and the Hartman Group - ended up focusing on the power of storytelling, and why it is important for organic growers and retailers to do a better job educating and illuminating their customers, which inevitably, I believe, would result in greater engagement and higher sales.

I think it is fair to suggest that a vast number of mainstream customers, though they may have access to enormous amounts of information, may be more misinformed than ever. Quantity of information is not quality of information, and both growers and retailers should take it as their common mission to convert confusion into clarity.

By doing so, food businesses can provide not just transparency, but context. And that’s important - certainly in the organic produce category, but also, I think, elsewhere in the store.

Another session I moderated focused on e-commerce, with Tony Stallone of Peapod and Don Barnett, COO of healthy meal kit company Sun Basket, talking about their business models and the changing consumer. We also had Dan Bourgault, Head of Brand Partnerships at Instacart, on the panel … and while I appreciated the fact that he was willing to be on stage with someone who has been so critical of his company, I must also say that he didn’t do anything to persuade me that I’m wrong.

I get that the Instacart model is good for Instacart, but I still don’t thing it is a long-term play for most retailers. At one point in our conversations, Dan mentioned that while retailers would never allow themselves to have a store in a shopping center with four direct competitors, that is precisely what Instacart persuades them to do in a digital environment. Someone needs to explain to me why that’s a good idea.

Finally, the Organic Produce Summit had a terrific keynote speaker in Dan Buettner, the author and journalist who has focused on discovering Blue Zones, which he defines as places where people enjoy healthful longevity. There are a lot of factors at play in why, but diet certainly is important … and the consumption of fresh, organic produce is seen as critical.

Now that’s what I call a narrative. It is a great story, and is one of the reasons that the Organic Produce Summit seems to be enjoying enormous success.

That’s what is on my mind this morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

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