Vision Magazine - October/November 2023


supportive, and she under- stands the importance of giv- ing back. The association aims to address numerous pressing issues in today’s challenging environment. Consumption and sustainability are at the top of my list. DEI [Diversity, Equity and Inclusion] is also a major focus. I’m proud to say that almost 50% of our board will be female. Global advocacy is another key area, especially given the diverse governmental land- scapes worldwide. And innova- tion is also crucial. Our conven- tion in October will feature a segment focused on exploring available innovative solutions and our vision for the future. Where do you see Oppy in the next decade, especially in the context of a rapidly changing landscape for the fresh produce industry? We’ve been in business for 165 years, and we’ve really been able to figure out how to adapt

returns. What set Total Produce apart was their long-term vision and their culture, which is closely aligned with ours. They saw an opportunity to expand into North America through a collaboration with us. After several years of discussions, we forged a partnership, and that gave us opportunities to liaise with their European operations and get some synergies together there. This collaboration set the stage for Total Produce’s merger with Dole. This move put us in the position where we’re the largest produce company in the world. As partners, we’ve found lots of areas of collaboration, allowing us to leverage each other’s strengths and resources. Looking at the future sus- tainability of Oppy, we’re now aligned with some of the largest and longest-serving compa- nies in the world that are in our industry — not other industries where they come in and try to figure out how to run your in - dustry but have no clue.

There’s a perception that produce is expensive, but in actual fact it’s not.

What are some of the ways in which Oppy is innovating? Our innovation department is constantly exploring cutting-edge agricultural technologies. We collaborate closely with our growers, recommending new techniques and sharing advancements. A significant portion of our innovation is dedicated to developing new varieties, from grapes to citrus and even kiwis. Our marketing team actively partners with various media outlets and events to ensure our products aren’t just sold to retailers but are also promoted effectively. We emphasize the health benefits and unique taste profiles of our products, likening them to the nuances you might discuss in a wine tasting. We’re also delving into innovative farming techniques. For instance, we’re experimenting with covered agri- culture that allows lettuce to be grown using 95% less

to various challenges. We’re always nimble and always looking at new ideas, product varieties and new innova- tive ways for how to grow product. Our plan for the next five years is to grow the business by over 25%. But it’s going to be a challenge, especially with the current geo- political situations that are getting in the way of a lot of things. And that’s where the association comes in to assist industry members in navigating these events. Could you delve a bit deeper into Oppy’s partnership with Total Produce and Dole plc, and how these ties will affect Oppy’s future? We first got involved with Total Produce in 2013. Both companies had 150 years of service in the produce indus- try. Over the years, lots of different private equity compa - nies talked to me, but private equity wants five years of big

Vision Magazine 51

October/November 2023

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