consumers were not excited about. And now we’re seeing a very immature industry of premium eating experience blueberries. This is disrupting the old commoditized, ma- ture industry. I’m excited for consumers around the world during the next year or two to really see how consistent of an eating experience we can deliver, which we believe will motivate people to consume more and eventually view our berries as a standalone snack or dessert. The snack category is enormous, and I really enjoy watching my kids snack on healthy superfruit versus sugar-based snacks. What effect do you see the higher interest rates having on the agricultural industry during the next few years? We know that food is relatively stable, and we know that our industry is a safe haven in times like this. In reces- sionary times, it’s known as a defensive industry, the ag industry. We have a significant base of real assets that we own. We weathered Covid, and I think that was very difficult, particularly for a high-growth company like ours. That all being said, rates will be rising, and rising rates and the recession will be hard on the industry. We
expect to see fewer entrants and many stranded assets. We also expect this to accelerate the path to consolidation. This will result in fewer winners, but it will accelerate the materialization of that long-term trend. Do you see continued interest from private equity in the produce industry in the future? We do, we believe that private equity will proceed very cautiously. We still see private equity as one of the few funding sources that understand the multidimensional dynamics and depths of our industry. Many are at a disad- vantage from the standpoint of their investment horizon mandates given the time it takes to build these businesses correctly and the way capital must be deployed. However, we think there have been a lot of lessons learned, and that private equity firms are more cautious and smarter than ever. The smartest private equity players will ultimately be very good for the industry because they will take a very long-term outlook, because they know that’s the right way to approach this industry. And that will ultimately raise the tide to lift all boats, grow consumption and ultimately expand the industry.
A 1000-hectare plot of Agrovision’s blueberry plantations in northern Peru
Vision Magazine 45
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