Whether you refer to them as Eastern veg, dry veg, truck veg, or simply your staple veg produce items, bell peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, hard squash, eggplant, green beans, and hot peppers are most likely core products for your produce aisle—anytime of the year. Steady, year-round demand for these items does not always mean keeping them on the shelves is routine. In fact, keeping these dry veg produce items in stock can be downright challenging if you don’t have the right resources. Highly nomadic, these dry veg crops are grown in nearly every state in the country and will move north and south as the seasons change. Because growing regions shift regularly—and sometimes suddenly due to weather—there can be transition periods when one region is done producing, but the next isn’t ready to harvest yet. Earlier this year, many pepper growers in the Southeast had to end their season early due to unbeatable heat, yet growers in Illinois and Michigan hadn’t started producing. And when that happens, supply issues often arise. Or you may have a grower who only grows green beans and cucumbers, but you need green beans and eggplant. Often, you’ll need to work with multiple growers, sometimes across multiple regions hundreds of miles apart, which can quickly become a logistical nightmare. So, while from a shopper’s perspective these items are routine, behind the scenes requires an end to end supply chain solution to keep your shelves stocked. At a minimum, your dry veg vendor should have these six capabilities.
- 52-week supply of all 7 types of vegetables. Be sure that their supply is from both the East and West coast to help manage your risk of potentially poor weather conditions.
- National, regional, and local reach. Having the ability to work with growers directly is critical when supply gets tight, but be sure your vendor also knows how to secure the volume you need even at the national level.
- Specialty and value added packs. Adding convenience for your shoppers with specialty packaging can make a difference at the register.
- Multiple repacking options. Don’t get stuck with a repackaging option that isn’t ideal for your needs. Multiple options means you can find the one that works best for you.
- Consolidation service. Consolidation brings different items together in one place to help get complete fill rates on your orders.
- Logistics solutions. Finding a vendor who can source your product is good, but only if they can get it to you on time and in the freshest possible condition.