Apeel's Jim Smits Shares New Opportunities for Buy-Side Success
SANTA BARBARA, CA - When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, it takes innovative techniques to inspire forward momentum. This is the case for retailers as growing consumer demand for fresh products has been pitted against industry challenges such as rising costs, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions, leaving buyers searching for new ways to satisfy their shoppers. Enter Apeel, using its technology to create new opportunities for buy-side success.
“By extending the lifespan at peak quality to fruits and vegetables, Apeel can offer more time to an industry that has been limited by perishability,” explains Jim Smits, Vice President of Retail Advisory. “Our technology can create new opportunities to improve customer satisfaction, in-store experiences, sustainability, and business logistics that retailers may not have thought possible.”
Recently appointed to his new role at Apeel, Jim has over 40 years of retail experience, including more than two decades in operations and shopper go-to-market strategies. With time spent in senior merchandising roles at companies like Albertsons, H-E-B, and Ahold Delhaize, he understands the movement of the retail market and the continuous innovation it takes to keep consumer needs met while increasing ROI.
With shopper habits in a constant state of evolution, Apeel’s technology will keep retailers aligned with today’s consumer trends as well as their own corporate and financial goals. One of the most important ways the company does this is by boosting consumers’ experience and satisfaction levels when it comes to the selection of fresh produce they are being offered.
“As consumers demand healthy, value-driven, convenient, and sustainable fruits and vegetables, retailers realize that fresh products have never been more important,” says Jim. “Offering high-quality products boosted by Apeel technology that are differentiated, sustainable, ready-to-eat today and days from now, or that offer innovation and value can make a difference in shopper frequency and overall loyalty.”
Sustainability is another important factor in what products shoppers are adding to their baskets. With Apeel’s offerings, retailers can reduce store waste by up to 50 percent, increasing shelf-life and therefore the opportunity for sales. The number of environmentally driven shoppers is growing, and they are willing to spend more on sustainable products. Apeel's plant-based coatings address this trend by giving consumers a way to help reduce waste, conserve resources, and ensure the best possible eating experience.
Additionally, Jim tells me that Apeel is able to use its solutions to boost revenue impact and supply reliability.
“Driving margin improvements, revenue, and market share growth requires improving operations, decreasing costs, and offering differentiated products,” he elaborates. “By using Apeel, our retailers are able to decrease waste and improve in-store operations and distribution centers with longer-lasting produce. They are also able to utilize the company’s global investments to enable new trade routes or new categories that were not accessible to them before, ensuring greater access to commodities.”
Sometimes the only way to make it past an immovable object is by climbing over it, and Apeel is already giving its buy-side partners a boost.