Front-line Retail Produce Execs Discuss COVID’s Past, Present & Future Impact

Business-as-usual is the way the year started. Then, like that first raindrop signals a storm ahead, the COVID-19 virus swept around the world and into the U.S. in pandemic force. Since March, the produce business, especially at retail, has been unusual. In many ways, the conditions have been driven by state and federal mandates that govern how shoppers buy food.

Yet, resilient retailers are not just hunkering down. Instead, they are striving ahead with the task of observing how buying habits change in crises such as these, applying lessons learned to the immediate seasons ahead, and garnering insights instructive in the long-term to future generations of produce executives.


Mid-March is when shelter-in-place orders kept shoppers and their families home, but supermarkets deemed ‘essential’ remained open, and restaurants were forced to close except for take-out orders, recaps Joe Watson, vice president of membership and engagement for the Eastern USA, for the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), headquartered in Newark, DE.

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