Two round table workshops were convened for representatives from businesses that grow and distribute fresh fruits and vegetables. Participants were from restaurants, supermarkets, fresh-cut processors, wholesale dealers, truckers, packinghouses, and growers. An important comment at the first workshop was that it was the first meeting specifically organized where all the businesses in fresh produce chains had a meeting with the purpose of discussing ways to improve quality and reduce losses. Small groups discussed the topics, then shared with the full group their observations.
The second workshop started with a presentation on viewing postharvest handling as a multitude of chains with each link as one of the businesses which can be modeled as a system. Small groups were formed to develop consensus on the main activities for each link (system) in fresh produce handling chains. One chain was developed for food purchased at grocery stores while a second chain was for food eaten at restaurants. After all the links were presented the full group identified some of the interactions among the links.
One result of the workshop was the visualization of the need for a better understanding of the roles that each link has with other businesses. Interestingly, it was also shown that individuals within a business link need to improve their understanding of their own link. Fresh cut processors were found to have the most interactions with other links because they purchase, arrange transport, and market to both restaurants and grocery stores.