Does quality in CEA matter? If so, prove it

Does quality in CEA matter? If so, prove it

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. We all know brands with products and services that represent quality. But have you ever been the person responsible for selling quality? For earning the premium price associated with producing quality products?  

Since my first job in 1996, every company I worked for, represented or owned believed they had the highest quality product in their market or class. However, I now realize that believing you have the best (even if it is true) does not mean you can convince your customer or that your customer values quality in the same way.

What does quality mean?

Dictionary definition: The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something.

Other definitions often depend on what quality represents. If you talk about a product, quality normally represents specific features. If you talk about a service, quality normally represents something that consistently meets customers’ needs. If you talk about a process, quality represents the ability to always meet specifications.

What is the problem with selling quality?

The issue with quality is that it is often subjective and based on feelings or marketing. Seldom is quality determined by objective facts. Personally, I consider quality as something that demonstrates reliability. In other words, quality is a function of performance measured over time.

Selling quality in controlled environment agriculture (CEA)

In today’s world of commercial horticulture, I struggle with the term “quality.” It seems everyone has best-in-class products and the highest quality. The situation is comical.  

Let’s break down two scenarios to determine how quality is defined. The first one focuses on consumer purchasing habits and the second on business purchasing habits and decisions.

In 2023 I challenged one of my valued vendors to define why their new product was of higher quality than their competitors. The conversation did not go well.

First, let’s look at fresh produce sales and use greenhouse tomatoes as an example. Over the past few months, numerous articles have highlighted the competitive nature of the European greenhouse grown tomato industry.  

Continue reading.

Image by drobotdean on Freepik



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