The Future is Green: Food Industry Expert Discusses Organic Options

Accomplished writer, food industry expert and CEO of Kevin Coupe arrived at SUNY New Paltz on Nov. 11 energized to discuss the future of the food industry. 

Coupe came to business department professor Dr. Russell Zwanka’s class to share his tips and tricks for success in the business world. 

“If I get halfway through this and you want to talk about something else, just shout it out I want to hear your opinions,” Coupe said.

The overarching theme of Coupe’s lecture was to provide students with the ability to understand the importance of telling a narrative for the companies you work for and how you present yourself. 

“I am constantly focused on the narrative of what I do and write,” Coupe said. “I am constantly trying to give my readers a new perspective, and give them new ways to resonate with the things I discuss.”

This narrative, when applying for a job, should be one that “sells” you as the applicant. Coupe asked the class to think about how they can maintain relevance to a company to increase their chances of being hired.

Through understanding the germane nature of presenting oneself, Coupe transitioned to the equal priority companies must take in presenting their brands and company framework. 

“People like a story,” Coupe said. “People want to be engaged and interested, losing consumer interest is the downfall of any company.” 

As a 1978 newspaper reporter who only made $7,800 a year at the time, Coupe knows firsthand how grabbing the attention of a reader or consumer should be the first priority for anyone looking to succeed in selling what they produce. 

“If you see in a store a nice display of organic, fresh bananas with an aesthetically pleasing background you are more likely to purchase those bananas than the ones that cost the same amount down the street,” Coupe said.

Coupe then began a conversation concerning how organic and freshly-made food is becoming the contemporary new way for the food industry to get ahead.

Companies such as Amazon have created food delivery services like Amazon Fresh and additional online purveyors of organic fresh food such as Purple Carrot and Blue Apron are dominating the industry.

“Purple Carrot is specialized in that it is a vegan meal kit company,” Coupe said. “Whole Foods saw this trend and started selling Purple Carrot meal packs in their physical stores.”

According to Coupe, when food is marketed as healthier and greener, and presented in a contemporary and urban atmosphere, more sales are made and customer loyalty grows. Coupe made reference to the fact that stores such as Whole Foods are unattractive to Millennials because it is too expensive. In turn, they created a new format chain called 365 that is smaller and cheaper. 

Many convenience stores have been emerging as health food havens for people on the go as well as travelers. Well-known and loved convenience stores such as 7-Eleven are stocking their shelves with nutrition bars and healthy snacks such as apples and peanut butter packed slices. 

Coupe’s written works include “Retail Rules! 52 Ways To Achieve Retail Success,” a guidebook for successively competing in the marketing industry, and “The Big Picture,” a book of essential business lessons from popular movies. “The Big Picture” was co-authored with Michael Sansolo.

Popular movie narratives are used in “The Big Picture” to convey and describe the real way business functions and how one can get ahead in such an environment. 

“Companies and people are getting competitive,” Coupe said. “Companies that have done well in the past can’t count on what they have been doing, because other companies are doing newer and better things. This goes for all of you looking for jobs.”