15 November 2022

The Calculating Consumer 

Inflation & Fresh Produce: How Are Retailers, Restaurants, And Consumers Responding? 

 Vanguard CEO Craig Stauffer shared his thoughts on the current economic landscape and impact within the produce industry, for the Produce Business October 2022 cover story 

It’s complicated. That’s the only way to describe the U.S. consumer’s current relationship with food and inflation, be it shopping at retail or dining in restaurants. 

The current economic state, while still up for debate under the technical definition of a ‘recession,’ is still very much uncharted territory for the entire world, says Craig Stauffer, chief executive of the Vanguard International Group, headquartered in Issaquah, WA. 

“Sporadic lockdowns, followed by excessive stimulus and rock-bottom interest rates, have created financial circumstances that have never been seen before by economists,” Stauffer explains. “Governments are pressing the brakes on economies through rate hikes, but elevated savings levels from the pre-mentioned lockdowns are creating metaphorical smoke from governments’ screeching tires.” 

This scenario differs from the 2008 recession, Stauffer adds. That was brought on by one major factor — subprime mortgages. What is happening now is the result of complex factors, starting with a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic, a supply chain breakdown and now, rising inflation. 

Read the full article in the October 2022 Produce Business digital magazine reader here.