Capturing Shoppers’ Appetites with Produce Sampling Demonstrations

Capturing Shoppers’ Appetites with Produce Sampling Demonstrations

February 5, 2014

Brittany Wilmes
Program Coordinator, Pear Bureau Northwest

Much like parents encourage their children to take just one bite of that new food on the dinner plate, sampling demonstrations offer shoppers the chance to expand their palates with a taste of a fresh produce item or a prepared dish. That opportunity often turns a skeptic into a believer. By offering an in-store taste to shoppers, retailers can seize imagination and see new category growth.

Demonstrations inspire shoppers.

Sampling demos can introduce consumers to a product’s versatility, seasonality, and availability. For example, ten varieties of USA Pears are available in the retail marketplace, and yet most consumers only know one or two common varieties. Sampling inspires shoppers to try a new product, and when it’s prepared and presented well, they’ll add it to the shopping cart. 

Demonstrations create an opportunity to educate shoppers. Maybe your company’s fruit sales haven’t reached their full potential because shoppers don’t know how to select ripe pears or avocados. Consumers can learn straight from the demonstration facilitator how to select and handle the product for the best eating experience, encouraging repeat sales. Companies including Pear Bureau Northwest provide custom demonstration materials for facilitators, whether your team hires a third-party company or keeps it in-house, to help them communicate clear and correct messages to shoppers.

Demonstrations increase sales.

Sampling demonstrations produce sales increases…sometimes doubling or even tripling average daily sales for the product being sampled. Whether the product offered is being sliced and served or featured in a recipe alongside other commonly purchased products, sampling allows retailers to highlight products and encourage impulse purchases. Pears are one of many items often purchased on impulse, and an introduction by way of a sweet and juicy sample can convert a finicky shopper into an aficionado.

Demonstrations create content.

Department staff and dietitians both benefit from syncing their efforts to promote sampling demonstrations. Even when the buying staff plans and facilitates demonstrations, you can use your presence to publicize the featured product, highlight its unique nutritional benefits, and encourage consumers to think outside the grocery store aisles. 

Retail dietitians have an array of platforms to amplify store messaging, including social media, in-house publications, and personal presence. Shoppers may purchase products after sampling them and still need advice about bringing the product from cart to table. You can use your passion to inspire shoppers with recipes, serving suggestions, and preparation tips. As the nutrition expert, you can also enlighten your customers on the benefits of the products on display.

Although sampling demonstrations are deemed by some to be a flash-in-the-pan event, their positive effects are not to be overlooked. Bringing culinary inspiration straight into store aisles not only holds the potential to transform shoppers’ habits, but offers you the opportunity to turn an ordinary store event into a retail success story.