Power of Produce: An in-depth look at the produce department through the shoppers’ eyes – Part II

Power of Produce: An in-depth look at the produce department through the shoppers’ eyes – Part II

April 18, 2018
Shari Steinbach
Retail Industry Insights

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

Produce is a key basket builder for supermarkets. As the Food Marketing Institute’s Power of Produce 2017 reports, when a shopper has produce in the basket, the result is an average ring that’s 44% higher. In our second article looking at this report, we’ll review the additional top five findings and discuss how retail dietitians can use the information to assist their retailer with driving sales and traffic in this profit leading department.

6. Organic produce continues double-digit growth and makes up 8 percent of the total category. Core organic buyers want to buy organic as often and for as many items as possible, while occasional shoppers pick and choose based on item, occasion or price.

  • Understand the differences in behavior, attitudes and demographics of your shoppers to create meaningful educational selling tools. 
  • Empower shoppers to enable choices as some consumers feel organic is a first step to eating healthier

7. Value-added produce items help shoppers integrate healthy and convenient solutions across all meal occasions and packaged salads saw strong growth and are well positioned for further growth.  

  • Merchandise and sign the value-added produce section so shoppers can clearly see solutions. For example, healthy snacks (individual diced fruit/veggies), meal starters (stir-fry, soups, stews), great for parties (fruit/veggie trays), etc. 
  • Display vegetable meal starters in the meat department by appropriate items and include chopped and sliced veggies in meal kits to reduce prep time. 
  • Provide simple recipes for creating complete meals with packaged salads, especially during the warm weather months.   

8. More private and national brands are making an appearance in the produce department with 49 percent of fresh, branded produce sales in 2016. Most of the brand preference comes from a general inclination for buying brands, but brands are also seen as being fresher, higher quality and more consistent. 

  • Work with brand produce partners on promotional programming such as Family Meals Month™, back-to-school, or tailgating solutions. Partner with branded products throughout the store to show how produce adds healthy attributes to meals – fruit and cereal or yogurt; vegetable meal starters with meat/poultry or seafood; etc.
  • Some branded produce items are partnering with Disney and other kid friendly companies to market healthy produce items to children. Investigate how these products may fit into your wellness programming efforts.

9. Produce consumption is seen as being essential to overall health and seen as managing/preventing specific health conditions. Shoppers link fresh produce consumption to specific benefits, including digestive health, heart health and healthy weight. 

  • Communicate the health benefits of produce and link items to preventing or managing specific disease states. Kroger, for example, offers a Diabetes Care Kit to customers and coupons for healthy foods including produce are sent directly to homes.
  • Work with local physicians to have them promote “produce prescriptions” for better health to their patients and/or provide healthy recipes featuring produce at your pharmacy counters.
  • Only 2% of produce is chosen through digital shopping which represents a big opportunity. Link digital shopping lists to disease states so customers add produce to their shopping list for at home shipment or in-store shopping. 

10. Retailers have opportunity to fine-tune produce variety, elevate the value proposition beyond price and promotions and improve customer service and outreach. 

  • Retail dietitians are positioned as the trusted expert to communicate produce attributes and engage shoppers in the department, on-line and in the community. 

To download your copy of the report, visit: www.fmi.org/store/