Produce Freshness Outpaces Price Considerations at Retail

June 9, 2015 – CHICAGO, IL – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) released its inaugural report at FMI Connect, The Power of Produce 2015, which explores changes in shoppers’ produce purchasing trends and behaviors at retail. The new study features a fresh insight for the produce retail industry by highlighting the full path to purchase, from mega trends and pre-trip preparation through the actual purchase and consumption, followed by shopper suggestions to improve the produce department. 

Insights include:

In-Store Perspectives   

  • Produce is a planned purchase, but with a great opportunity for impulse —While fruit and vegetables are well-researched list items for many shoppers, 57 percent estimate that they frequently or almost always purchase unplanned items when in-store —making produce a great category to help grow the basket.
  • In-store execution crucial — while price and promotions attract shoppers to the store, once there, they emphasize the need for clear signage, clearly-marked prices, variety, freshness, good organization and product availability. More than 40 percent forego the produce purchase when faced with an out-of-stock item, rather than substituting.
  • Appearance beats price in purchasing decision —for both fruit and vegetables, the top purchase considerations are freshness/quality followed by price — underscoring the importance of providing value versus low prices alone.

Alternative Channel Concepts

  • Alternative channels take some of the fresh produce dollar —50 percent of shoppers will occasionally purchase produce at farmers' markets. They are the primary produce destination for 6 percent of shoppers and the secondary destination among 26 percent.

The Potential Beyond Conventional

  • Value-added grows ahead of conventional —Value-added produce (chopped, sliced, halved, washed, etc.) grew 13 percent over 2014 versus 3 percent for unprepared produce. About half of shoppers purchase value-added produce with some regularity, but 38 percent remain on the sidelines for cost reasons or preferring to cut/wash/prepare produce themselves.
  • Megatrends affect the produce purchase —in a direct comparison, local wins out in a fruit-purchasing scenario where conventional, local and organic are all equally priced. Six-in-10 shoppers encourage their stores to add more organic and local items.
  • Produce snacking and juicing growing meal occasions — Dinner remains the biggest opportunity for vegetables. Snacks and breakfast are the biggest occasions for fruit. The study suggests growth potential in juicing and snacking for both segments – 38 percent of households say they are eating more produce for snacking while 27 percent say they are eating more produce for juicing/smoothies.

The Power of Produce was conducted by 210 Analytics, LLC, sponsored by Yerecic Label and was released at FMI Connect 2015.

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