PoP 2024 CoverTAMPA, FLA. – Today, for the sixth year in a row, FMI- The Food Industry Association releases the Power of Produce 2024 report at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure conference. The report finds consumers want to incorporate produce into more meal occasions, reduce produce food waste and learn more about the nutritional value of fresh foods, identifying opportunities for growth within this fresh retail department.

"Overall, the produce department performance has been solid, but we are seeing consumers being more deliberate in their produce purchases to avoid food waste," said Rick Stein, vice president of fresh foods at FMI. "Food retailers and suppliers need to focus on helping shoppers with meal ideation and emphasizing the nutrition benefits of fruits and vegetables.”

Create Enticing Meal Occasions

Fresh fruit and vegetable consumption has dropped to a seven-year low across all meal occasions, presenting an opportunity to increase sales by focusing on boosting consumption frequency. Critical areas for growth include offering shoppers ideas for vegetable and fruit snacking, incorporating vegetables at breakfast, and healthy desserts. For example, 51% of produce shoppers desire tips on innovative ways to incorporate fresh fruit and vegetable snacking.

Educate About Nutritional Benefits of Produce

Meeting customers in-store or online with nutrition education is a prime strategy to increase produce consumption. Many consumers associate fresh produce with nutrition and health, leading to higher consumption across various meal occasions when healthy eating is the focus. The report finds that retailers have an opportunity to emphasize health benefits, offer guidance on portion sizes and provide practical tips for seamlessly integrating fresh produce into all meal occasions.

Address Shoppers’ Concerns about Food Waste

Six in 10 Americans express that fresh produce waste at home is a financial challenge they cannot afford and 51% of shoppers reduce produce purchases to avoid spoilage. Food retailers can be transparent about efforts to reduce food waste from farm to table by highlighting shelf-life programs, community donation initiatives, providing storage advice, offering portion options, and integrating considerations of functionality and environmental impact into packaging decisions.

“Price has not been the predominant driver of purchases in recent years, but rather appearance and ripeness. Now, price is back in play,” Stein continues. “Food retailers have the opportunity to educate shoppers on their food waste reduction programs and offer waste reduction tips that allow shoppers to fully benefit from their produce purchases.”

The Power of Produce 2024 is authored by 210 Analytics and made possible by Yerecic Label and Southeast Produce Council.  

For Media:

Media may contact FMI for a complimentary copy of the full Power of Produce 2024.