How Fresh Produce has Changed Due to COVID
It’s no secret that the pandemic has fueled massive growth in the fresh produce category, led in large part to more at-home meal preparation among consumers. This, in turn, has helped the industry post record retail numbers close in sales over the past year.
Communication and cross-training were cited as playing an important role in being nimble in the produce department. The number one factor has been communication between all the parties. Early on people were pretty much panicking, and learning how to adjust, such as moving to produce with unfamiliar pack sizes.
Over the past year, the fresh produce category has lost ground to frozen and self-stable produce, and those currently buying frozen produce say they are likely to continue. This means that now more than ever, marketers must find ways to increase the value of fresh.
Recipes with fresh fruit and vegetables as the ingredients are a good example. Take meat, if you’re selling, say ground beef you’ll often see a hamburger — with all the elements that go along with that — in the ad, so how do we find opportunities like that in produce? Providing recipes and inspiring food preparation is a great way to increase sales.
Fifty per cent of all eating occasions fall into the category of snacking, so anything that can be a small, consumable snack size, like grab and go, should help the category.
Produce is brought with all your senses. We, therefore, need to get back to what we were doing before the pandemic, such as presentations, sampling and building up displays. Plus using special signage and packaging to draw attention to the health benefits of items, provides a great way to tell a story and express this message to the consumers.