Supermarket Perimeter - September 2020 - 51

RAWPIXEL.COM / MCKINSEY - STOCK.ADOBE.COM

FRESH PRODUCE SALES aren't as strong as
they were in the middle of the 2010's, but they're
bouncing back, and the future looks strong.
That's one of the many takeaways of the annual
Power of Produce report, a joint production of
the Arlington, Va.-based FMI - The Food Industry
Association and San Antonio-based 210 Analytics.
Anne-Marie Roerink, 210 Analytics' president,
and Rick Stein, FMI's vice president of fresh foods,
presented the results of the 2020 edition of the
Power of Produce in a July 21 webinar.
The research for this year's report was conducted
before COVID-19 hit, but as Stein said, the
information is still very relevant to the current fresh
produce climate.
The aim of The Power of Produce, Roerink said, is
to find "the why behind the sales numbers." FMI and
210 Analytics surveyed 1,500 shoppers throughout the
country to gauge their fresh produce buying, channel,
consumption, packaging and other preferences.
In the middle of the previous decade, fresh
produce sales growth averaged about 4% annually.
Departments aren't notching those gains now,
Roerink said, but they are in the middle of
something like a mini-comeback. In 2019, sales saw
a 1.2% increase across all channels.
"We have seen better years, but I would definitely
label 2019 as a comeback year, and 2020 looks very
good," she said. "Fruits are seeing pressure from
strong vegetable performance."
Fruit had "a bit of a challenging year," Roerink
said, but fresh vegetable sales had a very strong
year, with dollar sales up 3.5% and volumes and
units sold also up.
FMI and 210 Analytics partner on "Power" reports
throughout the fresh perimeter, but in the case of
produce, Roerink said, the word is particularly apt.
"Fresh produce has an enormous impact on
grocery," she said. "It's the No. 1 reason why people
shop one store over another. It not only generates
big sales, it's also a basket and trip driver."
While produce sales did tick up last year
and are expected to do so again in 2020, fresh
produce departments, like all retail fresh perimeter
departments, have been negatively affected by
growing sales of frozen product, Roerink said.

Keys to future growth
When it comes to growing fresh produce sales at
retail, there's not much to be done in one of the
traditional key areas of growth stimulation: the
number of people who buy them. That's because
99% of those consumers surveyed said they buy
fresh produce.

FRESH BITES

79%

make a plan to buy
their produce, and 55%
list specific items.

43%
of total fresh produce
dollar sales were made
when promotions took
place. (By contrast,
33% of meat sales
were on promoted
items, and just 15%
of deli sales.)

68%
look at what fresh
fruits and vegetables
are on sale at different
stores before deciding
where and what
to purchase

58%
of shoppers said they
expect to buy more
produce and other
fresh items online.
Source: The Power of Produce

supermarketperimeter.com

The area where real improvement can be made,
Roerink said, is in frequency of purchase and how big
their baskets are.
"There's a lot of growth in getting people to try
items they haven't bought before," she said. "That's a
great way grow penetration."
Trips to the produce department have been ticking
up in recent years, but there's been little pressure on
spend per buyer, Roerink said.
Produce is still "very unique," Roerink said, in that
it's still very much a planned purchase for most
consumers. That also creates opportunity, with plenty
of room, she said, for growth in impulse sales.
Sixty-three percent of consumers told FMI and 210
Analytics that their meals are based on routine items
they buy over and over. Giving those routine meals a
little twist with fresh produce, Roerink said, is a great
way to drive growth.
The closer you can bring the meal inspiration to
the actual produce purchase, the better, Roerink said.
Nearly eight in ten consumers (79%) make a plan to
buy their produce, and 55% list specific items.
"Being a part of that pre-trip planning is critical,"
Roerink said.
Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said they buy
fresh produce and then take four or five days to eat
it all. Roerink said there's a huge opportunity to get
people who buy produce once a week or less to add a
trip or two per week.
"Some buy fresh early in the week, then switch to
frozen later in the week," she said.
One way to change that is to better educate
consumers on shelf life so they know which items to
buy that will stay fresh longer.
"Virtually everyone" is trying to eat more fresh
produce, Roerink said. In 2020, snacking is overtaking
dinner and lunch as the biggest opportunity to eat
more produce.
There's also big opportunity in educating
consumers about the carb and protein power of
certain fruits and vegetables. (Squash and cauliflower
replacing traditional grain-based pasta, or beans and
legumes replacing meat, e.g.)

Promote, promote, promote
Forty-three percent of total fresh produce dollar
sales were made when promotions took place, so
merchandising, Roerink said, is "incredibly important."
(By contrast, 33% of meat sales were on promoted
items, and just 15% of deli sales.)
And more than two out of three shoppers (68%)
look at what fresh fruits and vegetables are on sale
at different stores before deciding where and what to
purchase, according to the study.
SEPTEMBER 2020 - 51


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Supermarket Perimeter - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Supermarket Perimeter - September 2020

Supermarket Perimeter - September 2020 - 1
Supermarket Perimeter - September 2020 - 1
Supermarket Perimeter - September 2020 - 2
Supermarket Perimeter - September 2020 - 3
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