Supermarket Perimeter - October 2020 - 41

Appealing to kids
"Wiggle room" on shelf life and shrink
The coronavirus has changed demand for packaged product "to some
degree," said Tom Thompson, vice president of strategy for Owatonna,
Minn.-based Revol Greens.
The demand curve was up and down at the beginning of the
pandemic, as grocers were determining how to predict inventory needs,
he said.
As the pandemic progressed, demand patterns begin emerging, with
certain packaged produce categories in particular benefiting.
"The benefit of packaged produce is that when fresh produce is
harvested, packed, and delivered within a 24 hour window, it has an
impact on shelf life and shrink," he said. "With the uncertainty around
demand, we saw a greater shift toward categories such as packaged
salads due to the wiggle room it gave grocers to withstand the ebbs and
flows of demand."
Another effect of the pandemic for Revol: as restaurants shut down
during the pandemic, the company switched more of its business to
grocery.
"Our growing system can make that quick shift from an assortment
standpoint in a matter of two or three weeks," Thompson said.
One of Revol's best packaged salad sellers is its MIGHTY Spring Mix, a
mix of spring mix and spinach.
The company also sells a lot of Romaine Crunch, which is grown in
a controlled environment and packaged on-site so to mitigate some of
the food safety risks that the industry has seen on field-grown romaine
over the past several years, Thompson said.
Even before COVID struck, demand for packaged product was going
up, Thompson said - for a number of reasons.
"The first reason is that in our space, consumers have dozens of
varieties of lettuces and blends to choose from. Packaging is important
to have real estate to convey education around those options."
Another reason, he said, is the protection of the quality of the product
packaged provides. Salad mixes are a heavy assortment category,
and on the bulk side of lettuces, there can be a lot of food waste that
consumers and grocers are looking to shrink. Thus, Thompson said, the
shift toward packaged.

Balancing convenience with sustainability
Before COVID, the packaging conversation focused on sustainably by
reducing plastic use, and Oppy and other companies were seeing a lot
of innovation in that area, Gardner said.
The groundswell of plastic-free options saw growers, marketers
and retailers embracing more paper, corrugate and alternative
biodegradable and compostable packaging options. Oppy, for instance,
launched its KeeWee pack made of bagasse fibers earlier this year.
The pandemic put that on hold to some extent, but Gardner expects
the trend to reassert itself once things get at least closer back to normal.
"While attentive to the preference for plastic currently, we believe that
once the pandemic subsides demand for more sustainable options will
return," Gardner said. "Exploring these alternatives are among the key
focus areas for innovation at Oppy."
While demand for packaged product is going up, so is consumer
demand for responsibly produced packaging. With that in mind, Revol
is working closely with its customers to find sustainable packaging
supermarketperimeter.com

SP_Oct20.indb 41

One huge trend in packaged product, Goldfield said,
is the use of recognizable characters and intellectual
property.
"It's an incredibly effective way of boosting affinity for
and consumption of fresh produce, particularly to kids,"
he said.
Parents are looking for nutritious foods for their
families, and one of their biggest challenges is kids'
resistance to eating more fruits and veggies. Research
has shown, Goldfield said, that favorite characters have
a tremendous influence on acceptance and behavior
among children.
"When kids see favorite characters promoting fruit and
vegetable consumption and healthier eating, they're
more likely to choose fresh fruits and vegetables
themselves."
The direct correlation between popular animated, film
and other appealing characters and positive behavior
can be most beneficial inside the store when these
characters are printed on fresh fruits and vegetables to
help promote a healthier lifestyle, Goldfield added.
Thanks to its ongoing multiyear collaboration with
Disney, Dole has successfully attracted new fresh
produce users, especially young families with kids, by
featuring the latest Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm
characters on and in conjunction with Dole Bananas,
Pineapples, Vegetables, Salads and Berries.
Another trend in packaged produce that Dole is tracking
closely is on-package nutrition information and product
and ingredient photography.
"Consumers today take a much more active role in
their health and nutrition than in the past," Goldfield
said. "Dole actively promotes the latest findings in fruit
and vegetable nutrition research on our websites, social
media pages, through recipes and in PR and blogger
outreach programs. From these marketing efforts,
many shoppers are already educated before they even
reach the produce section, and we also extend our
health and nutrition messaging onto product packaging
whenever possible."
In 2009, Dole began displaying illustrations of the
ingredients in its salad kits directly on the packaging,
and it proved to be remarkably effective at boosting
sales, Goldfield said. The illustrations showcase the
fresh, on-trend, nutrient-packed ingredients that, he
added, differentiate Dole's kits from the competition.
OCTOBER 2020 - 41

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