Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021 - 48

Produce

BRANDED
product
FRESH PRODUCE IS NOT TYPICALLY ONE OF THE FIRST FOOD
categories that come to mind when the topic of branding is brought up.
But more and more retailers and their supplier partners are seeing
the value of branded product -particularly with the rise of online
sales of fresh foods, where consumers can't see, touch and smell what
they're buying and need to rely instead on other criteria of quality and
dependability that successful brands can deliver.
In January, Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Robinson Fresh, a division of
logistics giant C.H. Robinson, announced that it was beginning to ship
fresh produce under its own brand name.
Michael Castagnetto, Robinson Fresh's president, said the company
felt that it was important to enhance the consistency and focus of
its brand and to gain recognition for the scale in which it engages
customers in the food industry.
" This brand is to help Robinson Fresh tell our story, and we
certainly do that through our customers and through the packaging, "
Castagnetto said. " Our customers have reacted positively to the change
and have even said this is a very natural evolution. "
It's much easier, he added, for Robinson's retail and other industry
partners to tell a story focused on freshness and quality, and to provide
the consumer with that healthy product mix, if those efforts center on
one brand across all products.
48 - APRIL 2021

" We believe our brand will help our customers tell a strong story to
their consumers, and we think it will connect with people's desire to
have healthy lifestyles and to consume fresh produce more and more,
especially in light of the pandemic, " he said.
And speaking of the pandemic, with more and more people buying
their food - even produce and other fresh perimeter items - online,
having a consistent brand is going to be much more important for
suppliers' retail partners, Castagnetto said. Robinson has done extensive
research on online shopping and omnichannel in general, and the
results clearly validate that opinion.
" Consumers crave brands they can trust, especially when they can't
touch and feel the product in their hands when purchasing online, "
Castagnetto said. " Having brand consistency and the ability to tell your
story correctly is more important than ever as consumer buying habits
shift, not only in store but also to an online platform, where you need to
be able to tell your story quickly and effectively. "
The initial product rollout in the Robinson-branded lineup is focused
on greens and dry vegetables like peppers, cucumbers and chiles.
As the year progresses, the plan, Castagnetto said, is to add tropicals,
melons, corn and other commodities as they come into season.
" Once we're in market, we'll work with our customers as we always
have to make sure they have the point of purchase and online materials

supermarketperimeter.com

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BY ANDY NELSON


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Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021

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