More Fresh Coverage
Progressive Grocer recently caught up with Dorn Wenninger, SVP of produce at Providence, R.I.-based UNFI, to find out how to show off fresh fruits and veggies to their best advantage. The conversation ranged from preferred fixtures and lighting to effective signage to pro tips on arranging produce for maximum appeal to customers.
Progressive Grocer: Why is optimal produce presentation in retail stores important?
Dorn Wenninger: Customers value quality and freshness above all else, and the display in-store is what either delivers against that expectation or leads to disappointment. I’ve always stressed the importance of “space to sales” when it comes to displays. If your display looks great but requires four days of sales for the product, then some of that produce will be four days old by the time it’s sold. Figuring out how to make impactful displays with one day of sales volume is the trick. If the display is too big, it requires culling, which in today’s labor environment is challenging and costly. Great merchandisers utilize pyramids, upside-down RPCs [resusable packaging containers] and other supports to create optics of abundance with the right volume to encourage sufficient turns.
[Read more: "UNFI Expands Wild Harvest Organic Offerings"]
Stores tend to be very sophisticated about their modulars in the center of the store: how many facings, adjacencies, holding capacity and level of the shelf. My best results have been combining that level of discipline and analysis from the center of store and overlaying it onto the complexity of produce. As much as great produce merchandisers are artists, a best-in-class merchandiser combines their expertise with data.
PG: What roles do fixtures and lighting play in optimal produce presentation?
DW: Light is good! Produce is natural. The objective in the produce department is to allow the product itself to be the hero, so we want the shopper to be able to see it.
Fixtures should show off the produce. It’s important to give good lines of sight across the department to show off the colors and freshness. Shoppers should be able to easily pick up and choose the product they want. Investing in modern, refrigerated islands or chilled center-of-department fixtures is well worth it, as it allows for showcasing of refrigerated product beyond just the wet wall.