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Re-FRESH Your Recipes

With the renewed focus on “fresh” among many grocery shoppers—especially in key demographic groups like Hispanics, Millennials and parents of young children—retailers who showcase fresh fruits and veggies in the deli stand to profit.

For example, Nielsen reports that Hispanic shoppers, who typically use a greater percentage of their income for groceries than non-Hispanics, spend $175 more per year on fresh foods at traditional grocery stores than the national average.

Young consumers are also seeking fresher culinary options. “The rate at which young people are switching to fresh foods is accelerating, and will continue to do so over the next five years,” according to the NPD report, "The Future of Eating: Who’s Eating What in 2018." The report projects that Millennials—defined by NPD as the coveted 24- to 37-year-old demographic group—will account for a 7.5 percent increase in fresh food consumption, while Generation Z—those ages 23 and younger—will account for 11.1 percent of fresh food eating occasions.

In addition, families are driving fresh food sales. According to the "Fresh Trends 2015" report from The Packer, parents with kids still at home are more likely to buy fresh produce items than consumers without children at home, and 95 percent of parents surveyed said they serve fresh fruits and vegetables at home.

Fresh tactics

Deli and prepared foods departments present prime opportunities to freshen up inventory and attract shoppers seeking healthy fare. Cross-merchandising is one approach that Tops Friendly Markets, for instance, has used in its deli area.

Tapping into consumers’ increased interest in avocados (they jumped from No. 18 in 2010 to the No.10 spot in 2015 on the list of most popular fruits, "Fresh Trends 2015" reports), the retailer moved a fresh supply of the fruit into the deli area and boosted avocado sales, according to Jeff Cady, director of produce and floral for the chain of 170 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

“We don’t just put some avocados in the chip aisle,” Cady told The Packer. “We have them in front of the deli counter, and other places throughout the store too, because they’re good sliced on turkey sandwiches and things like that.”

Knowing the produce items that your customers prefer, deciding how they tie in with your deli and prepared foods departments, and then cross-merchandising them or adding them to your prepared salads or your prepared foods/salad bar can help build your reputation in the fresh foods area.

Top-selling produce items

According to "Fresh Trends 2015," these fruits and vegetables are among the most popular produce items in the marketplace today:

  • Romaine lettuce (now more popular than iceberg lettuce)

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Blueberries

  • Grapefruit

  • Green beans

  • Lemons

  • Oranges

  • Papayas

  • Pineapple

  • Bananas

  • Apples

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