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Veggie-Starved Nation

Despite high-profile chefs and food writers putting produce in the limelight, fruit and vegetable consumption levels were down 6 percent during the past five years, according to the National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance.

Rather being part of the problem, grocerants can be part of the solution. The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBHF) has an action plan for increasing produce consumption, and supermarkets play a big part.

“Supermarkets and other retailers offer an unprecedented opportunity to increase consumers’ access to convenient fruit and vegetables, and to provide them with the knowledge and skills they need to increase their purchases and consumption,” notes the PBHF’s action plan.

To increase produce visibility, take a page from fast casual restaurant settings, where veggie-centric concepts and dishes are proliferating. Tony Rosenfeld, co-founder of b.good, a Boston area fast casual chain where kale and butternut squash get equal billing with burgers, notes: “One of the first things customers see when they enter a b.good is a row of head shots of the farmers and artisans who raise/make the beef, local produce, ice cream and milk for that specific store.”

In addition, most b.good stores have large chalkboards listing what’s local in the store that day, because the concept is built around “telling real food stories.”

Grocerant-Ready Ideas:

  • Grocerant signs showcasing local suppliers and growers
  • Bundling cooked dishes with fresh, speed-scratch veggie sides and recipes
  • Featuring a “vegetable butcher” next to your prepared food section
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