5 Insights to Increase Retail Fresh Produce Sales
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5 Insights to Increase Retail Fresh Produce Sales

September 26, 2019

The life of an analyst is about utilizing data to paint pictures and create stories in an effort to help change the way traditional retailers and wholesalers think about their business. This means it’s not as easy as saying, “Sell more of this or less of that.” Success to our customers means we help improve their bottom line.

Here are five ways insights can help affect profitability of fresh produce sales.

1. Optimize SKUs

From a grocery perspective, the gateway to the consumer is through the produce section. Produce managers work to understand what their customers want, and how to best service their needs. Having this understanding allows them to group those fresh produce items together to make selections easier.

A prime example of this is guacamole, which is why it’s commonplace to find avocados next to tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers. Produce managers also know that avocados are used in more than just guacamole. Take your displays a step further by positioning avocados near complementary meal items, such as salad or sandwich components, gives shoppers additional ideas about how they might use them.

2. Understand Regional Trends

Knowing if a commodity is over- or under-performing is something every good produce manager knows. However, understanding who the consumer is and why he or she is purchasing a specific product helps take insights to the next level.

For example, tropical fruits are a great example of commodities that follow certain population demographics. Tropicals are growing in popularity nationally, but they are in greater demand in Hispanic based populations that have greater knowledge of tropical fruits and how to incorporate them into daily meals.

3. Leverage Promotional Pricing

Anticipating when the consumer will purchase, combined with product availability, is the key to a successful product flow strategy both during promoted and non-promoted time periods. Most promotional pricing you see in stores is aligned with supply. However, retailers are looking to maximize merchandising opportunities both in and outside of the produce department to drive sales throughout the year to keep the momentum going.

Asparagus is a great promotional choice during Easter, as the holiday generally aligns with peak production in Mexico, and it’s a traditional dish at the holiday table.

As a merchandising opportunity, featuring asparagus in a display next to grill items or in the meat section during the summer. It will help drive purchases as consumers make last minute or impulse decisions to round out their meals.

4. Align Customer Demand with the Right Supply

There are a finite number of days you can sell a perishable product, so aligning consumer demand with the right supply is key. One of the main goals at retail and wholesale is to maintain consistent movement and fresh product quality to minimize shrink and maximize profitability.

When either movement slows or product quality declines, shrink increases and product margin decreases substantially by the end of the day.

The ability to reduce shrink of a given product ties back to regional tastes, knowing your consumers, and aligning them with the right supply at the right time.

5. Link Supply with Demand

Speaking of supply, understanding the commodity side, from quality to fresh produce varieties, is helpful in identifying where there are opportunities on the supply side based on consumer desires. The growth of organics, or commodities such as kale, can only happen if there is enough supply to meet the growing demand.

Final Thoughts

As both an easy and nutritious snack, the yellow mango may very easily fill a consumer’s desire for a convenient and healthy way to make great tasting foods part of their regular diet.

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Gina Garven

Gina Garven - V.P. of Commercial Development & Analytics, Robinson Fresh

Gina Garven’s expertise in the produce industry includes category and consumer insights, financial planning and analysis, delivery of global BI and technology solutions and retail and foodservice business development, with a strong background and passion for developing supply chain solutions that support our customer’s end consumer. In her role of V.P. of commercial development & analytics for Robinson Fresh, she is responsible for strengthening Robinson Fresh’s industry leadership through the creation of best in class category insights and BI solutions that support our customers and the development of our global commercial strategy. Before joining Robinson Fresh in 2009, she held positions in retail that spanned roles in demand planning, supply chain consulting and procurement. She is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in 2003 in Business Management and Communications.

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