Keeping up with 2020 lifestyle trends in fresh produce

Keeping up with 2020 lifestyle trends in fresh produce

Once January is in full swing, I like to kick off with some areas I think will be of focus for the year ahead. In my role, I get to spend a lot of my time digging into large sets of data from all sorts of perspectives; what’s ringing through the register, what’s landing on the plate at your local eatery, what fresh produce trends are featured in recipes online, or making the news through various social media channels. I’ve always had a passion for keeping an eye on what is inspiring our shoppers and motivating their purchases. And, as a busy mom, I am always looking for ways to make my shopping experience easier, more inspiring, and faster!

Spotting produce shopping trends

Already in 2020, I’ve seen numerous articles on ways retailers are growing their fresh produce departments, adding more space to items that focus on living a healthy lifestyle, and promoting fresh items that support certain dietary trends and needs. All these topics are quickly gaining momentum and resonating with our shoppers. So, how do we help personalize and simplify all the great information and synthesize it down to what really matters to that unique individual? Here are some of the trends and solutions I see bubbling up in 2020.

Produce as preventive healthcare

As I look ahead in 2020, I am excited! We will continue to see the evolution of the role of fresh produce in preventative healthcare take center stage. This means as an industry, we need to collaborate more on simplifying the shoppers’ path to purchase, focusing information, and the personalization of preventative healthcare measures that fresh produce can play in people’s lives. Most importantly, we need to curate that information and product assortment down to the unique individual shopper. This is a big shift from where we have come from. Gone are the days of marketing to a large mass of consumers or tiny clusters of like-minded shoppers. Today, technology supports a highly-customized and personalized experience. Our shoppers are expecting this ease of information and service across all shopping experiences.

Inspired online shopping

What better way to personalize the shopping experience than to leverage your online platform! An integrated, omnichannel approach and curated items that matter to your unique shopper can be created to provide an experience consumers have come to expect. Retailers have a tremendous opportunity to help their shoppers think about better ways to consume healthier products by making sure their online search terms are appropriately tagging fresh items. For example, in a recent primary research project my team conducted, we discovered shoppers purchasing groceries online consistently from week-to-week are typically larger families with higher incomes. These shoppers also purchase fresh snack items like berries, clementines, and grapes more frequently than other demographics. To help them along their path to purchase, these fresh items can be tagged as “healthy treats” and “snacking” to make sure these items rise to the top of the page when consumers are online and looking for healthy options for their kids.

Designate by diet

Another way to use your online platform to help enhance your shoppers’ path to eating healthier is by suggesting and making dietary trends such as the “Mediterranean Diet”, DASH, or Flexitarian searchable on your mobile application or website. It’s as simple as tagging items and offering recipes that automatically add all items to the shopping cart based on household size you’re cooking for, the number of meals per week, and preference in recipe types. One of the top desires from our survey respondents in our Robinson Fresh omnichannel research project expressed that consumers would highly value having a live chat with a nutritionist during their online shopping experience. In fact, 62%** said this is something that they would use!

Paving the way for popular produce

There are a few items every year that stand out when we look at online searches, social media, and other sources. Ginger is one of the items I see with a continued focus, growing at a four-year CAGR of 12% in pounds sold. It’s known for its digestive health benefits and for being a source of copper, vitamin B6, magnesium, and potassium, as well as many amino acids.

Another item to watch is yautia, growing at a 24% CAGR* over the last four years. It’s also rich in nutritional benefits (copper, vitamin B6, potassium, and iron).

One last item growing in popularity and not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon is avocados, as it has grown at a 12% CAGR* over the last four years!

Technology facilitating growth in fresh produce

There’s no doubt technology and information sharing are helping to expand the shopping experience. Consumers can explore new items and increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. We’re just scratching the surface as to how to help guide our shoppers toward the curated content and information they’re seeking. As our knowledge continues to grow around the nutritional health benefits of each item in our produce department, we will continue to see unique items start to grow in popularity.

Take advantage of the momentum your shoppers are creating around their appetite for information and make sure you leverage your online and in-store platforms to educate and inspire!

If you want to learn more about how I or my team provide an information advantage driving smarter solutions, visit

*IRI 2020 US data
**primary research from recent omnichannel survey
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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