One of the ways commodity analysts use data is to paint pictures and create stories to help change the way traditional grocery retailers and wholesalers think about their businesses. And it’s not as easy as simply saying, “Sell more of this or less of that.” We dig deep to unveil actionable insights—all based on research and valuable data—that can help drive more sales and improve the bottom line.
Here are five ways insights can help impact profitability of fresh produce sales.
1. Optimize SKUs
From a grocery perspective, the produce section is the gateway to consumer. 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.
Think about avocados. It’s commonplace to display them next to tomatoes, onions, and jalapenos—all the key ingredients in guacamole. But you can take things up a notch by also positioning avocados near complementary meal items, such as salad or sandwich components, to give shoppers additional ideas about how they might use them and drive more impulse sales.
2. Understand regional trends
Knowing whether 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.
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 familiarity with tropical fruits and know 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 during both promoted and non-promoted time periods. Most promotional pricing 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, feature asparagus in a display next to grill items or in the meat section during the summer to help drive purchases as consumers make last minute 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 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.
Robinson Fresh® has a team of dedicated analysts who diligently keep an eye on trends in the produce industry, turning deep and detailed insights into specific, actionable recommendations and ideas to help you capture more sales. All of these findings can be found in our consumer and category insights papers, as well as in Freshspective blog posts.
To stay on top of produce trends and other consumer insights—and to make sure your business is set up for success—connect with one of our fresh experts.