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Making the Grade: 3 Back-to-School Produce Trends to Follow
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Making the Grade: 3 Back-to-School Produce Trends to Follow

September 7, 2017

As children across the United States head back to school, parents and caregivers head into stores with a mission to stock up on the lunchbox items and after school snacks that fuel their learning and nourish their bodies. So which produce trends should you be aware of as these shoppers scan your shelves for back-to-school essentials?

3 Back-to-School Produce Trends to Follow

Here are three fresh trends in produce to keep in mind, along with fresh insights that can help spur more sales in and around your produce department.

1. Organic produce is becoming mainstream

One of our latest consumer and category insights papers, The Evolution of the Organic Shopper: What Retailers Need to Know about Today’s Consumers, highlights research about who is buying organic produce and why they choose it. According to that research, shoppers across all demographics are purchasing organics, particularly those who are under the age of 35 or have young children living at home.

Fresh insight

When shoppers dabble in organic produce, they tend to also purchase other organic goods throughout the store. To boost impulse purchases made by back-to-school shoppers, cross-promote organic produce with organic snacks, meats, and other items. For example, cross-merchandise organic berries, grapes, apples, or easy-peel citrus with organic nuts, organic crackers, or organic fruit snacks. Doing so provides shopping convenience and showcases the variety and broad assortment of organic items you offer.

2. Snacking is on the rise

As busy schedules disrupt traditional eating patterns (i.e., breakfast, lunch, and dinner), snacking increases. Another reason snacking is trending upward is because it gives consumers—and their kids—the opportunity to add more nutrition to their days. Learning kids are hungry kids—even more so when they also have a hectic rotation of activities, sports practices, and other after school commitments.

Fresh insight

By nature, many fresh produce items are ideal for snacking—they’re portable, ready-to-eat or low- or no-prep, easy to portion into grab-and-go servings, and full of nutrients and vitamins. To keep up with shoppers’ demand for convenient, nutritionally balanced snacks, showcase the fresh fruit and vegetable options that can be enjoyed on the go, including single-serve, pre-cut options—like sliced apples, watermelon and pineapple spears, or grape cups. Place value-adds in several locations around your store—in the produce, grab and go, and deli areas, for example—to drive impulse purchases.

3. Packaging matters

Food packaging is beneficial to fresh produce for several reasons: It adds a layer of durability to some of the more delicate varieties of produce; offers up valuable real estate to share storage information, preparation tips, or recipe ideas; and provides an element of convenience or functionality. For instance, consumers tend to look for grapes in re-sealable packaging. Packaging with high-impact graphics can also help produce stand out from the rest.

Fresh insight

Offer fresh produce in a variety of eye-catching, function-driven packaging to appeal to your back-to-school shoppers who are on the lookout for convenient lunch and snack foods.

Final thoughts

Paying attention to produce trends—and merchandising fruits and vegetables in ways that align with those trends—can help you capture more sales as back-to-school shoppers peruse your store for the fresh foods that keep their kids energized and well-nourished.

Connect with one of our fresh experts to discuss programs for your produce department—for back to school and beyond.

Gina Garven

Gina Garven - Director of Category Management, Robinson Fresh

Gina Garven joined Robinson Fresh in 2009. As the Director of Category Management, she drives the strategy for how we analyze our division’s internal financial performance, the implementation of best practices within data governance, and the strengthening of Robinson Fresh’s industry leadership through the development of best in class category insights that support our customers.
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