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Industry analyst and consultant Anne-Marie Roerink of 210 Analytics is an expert on marketing produce from farm to retail. Her travels take her to stores around the world. Every week in SPW, Anne-Marie shares one of her favorite retail displays or grower marketing success stories with a photo and her thoughts on why these are Ideas Ripe For The Picking.
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The fact that the recession brought on money-saving measures wasn’t a surprise to anyone. But their staying power underscores the continued importance of delivering value.
During the early months and years of the recession, shoppers resorted to all the obvious ways of saving money: cooking more home-cooked meals, capitalizing on sales promotions, clipping coupons, etc.
As the economic crisis lingered, money-saving tactics changed. Where value packs and quantity discounts were popular early on, more and more shoppers started focusing on buying what’s needed, and no more, to prevent spending money on food that ended up going to waste.
This is all the more true in produce, which shifted the consumer focus from price alone to a greater emphasis on freshness and shelf life. This focus on value for their money still reigns high today.
As such, price image is an important decision for retailers. According to the Retail Feedback Group, three-quarters of shoppers check sales promotions, be it by browsing the circular or checking Facebook specials. Many even research sales promotions across more than one store.
So hot price points and promotions certainly have the ability to drive traffic for produce. And for shoppers who skipped the pre-trip research, Winco does the work for them, comparing their prices to those of competitors’.
But while price gets people in the door, a veteran produce manager at a recent speech pointed out the absolute truth in produce and what makes it so unique compared to center store or other fresh items. She said, “no matter how hot the deal, ultimately shoppers decide with their eyes; they won’t buy produce that doesn’t look good and fresh.”
And that is precisely what all the research finds: price is important, but no one can win on price alone.
Anne-Marie Roerink specializes in quantitative and qualitative market research. Prior to launching 210 Analytics, she served as the Director of Research for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI).