Southeast Produce Council Study Discovers Innovation Linked to Category Growth and Engagement in Fresh Produce; David Sherrod and Anne-Marie Roerink Comment
SAVANNAH, GA - Understanding what consumers really want is the key to capturing more sales and building brand loyalty. To give suppliers an inside look at shoppers’ evolving demands, The Southeast Produce Council (SEPC) has recently released What’s New: The Consumer Take on Produce Innovation and Technology 2021 in conjunction with 210 Analytics in one of two educations sessions at Southern Innovations.
“Southern Innovations has always been focused on the latest and greatest in fresh produce retailing and foodservice,” explained David Sherrod, President and Chief Executive Officer of SEPC. “This year, we wanted to highlight innovations throughout the supply chain from farm to menu through the eyes of the consumer. After all, it is the shopper who drives change in produce purchases and consumption. Together with 210 Analytics, we conducted in-depth consumer research to understand sentiments about anything from farm-direct sales to drones and self-checkout to air fryers. Having a solid understanding of where consumers weigh in will help the fresh produce industry with vital innovation and technology decisions in months and years to come.”
The Southern Innovations show has four areas of focus, according to a press release. Those focus areas are for the planet, at the farm, in the store, and on the menu, and exhibitors are encouraged to highlight innovations in each of these categories.
“When comparing the consumer input on innovation we have seen throughout the supply chain to sales growth trends, it is clear that fresh produce sales patterns are closely interwoven with technology and innovation,” added Anne-Marie Roerink, President of 210 Analytics. “Technology has enabled easier engagement and better communication with consumers who are increasingly looking for the how, what, where, and why behind the produce they buy. At the same time, product innovation is driving operational efficiencies, labor solutions, and sales gains for the category.”
Some of the findings in SEPC’s study include:
- For the Planet: Consumers have a wide definition of sustainability to include planet, people, and community, and the package label is the preferred learning platform
- At the Farm: New varieties drive category engagement and grow sales, with 83 percent of consumers liking to see new varieties, underscoring the importance of assortment innovation
- In the Store: E-commerce remains a growth opportunity for fresh produce, with consistent quality being key to repurchases, as 81 percent of online buyers are willing to purchase fresh produce online
- On the Menu: Routine is out. Inspiration from friends, family, and digital sources are in, as 50 percent of shoppers are intrigued in being able to add items from a recipe onto a grocery list or shopping cart and are obsessed with food videos and taste challenges
To explore the study’s other findings, click here.
AndNowUKnow will continue to report on all of the latest news here in the produce industry, so keep an eye out for our next update.