Fusion’s Research Uncovers Opportunity in Produce Segment
LOS ANGELES, CA, October 09, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Fusion, a business-to-business integrated marketing and research agency, took a deeper dive into the produce category to uncover shopper preferences between choosing their own fruit or purchasing pre-packaged options when shopping. The results of the survey offer insights into growing trends in produce retailing.
“Our research provides awareness into shopper preferences and purchasing behavior taking a closer look at how consumers choose their fruit,” explains Matt Schraut, Fusion’s vice president of analytics and client services. “We also analyzed shopper demographics and found additional generational differences between shopping behaviors.”
Most produce companies sell their fruit in plastic bags or containers along with loose fruit in bins. Packaged fruit accounts for nearly 80% of category incremental dollar sales growth over a 52-week period compared to the prior year, which added +$850.6 million to the category.(1) Packaging plays an important role in the supply chain. It helps to protect the fruit during transport; keeps it clear of any additional handling; and it provides convenience to the end consumer. It also helps shoppers purchase fruit in multiple configurations quickly. In fact, the number one reason for purchasing fruit in a package is that it makes the selection process easier for consumers.(2)
Although packaged fruit preference is increasing, bulk fruit accounts for a larger share of total sales. According to Fusion’s research, shoppers prefer selecting their own fruit from a bin vs. purchasing packaged fruit at 70% and 30%, respectively. Sixty-four percent (64%) of shoppers surveyed indicated that they considered fruit to be fresher when in the display bin compared to 36% that indicated packaged fruit was fresher. Consumers are also more likely to purchase fruit if it is packaged in eco-friendly or biodegradable packaging. However, they aren’t willing to pay more for environmentally friendly packaging according to 39% of those surveyed; 37% would pay more; and another 24% were indifferent.
Shoppers also preferred purchasing bulk fruit over packaged fruit due to the perception of freshness. They also indicated that, in their opinion, bulk fruit stays fresher longer. Additionally, some of the shoppers were concerned about their perception of preservatives in packaged fruit. Many consumers preferred choosing their own fruit and indicated that “packaging often hides the damaged fruit in a bag or container.” Others also preferred bulk fruit due to their environmental concern and prefer to “reduce plastic and packaging pollution that is harming animals, their habits and the environment.”
The type of packaging that fruit is in also influences consumers’ shopping behaviors. Of those surveyed, 65% prefer recycled containers over recycled bags at 35%. Many consumers indicated that the recyclable containers were better for storage; were less wasteful; and were easier to reuse and recycle than plastic bags. When looking at usage from a demographic segment, Millennials had the greatest preference for using recyclable containers over plastic bags; however, they favor purchasing loose fruit over packaged fruit in comparison to other demographic age profiles.
“Another interesting result from the research indicated that locally grown fruit is still preferred with 58% of those surveyed making that choice,” explains Schraut. “It is important for retailers to know that shoppers still have a preference for locally grown. Local, seasonal fruit will sell well when promoted in a variety of configurations. Our study indicated that even though bulk fruit is preferred, there is a lot of opportunity for packaged fruit to increase sales, and the industry can take full advantage of this trend with sustainable packaging. We also found that consumers looking for convenience and to make a quick purchase decision will select packaged fruit and smaller package sizes are trending upward.”
For retailers or produce companies that would like to learn more about the results of the survey or specific fruit categories, they are encouraged to contact Matt Schraut at Fusion or visit the website at gowithfusion.com.
Sources: (1) Circana, 52 Weeks Ending 03-26-23; (2) Fusion’s Purchasing Pattern Research Study
Fusion provides clear business direction through research, analytics, market insights and communications, giving clients more time to focus on their business. Fusion partners with clients in the fresh produce and grocery retail environment to uncover growth opportunities and solutions for each client’s unique business needs. The experienced team of marketing and analytical professionals provide dedicated client support, informed thinking and innovation to provide the highest level of expertise for any analytic and creative business endeavor. GoWithFusion.com
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