Showdown in the Produce Aisle
There’s cross-selling and there’s cross-selling. Placing Tostitos next to the makings of guacamole may be somewhat more justified than putting V8, pomegranate juice, coconut waters and smoothies in the produce department. But what about processed cheese slices next to tomatoes or refrigerated salad dressings and Yves Meatless Hot Dogs alongside salad ingredients? Both “are logical purchases with produce items,” according a Wall Street Journal story.
Discussing the so-called “halo effect” attached to healthy fresh food, the Journal describes “fundamentally changing traditional store layouts” being considered in chains such as Giant Eagle, Kroger, Meijer and Winn-Dixie.
According to the article, “freshness credibility” separates the best grocers from warehouse clubs, convenience stores and others stocking primarily packaged foods. Fresh often equates to high-margin in the area nearest the store entrance where shoppers often spend most of their budget. But the report goes on to say, “stores are finding that consumers consider even packaged foods placed there to be fresher and higher quality.”
The trend comes as a Supervalu Inc. survey of consumers in November showed that 92 percent of shoppers said fresh produce was the number one factor in choosing a grocery store, with meat coming in second.
Art Sebastian, Kraft’s director of shopper insights and category development, added that research shows that moving dairy closer to produce is one way to “play up the fresh factor, the cooking factor” of its products.
Executive vice president of merchandising at Meijer’s, J.K. Symancyk, argued that “shoppers increasingly buy dairy products like yogurt and cheese at the same rate they would fresh produce or meat and think of it as a fresh item, so it makes sense to sell dairy earlier in a shopper’s visit.”
Avoiding duplication is one hurdle. According to the Journal article, Supervalu for one, is placing refrigerators of milk both in front of store and in the dairy section, wherever that may be.
In his column in the Independent, Will Dean also appeared to be agree with some concerns expressed by supermarket execs in the Journal article that “letting things like cheese slices into the home of fresh tomatoes will damage the ‘freshness credibility’ that has made these areas so valuable in the first place.”
- A food fight in the produce aisle – The Wall Street Journal
- Big Food gets lost in supermarket fresh aisles – The Independent
Discussion Questions: Have consumers changed their definition of fresh foods? If yes, does this suggest the need for a fundamentally different layout within supermarkets?