Branded fruits and vegetables are playing an increasingly critical role in fresh food, boosting the bottom line in produce departments across the nation. It’s a trend with benefits for consumers and retailers alike, as shoppers continue to demand more information about the source of the foods they buy and supermarkets strive to deliver greater quality and consistency.
The boom in branded produce is accelerating on two fronts. National and international brands have made a name for themselves in every category, from berries to bagged salads. In addition, the demand for local produce has spurred retailers to build brand awareness for growers in their areas, promoting names and logos of local farms on signage throughout the department.
Both fronts are reaching consumers who want to spend their produce dollars on the best-tasting, highest-quality and safest fruits and vegetables. Many of these shoppers also want to know the story behind the brand.
New Leaf features local produce whenever possible and promotes the farms and growers prominently. The natural supermarket chain employs special signs to indicate produce that hails from 100 miles away or closer.
Alfalfa’s Market in Boulder, Colorado has witnessed the same trend. Even bulk items like fingerling potatoes sourced from a local farm get a boost when placed in little packages with a label on it.
Chuck’s Produce and Street Market in Vancouver, Washington, found that promoting local produce brands can be a powerful draw that brings customers to the store.
There’s a QR code explosion afoot, and more produce suppliers are adding QR codes to their branded packaging every day.
Los Angeles-based Paramount Farms, the business behind the highly successful Wonderful Pistachios and Cuties Mandarins, knows a thing or two about creating dynamic brands that appeal to consumer desire for quality and consistency in the produce department. “There’s variability in fresh produce from one Granny Smith apple to another,” notes Marc Seguin, Paramount’s VP of marketing, North America. “If you buy Tide laundry detergent, there’s no variance. We’re trying to have the same kind of relationship with consumers, where we put our name on something and the consumer knows it’s the best possible product.”
As consumers have become more health-conscious, they’ve also become more aware of the quality and purity of the products and ingredients in their shopping carts. In this climate, branding has become more imperative.
While happy customers are critical to the success of all supermarkets, at the upscale Alfalfa’s, where quality trumps bargain pricing, ensuring customer satisfaction is more important still.