roduce remains a crucial driver of store sales,
but as the health-minded market matures,
promotions that create excitement while
showcasing the versatility and nutritional
benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables are key to continued department growth.
“Americans are increasingly concerned with and
focused on health and wellness, which positions fresh produce for sustained success; yet, while sales are still growing, it was at a slower pace than in recent years,” says Matt
Lally of Nielsen Fresh, which, along with United Fresh,
recently released the United Fresh Facts Year in Review.
“As all areas of the store are evolving to meet the growing demand for health and wellness, produce needs to
ensure that it continues to tout more than just ‘produce is
healthy,’ but also communicate what specific benefits it
provides and how that may be different from other areas
of the store,” he says.
With its bounty of seasonal and local offerings, sum-
mer is the ideal time to turn up the heat on demos, in-store
promotions and digital campaigns designed to increase
produce consumption. With this in mind, retailers, suppli-
ers and industry organizations are poised to launch strate-
gic summertime programs that are destined to drive sales.
Dietitians in the House
Boise-based Albertsons Cos., which operates more than
2,300 stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Acme, is creating excitement for a
variety of fresh produce this summer and year-round with
its recently launched dietitian-led demo program in 10
stores, primarily in the West. Leading the charge is Wellness Services Corporate Dietitian Elaine Magee.
“We’re taking demos to a higher level in our stores,”
says Magee, who is also a recipe developer, blogger and
author of 25 books on health and nutrition.
Albertsons Cos., which piloted the program in five Albertsons, Safeway and Acme stores late last year, partners
with a different supplier each month. Magee then develops recipes, demos, informational handouts and a blog
around the partnership. Almost half of the participating
companies are in produce.
The demo program kicked off with a monthlong focus
on mushrooms in collaboration with the Mushroom
Magee supported the promotion with a blog featuring nutritional information on mushrooms and
additional recipes for everything from Portobello
Bacon to Sloppy Janes. Albertsons Cos. will repeat
the successful demo campaign with the Mushroom
Council again this month, expanding The Blend message through a focus on summer recipes and grilling.
While the United Fresh Facts on Retail 2017 Year
in Review reports relatively flat mushroom sales last
spring, it also notes that as consumers increasingly
look for healthier alternatives, “continuing to pro-
With scores of fresh produce promotions on deck, the forecast
for summer fruit and vegetable sales is hot. By Jennifer Strailey
Sales of organic
produce in 2017.
Source: Nielsen Fresh