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As members of the fresh produce industry, we hunger to boost society’s craving for fresh fruits and vegetables. This can be achieved by taking advantage of powerful education opportunities.
Education leads to awareness of consumer trends and preferences, which grows businesses. With that awareness, we present strong resources that can help today’s families see that eating fresh produce is not only a healthy choice but also an easy, happy one.
When I attended Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Connections: Retail event, it was great to see all of the industry members who came, from across the supply chain and around the world, to learn and discuss the retail side of the produce industry. It linked us all to new ideas and trends, and it was a great chance to create new business relationships and see what’s affecting the retail sector today.
Consumer Feedback Feeds Sales
The consumer panel was an excellent resource to have in addition to the industry speakers. There were Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer representatives, and their feedback on personal shopping habits and preferences provided helpful tips on how to reach consumers and achieve our business goals.
Among the many topics discussed during the event were popular flavor trends, consumer collaboration and the desired shopper experience.
For instance, consumers who discover an appealing dish while eating out will want to make it a part of their own recipe book. Their interest in bold, new flavors; flavor enhancements – such as smoked, tangy and hot – and ethnic foods, which are vegetable-intense dishes, will have an impact on what they pull off the shelves when they enter the supermarket.
We also explored the convenience factor, which has a great impact on consumers’ choices. Pre-made meal kits and online shopping, we were told by the panel, are two helpful options for today’s hustle-and-bustle families.
To provide consumers with the beneficial products and services they desire, we need to collaborate with them. While consumer panels are the rare hotbed of insights, social media as a tool to engage with consumers to see when, where and how they shop also provides a direct feed into consumer minds.