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United Fresh 2015: Produce merchandising strategies

United Fresh 2015: Produce merchandising strategies

Some of the 2015 United Fresh Produce Manager Award winners shared their tips and tricks during a panel at the United Fresh Produce Show in Chicago.

Chuck Kauffman, Andronico's Community Markets, San Leandro, Calif., draws customers to his produce department by championing fruit and vegetables that might not typically get a lot of attention.

“I like to go for categories that a lot of times you would overlook. Like right now we’re doing the mushroom theme, so we’ve really expanded on that,” said Kauffman.

Kauffman’s produce department has eight feet dedicated to many varieties of mushrooms.

“It really creates that ‘wow’ factor,” he said. “And now we’ve been doing it for a couple months, it’s starting to get around and we’re getting a lot of chefs in there now, checking it out.”

Andronico’s also makes sure to push staple items year-round.

“So when the new fresh seasonal items come in, we just make sure we tie the staple items with it so it keeps it exciting.”

Kauffman gave the examples of incorporating organic bananas into a display for seasonal organic mangoes that have a big following in his store.

River Valley Market, Northhampton, Mass., focuses heavily on local items, so produce manager Henry Kryeski takes a local approach to cross-merchandising. Kryeski said he will cross-promote local honey with apples and local ginger syrup next to the fresh ginger.

“It’s really working hand in hand with the local community, local farmers and keeping it all tied in together,” Kryeski said.


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At Pick 'n Save, Eagle River, Wis., shoppers will also seek out local items with a “homegrown” label.

“Put homegrown on anything, and it creates excitement," said produce manager Bernadine Godeck. "People are happy to find homegrown; they are happy to see you carry homegrown and it makes them come back.”​

The United Fresh Produce Manager Award Winners each came from disparate formats, locations and consumers, and each manager customized their departments to the preferences of their local community.

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