PMA CONSUMER STUDY REVEALS PRODUCE PURCHASE DRIVERS

NEWARK, Del. -- Consumers are generally well-satisfied with the amount of information they receive when purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables in their favorite supermarkets, according to new consumer research presented recently at the Produce Marketing Association's Retail Produce Solutions Conference.n Dynamics Corp., Cambridge, Mass., found that regionally, consumers looking for information when

NEWARK, Del. -- Consumers are generally well-satisfied with the amount of information they receive when purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables in their favorite supermarkets, according to new consumer research presented recently at the Produce Marketing Association's Retail Produce Solutions Conference.

n Dynamics Corp., Cambridge, Mass., found that regionally, consumers looking for information when purchasing produce were least satisfied with the point-of-purchase data available in Western states; the most satisfied are consumers in the South.

Providing consumers with fresh fruit and vegetable samples for taste-testing is the most effective method to increase sales, Opinion Dynamics researchers concluded. Forty-four percent of consumers said sampling would make them "much more likely" to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

Another purchase influencer is the ready availability of trained department employees who can interact with shoppers and talk with them about such topics as selection, seasonality and recipes. Thirty-five percent of respondents said produce associates who maintain a higher level of visibility in the department would make them "much more likely" to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

Besides educated associates, consumers polled also expressed a desire for easy-to-understand signs that illustrate specific health and nutritional benefits of various produce items -- a passive informational device that could also encourage shoppers to purchase more produce, the study found.