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High produce prices driving away shoppers, report finds

Strategic pricing, in-store instruction recommended for retailers

Less than half of consumers eat produce daily, a recently published study has found. And the main reason is price, according to a new report.

The report, Barriers to Purchase, which was was put together by Category Partners (CP) and Beacon Research Solutions (BRS), found that high prices was the No. 1 cause for lack of produce consumption, with more than half of the 4,000 shoppers surveyed pointing to this as their main deterrent.

“Even with an improving economy, price was the top barrier, selected by more than 50%,” wrote a statement announcing the survey results.

“Price competitively and promote strategically, so consumers perceive value—and are incented—in their purchases,” the study suggested as tactics for retailers to combat that.

“The vast majority of research tells us why consumers buy potatoes and celery or cherries, once a week or once a month, but it doesn’t tell us why they don’t purchase those items twice a week or twice a month,” said CP president Adam Brohimer. “Our Barriers to Purchase study focused on just that, to understand what issues consumers have with buying more fresh produce—or buying it more frequently.”

After pricing, fear of spoilage was also a significant deterrent. The study suggested that stores make an effort to instruct shoppers on how to select, store and use the fresh fruits and vegetables that they purchase so as to maximize shelf life at home.

Poor appearance in terms of quality and color were also seen as major detractors for shoppers who may have otherwise bought produce.

The study, which was conducted in June, also found that 31% of shoppers were not specifically seeking produce that would qualify as “locally grown,” “natural,” “non GMO” or “organic.” 

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