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Produce Packaging Prejudice

As part of this morning's session on produce packaging, Steve Lutz, executive vice president of The Perishables Group gave some details about a recently published consumer survey that his consultancy had conducted for PMA. To me, one of the most interesting findings involved perceptions of quality and value. Produce packaging design has evolved significantly during the past decade, and value-added produce is one of the category's hottest growth areas. But, apparently, many shoppers still equate packaged produce with big value bags of apples, oranges or potatoes. As Lutz put it, they have ingrained concerns regarding quality, and a strong desire to inspect what they're buying before putting it in their cart.

The Perishables Group conducted 500 live in-store video interviews with shoppers as part of the survey, and Lutz shared a few clips during the session. Although several of the interview subjects had good things to say about produce packaging — that it protects the product, that they like the use-by dates — some of the respondents complained of bad experiences with spoiled items. Whether it happened with value bags or not, they may still be carrying over that distrust to newer convenience items.

A few of the things that shoppers wanted to see more of on produce packaging included sell by and freshness dating, simple, straightforward recipes, nutrition information, and smaller package sizes. Many of the respondents lived in smaller households and were concerned about waste.