One of the most interesting new features of this year’s United Fresh show has been the new learning center areas on the trade show floor. This afternoon, the Retail/Foodservice area hosted a great panel, featuring many of this year’s Retail Produce Manager Award winners. Moderated by Steve Lutz from the Perishables Group, the panel covered topics ranging from merchandising ideas to creating assortments for ethnic shoppers and training employees.
Most of the managers who spoke acknowledged that the recession had changed their customers’ shopping habits, and that there was more of a focus on value lately. Suggestive selling, increased sampling and setting lower allocation levels for high priced items were a few of the ways these managers said they had responded to the situation. But, the panelists all seemed bullish on organics, which are typically more expensive than conventional items.
SN will have a more detailed article about this panel in our May 3 issue. In the meantime, if you’ve got an hour to spare, you can also check out the whole session on unitedfresh.tv, where it will be archived beginning tomorrow.
I’m about to head to the Chairman’s Reception and Awards Banquet, where the Grand Prize Produce Manager Award Winners will be announced, so check back tomorrow or later tonight to find out more.