WHAT: Ripe For The Picking, Part I: Retail Facts and Consumer Findings; Ripe For The Picking, Part II: Supplier/Retailer Roundtable
WHEN: Part I: Friday, Oct. 12, 2:45-4 p.m.
Part II: Saturday, Oct. 13, 9:35-10:50 a.m.
WHERE: Parts 1 and 2: Room 360
WEST DUNDEE, Ill. — The Perishables Group here, in cooperation with the Produce Marketing Association, will release the results of its recent research on consumer purchasing behaviors for fresh-cut, prepackaged fruit and vegetables at this year's PMA Fresh Summit Show in Houston.
“We started talking with PMA about how we could create totally new information that's never been seen before and that's unique to the PMA show,” said Steve Lutz, executive vice president, Perishables Group.
“So, we came up this idea — there's a lot of interest in fresh-cut, but there has not been, to date, a lot of in depth consumer research on the fresh-cut consumer and certainly not on the lifestyle, life-stage spectrum mapping or the POS data, so we said if we could pull all of that together — a proprietary consumer survey, syndicated data, [AC-Nielsen] Spectra information — bring that together to give a comprehensive overview of the category and the trends for the first time at Fresh Summit, that would be really unique.”
The fresh-cut industry has room for growth, with fresh-cut vegetables accounting for approximately 1.4% of total produce dollars, according to the Perishables Group. The category grew by about 12% over the latest 52 weeks through June 1.
“Total produce grew at about 4.5%, so you've got a growth rate that's about three times the average for fresh-cut vegetables,” Lutz said.
Fresh-cut fruit accounts for approximately 3.9% of total produce, with a 7.3% growth rate during the same time frame.
“There's some real variation in there, though,” Lutz said.
“For example, fresh-cut apples grew by about 42% over the previous 52 weeks, grapefruit was actually up by 12%, but the balance of the category, the growth rates were more to the norm of total produce. But the growth was coming from apples, at least in fresh-cut fruit.
“You're talking in the neighborhood between the two of around 6% of total produce, which puts fresh-cut fruit and vegetables in the same range as a citrus category or banana category, or a little bit lower than apples as far as the total category contribution. If you look at fresh-cut fruit and vegetables in the context of it being similar in size to the citrus, banana or apple category, it's a significant category opportunity.”
Two sessions at the show will be associated with fresh-cut produce. Part I will act as a presentation of the data and consumer findings, while Part II will use that information for a follow-up panel discussion.
The goal of the research is to gain a better understanding of fresh-cut produce purchase criteria, purchase triggers, substitution factors and usage levels, Lutz told SN.
“We'll talk to consumers in-store, but we'll also then match that up with syndicated sales data to try to understand what the sales results at retail confirm or defer from how consumers describe their behavior,” Lutz said.
The sessions will incorporate information gleaned from an online survey of 1,200 consumers.