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Capitalizing on Convenience


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When I walk down the produce aisle of my local grocery store, I try to resist the temptation to purchase prepared fruit and vegetables because I feel like it’s lazy to spend three times the amount of money on an onion I could easily cut myself. This temptations is more difficult to resist, however, when I see items like the stir fry vegetables at Trader Joe’s complete with cut mushrooms and asparagus, pre-riced cauliflower and even zucchini “noodles” at my neighborhood Key Foods.

Retailers have plenty of opportunities to get creative with their produce and offer shoppers something they can’t resist. Many retailers only offer the basics, such as cut cantaloupe and peeled garlic cloves, but they may be missing out on the opportunity to boost their produce earnings with these premium-priced products. On-the-go items offered in creative, convenient packaging have also been a hit with consumers. Manufacturers are also helping retailers take advantage of this category with items like Dole’s new 6-ounce blueberry variety of its snack-size package line, DOLE GO Berries!  Dole’s Strawberry DOLE GO Berries! recently won the United Fresh Innovation Award in the Best New Packaging category. The berries are packaged in ventilated containers for freshness and easy rinsing and snap apart when the the consumer is ready to dig in.

The strategy of creating and stocking convenient items doesn’t have to be isolated to the produce aisles. For example, one of my local grocery stores offers a pre-assembled cheese plate complete with a variety of cheese, crackers and even fresh grapes. The same retailer has also taken this innovation to the meat case, offering a meatloaf kit with ground beef and veal. Retailers could benefit from thinking about what types of store-made items their consumer demographic will appreciate, be it trendy vegetable noodles or skewers ready to throw on the grill.

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