Consumers consider produce to be one of three most important products to buy local (along with bakery and eggs)
Buying local is highly important even to low income households
The largest percentage of consumers preferred less than 50 miles for a product to be grown or raised to consider it local
Add to that a growing concern over the safety of factory farm produce fueled by recent recalls, and IGA CEO John Ross sees opportunities for IGA’s independent retailers to use their produce department as a true point of differentiation. “Shoppers generalize their experience and the quality of your store based on their impressions of your produce department. This is our chance to tell our local story and cement IGA’s position as their partner in their quest for healthier eating.”
From forging relationships with family farms and branding the store with Local Equals Fresh signage to creating innovative produce promotions, here are 10 ideas helping IGA retailers score big in produce.
Develop New Relationships with Farmers:
Put out a call to action: Not sure where to start in your search for sourcing new local products? Try getting the word out on your social media channels (like this post fromSpano’s Supa in Australia).If nothing else, it will let your followers know you are serious about getting more local goods into the store.
Continually source new products: As seen in thisLocal Equals Fresh campaign video, which featured Geissler’s in Somers, Connecticut, the company has reaped the benefits of longstanding partnerships with area egg farmers, orchards, and other producers. According to Geissler’s President Bob Rybick, Geissler's is always looking for new producers that help them deliver the local, healthy, and convenient meals shoppers want. “It’s a matter of searching the market, farmers markets, etc. to find prospective partners. From there, it’s calling the vendor meeting and just simply laying out a mutually beneficial plan,” he said in a recent interview.
Highlight Local Partnerships Once your relationships are in place, look for ways to showcase new partners.
Display and demo: Once you've found that unique product, don't forget to demo and display. Catch your shoppers’ attention with a display or demo. Local grower Boltz Family Farms set up a mini hydroponic system at Baker's IGAin Newcomerstown, Ohio, to show the lettuce and promote the store’s takeout salads made with it.
Think value-added products: Winning in produce isn't only about selling fruits and vegetable straight from the field. It's also about the stand-out products created with that produce.North Albany Supermarket IGA in North Albany, Oregon carries Coach’s Salsa, a line of fresh salsas handmade in small batches at a nearby farm. The store recently featured Coach’s in one of their weekly tasting events.
Sales and Promotions Get creative with bundling and packaging your produce sales and promotions.
Fill it fresh: A popular promotion taking place at many IGA stores across the country (check this best practice from Archie's IGA). Come up with a list of produce that customers can pick from and fill a paper bag for a set price (usually $20). Some items can have limits placed on the number that shoppers can pick. Benefits: Shoppers get the flexibility and choice of what they’ll fill up on and you get to move some produce and showcase your commitment to fresh and local! Here are a few links to stores’ promotions on Facebook:Broadus IGA in Broadus, Montana, North Albany Supermarket IGA,(one of the page followers posteda photo of her haul)andGary & Leo’s.
BOGO deal: Oftentimes, people link local food with being more expensive. Bust that myth and promote your farm partners by offering a BOGO deal, such as aBOGO cabbage that Mt. Plymouth IGAdid right before St. Patrick’s Day.
Bundle it:The best things in life come in bundles, right? Like thisfree veggies with pot roast purchase pairing from Hansen's IGA in Washburn, Wisconsin. Mt. Plymouth IGA offers a wide range of meat and veggie bundles, with prices that range from $9 to $34. For example, the Large Veggie Bundle contains three broccoli crowns, three cucumbers, one cabbage, three red onions, three green peppers, six ears of corn, six beefsteak tomatoes, three pounds of green beans, and three packs of mushrooms (8 oz each) for $34. Customers can shop and purchase (along with many other food staples) online and arrange for store pick up.