Our millennial generation is finding other sources from which to purchase their fresh produce. According to a 2019 Power of Produce survey by the Food Marketing Institute, only 34% of millennials stated that a supermarket was their primary source for fresh produce. Millennials represent a fairly large demographic: age 24-39.
The survey states, rather bluntly, that the $60 billion grocery category is losing momentum to other retail options, including subscription services, farmers’ markets, and convenience stores:
- Subscription services such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Dinnerly and others are sprouting up both nationally and locally. Such meal delivery services have become popular lately because of the COVID-19 scare, alleviating fears about risking exposure at the grocery store. Fortunately, retailers have mobilized quickly to offer or increase grocery delivery services. This popular choice may remain high as consumers of all generations are getting used to the convenience of everything delivered.
- Convenience also competes with local, however. Many in this age bracket want to support local farms and visit the farmers’ market to purchase the freshest produce and other local products.
- Convenience stores are gaining popularity among millennial and younger generations. The grab-and-go appeal coupled with minimal to no checkout lines and simplified options make convenience stores a triple win for this demographic. Typical convenience stores do not have the produce inventory as a supermarket does – yet. With the introduction of Amazon Go, convenience stores could take advantage of a new and more profitable model that serves this growing unmet need.
The survey did shed some helpful light on what millennials actually want from grocery retailers.
Emphasize “Local Produce”
Fifty-three percent of survey respondents want expanded local assortment at the stores.
The definition of “local” has a wide range which is typically is an 88-mile radius. Do retailers need to develop their own consistent and store-wide definition of local? What does local mean to a shopper? This can vary person-to-person. It can also vary according to where certain fruits and vegetables are grown. When it comes to table grapes, for example, “California-grown” is as local as it gets! Ninety-nine percent of table grapes are grown in the Coachella and San Joaquin Valleys.
So…That Part about “Quick Fix?”
Fifty-three percent is a strong hint to make retailers seriously consider a simple “show & tell” method.
Information cards showing a picture of the grower, blurb about the family’s legacy of growing their particular crop, and the land on which it is grown can transform a common commodity into a rich and meaningful story. Such cards (which are already dotting displays of peaches, nectarines and other seasonal produce) create a connection between shopper and grower – that very connection they are seeking to fulfill at the farmers market. Shoppers outside the millennial bracket share this preference for locally grown, with domestic produce generally favored over imported. Setting up a store with a good variety of fresh local produce with a simple yet attention-grabbing information card, can help the shopper in their decision making.
Consumers are also concerned about how produce is grown, food safety (amidst produce recalls) and the grower’s carbon footprint. Each of these concerns can be addressed in bullet points on the grower’s card.
Beyond the “quick fix,” there are creative measures a retailer can take, such as a “grow wall” exhibit that might enhance the shopper’s experience and encourage healthy buying habits.
The study found that consumers are showing interest in learning more about bee health and pesticide use claims. It seems there is never too much information when it comes to debunking myths and promoting consumer safety. Reassuringly, the study also indicates that younger shoppers lead the way in wanting more information with millennials having the most interest in learning. So let’s give it to them!
As shoppers’ interests continue to expand, it’s important to understand what topics are truly the most important to your consumer. The loudest voices are not always the most numerous and dedicated research to understand their motivations can inform how, when and why to adapt with these changing times.
After years of category management trade research, the California Table Grape Commission has identified many proven strategies that can help boost grape sales. We at Jasmine Vineyards hope you find these tips useful!
The statistics are in, and no matter who is running the survey or how long current trends stick around, one thing is certain: Purchasing habits have been changing by the day since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now more than ever, consumers want to know their fresh produce is safe.
According to a recent survey by The Packer:
- 20% of consumers said they are buying less fresh produce now and more frozen fruits and vegetables
- 12% of consumers said they are buying less fresh produce and more canned
- 28% of consumers said they would like access to “all the information” retailers have so they know stores are on top of things.
Regardless of trends, helping consumers make well-informed, rational buying decisions that support their health and wellbeing is a mission everyone can get behind.
As a grower-shipper of fresh table grapes, Jasmine Vineyards places the highest of priority on food safety. But the company also shares this responsibility with everyone who comes into contact with their grapes—from the field crew that harvests the varieties of grapes to shoppers who buy and bring home fresh grapes for their families to enjoy.
So, if food safety is everyone’s responsibility, why not share some of those good handling and washing practices that growers and grocers know so well?
At the Jasmine Vineyards ranch, we have put added safety measures into practice and are working hard to document and share these practices with the public. Jasmine Vineyards is also working with several state and national fresh fruit associations to promote important messages, including Produce Marketing Association’s #JoyofFresh Consumer Campaign for Safe Produce.
The case where “more is better”
Are consumers going straight to the source to guide their grocery shopping habits during pandemic times? Are they getting reliable information? Across the board, the answer is “not necessarily”—and during a time when shoppers need reassurance, going so far as to put up signposts (literally and figuratively) could be a welcome addition to the produce landscape. This helps ensure consumers have easy access to reliable, accurate information.
Some excellent information factoids to consider showcasing include:
- Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. [Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Food and Drug Administration (FDA)]
- Before eating, rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Scrub firm produce with a clean produce brush.
(Shopping for Food During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Information for Consumers, FDA)
- Rinse fresh vegetables and fruits under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking. Even if you plan to peel or cut the produce before eating, it is important to thoroughly rinse it first to prevent microbes from transferring from the outside to the inside of the produce. (10 Tips: Be Food Safe, ChooseMyPlate/USDA)
Another source that can be helpful for retailers is Always Use Food Safety Practices, a guide from the Partnership for Food Safety.
The bottom line? If “all the information” matters to 28% of individuals, retailers should display it for consumers.
To boost consumer confidence and grape sales even further, try these research-backed promotions.
A new season ushering in the new normal
With the 2020 California grape season kicking off, Jasmine Vineyards anticipates a summer of delicious, immune system-boosting, fresh table grapes for the produce aisle. As one of many family ranches located in the agricultural cornucopia of the San Joaquin Valley, we are also a strong supporter of California-grown produce. For suggestions on how Jasmine Vineyards can help retailers and customers feel safe buying fresh, California-grown grapes, visit jasminevineyards.com/wholesale.
Business Continuity Plan Update – COVID-19
UPDATED June 1, 2020:
- Field staff have been trained on social distancing. Field rows are 12′ in length with 7′ length vines, which creates natural markers for social distancing.
- Safety masks have been ordered to supplement existing supplies. Staff have always worn facial coverings under food safety regulations and will have access to these supplies when needed.
- Plexiglass is being installed between stations in the packing facility.
- Plexiglass and signing pads are being installed in the front lobby.
- Chlorine and alcohol solutions are being used before and after portable toilet use.
- Weekly “Safety Procedure Updates and Best Practices” sessions are held to review and update procedures with staff, and to address any questions or concerns.
Jasmine Vineyards’ front lobby
Throughout the harvesting season, Jasmine Vineyards will continue to follow CDC, Cal OSHA and California Farmworker Foundation guidelines.
March 31, 2020:
As we monitor the global impact of COVID-19, Jasmine Vineyards is taking a number of steps to ensure uninterrupted service to our customers, while using best practices to maintain the safety and livelihood of our employees. These steps are summarized below.
We hope this document provides a transparent and succinct overview of our activities at Jasmine Vineyards in light of this pandemic, and that it offers some reassurance to our business partners, consumers, and the general public during this unprecedented time. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Jasmine Vineyards, Inc. remains fully operational. The federal Department of Homeland Security has deemed farming an “essential” job that may continue under the shelter-in-place orders issued in California in March 2020. Our Delano, California operation maintains a business continuity plan that adheres to guidelines set forth by federal, state and local agencies. We have direct lines of communication with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Labor (DOL), California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) as well as our trade associations and partner organizations with the latest information on COVID-19. We are poised to adopt any new measures to maintain a safe work environment as this situation develops.
Education is the key to safety. The health and safety of our employees and our customers is our top priority. We have instructed employees and customers to stay home if they become sick. Jasmine Vineyards’ management team and crew supervisors are working with local agencies to ensure our employees practice CDC/WHO guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19, with specific attention to Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus.
We are closely monitoring operations, supplementing new safety trainings, and posting and distributing high-impact signage to support these efforts. We continually emphasize social distancing and good hygiene practices in and around communal areas such as restrooms, washing stations and break areas. Additionally, the California Farmworker Foundation (CFF), our partner organization, has launched a Farmworker Hotline for anyone with questions on Coronavirus, or needing help connecting to resources and services.
Employee education signage for COVID-19 provided by California Farmworker Foundation (CFF)
Our business continuity plan ensures our customers experience no drop service from Jasmine Vineyards. To help ensure a safe and operational work environment across all departments and facilities – including customer service, sales, cold storage, billing, HR, shipping and fulfillment – we continually instruct employees to follow social distancing and hand-washing guidelines. We emphasize these practices especially during group meetings, lunch breaks, and at hand-washing stations.
We have contacted our outsourced service providers to ensure uninterrupted service for our staff. Our IT equipment, phone and internet are fully functional and we do not anticipate any disruptions in service.
In closing, we are working judiciously around the clock to ensure these added safety measures are met or exceeded. We pride ourselves on our high food safety record, premium grapes enjoyed worldwide, and our exceptional service. Now more than ever, you can count on Jasmine Vineyards to deliver the highest quality grapes you have come to expect. We will continue to update and distribute our Business Continuity Plan with the latest information.
Market research conducted by state and national fresh fruit associations can be used by retailers to significantly boost grape and other fresh produce sales.
Retailers won’t be alone in these efforts, either – the California Table Grape Commission is promoting California grapes all season long. Healthy snacking and grape-health research is reaching shoppers via television commercials, digital and social media, e-commerce platforms, radio spots and print magazines including Oprah, Real Simple, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Shape, People, and Food Network Magazine.
This marketing muscle behind California grapes makes an even greater incentive for retailers to take advantage of the following data-backed tips for boosting grape sales:
1. Register for the Annual Grape Display Contest – or Run Your Own.
Every July, the California Table Grape Commission (aka “Grapes from California”) throws its great grape display contest for retailers. Learn more at the Grapes from California retailer page. But even if you miss the contest, grape displays are proven to boost grape sales.
2. Go BIG.
When you do run your grape display, go big! Market research shows the size of your display makes a measurable sales difference.
As picture above, one of our retail customers in New Zealand uses signage and display materials provided by Jasmine Vineyards. Interested in obtaining POS materials for your own displays? Contact us!
3. Promote California Grown.
According to a 2019/20 U.S. Attitude and Usage Tracking Study, 92% of those surveyed would choose fresh grapes from California over imported grapes when priced the same. If California grapes were priced higher, 73% of those surveyed would still choose California over imported grapes. Since 99% of all table grapes are produced in California, promoting California Grown helps solidify this consumer preference in the produce aisle.
Badges like Jasmine Vineyards’ “Grown in California” and the California Table Grape Commission’s “Grapes from California” are visual reminders to incentivize shoppers to purchase California-grown produce.
A year of promoting food safety
This year, in addition to promoting the health benefits of grapes, Jasmine Vineyards is taking extra steps to help retailers and consumers feel safe buying fresh produce. Among these are:
How can we help your team promote fresh produce sales and food safety this year? Write or give us a call anytime to discuss: (661) 792-2141.
The 2nd Annual Central Valley Pruning Competition took place Saturday, January 25 in Shafter, California. Organized by the California Farmworker Foundation (CFF), the event draws hundreds to cheer on highly skilled competitors armed with pruning shears and fierce determination. The event was also televised on Fresno Telemundo.
And the winners are…
- Veronica Gonzalez of Four Star Fruit & Omar Meza of Fowler Packing
- Sonia Arredondo of Jasmine Vineyards & Victor Cervantes of Jasmine Vineyards
- Marisol Lopez of Fowler Packing & Jesus Sanchez of Jasmine Vineyards
Sonia, Victor and Jesus earned 3 of the top 6 spots in the competition. Go Team Jasmine!