“Bags add a tremendous amount of cost,” he said. “At the retail level you’re looking at 30%-35% more to the average consumer.”
Instead of looking at convenient bags to grab the consumer dollar, Yager said retailers could offer value by carrying different sizes of asparagus.
“What about the customer that wants to buy extra large or jumbo?” he said, “or the customer that likes the really thin ones they can never find?”
Retailers could still use bags to differentiate products, he said.
“Why not carry one size loose and another size bagged?”
The convenience of bagged produce isn’t lost on organic shoppers, said Earl Herrick, owner of Earl’s Organic Produce in San Francisco’s terminal market.
“Some people feel organic is like some foreign planet until they see it marketed in a familiar way such as bags or clamshells,” Herrick said.
Leo Rolandelli, president of Jacobs, Malcolm and Burtt Inc. in the San Francisco market, said he has the opposite problem.
Only one of the wholesaler and distributor’s major retail accounts, Costco, has requested bagged asparagus in recent years.
“Nobody else has really caught on because of the cost,” Rolandelli said.
“So far, it’s not as popular as I thought it would be.”