Consumers are looking for values, and retailers have to respond, McGowan said.
“There’s obviously a big focus on fresh departments in the traditional supermarkets, particularly in light of the more specialized retailers coming to the market in a bigger way,” he said.
Where values are concerned, this year could be a buyer’s market, said Peter John Condakes, president of Chelsea-based wholesaler Peter Condakes Co. Inc., which specializes in tomatoes.
“My sense — and this is going to sound pessimistic — there’s big-time oversupply on a lot of different items,” he said. “Demand is absolutely not keeping up with supply.”