Retail photo ban rapidly becoming a relic - The Packer

Retail photo ban rapidly becoming a relic

12/21/2012 11:15:00 AM
Tom Karst

But the truth of the matter is that ironclad prohibitions of photos inside the produce department/supermarket are over.

Consumers are sharing their world with the Twitterverse, their Facebook friends and Pinterest pals.

If they see an awesome display of pomegranates, they may be likely to shoot the picture and upload it on the spot.

Consumer empowerment comes not only from smart phone technology and social media networks.

Supermarkets and produce marketers themselves have kicked open the door for use of smartphones in stores by creating QR codes displays that consumers are supposed to scan, to take consumers to a video about the grower or a coupon that can be used on that very same shopping trip.

No, the idea that supermarkets are going to stop pictures of the produce department in the store is a bygone assumption.

While the image of someone taking out their smartphone/camera in the produce department may raise the hair on the neck of produce department managers, they will think twice before they stop the consumer.

Is that mom scanning the QR code or shooting a picture of the sweet corn? Is that middle-aged man checking e-mail or snapping the price on pumpkins?

Hard and fast distinctions can no longer be made.

It is likely that supermarkets won’t change their “no photo” policy, whether now or in a decade.

But consumers, with their smartphones at the ready to scan QR codes and tweet about an amazing sale on Honeycrisp apples, won’t bother to ask for permission.


The Packer will again recap the year’s top stories in the Dec. 31 issue, but I posed the question of “What is the top produce story of 2012?” to the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group, and the poll question, at, found a virtual dead heat through Dec. 13.

The top answers were the failed PMA/United merger and the Mexican/U.S. tomato dispute.

I suppose the fact that industry folks have trouble seeing eye to eye created plenty of industry news in 2012, and that truism will probably hold in 2013 as well.


What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.

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Nicole Frey    
Los Angeles  |  December, 26, 2012 at 04:12 PM

I was escorted by 2 large security guards out of a grocery store in Germany. When I was asked to stop taking pictures of the produce and meat department, my response was: "What, are you the sausage police?" I truly thought they were kidding. They didn't think it was funny.

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