CERRITOS, Calif. — Emerging retail trends and the Produce Marketing Association’s goal of increasing produce consumption topped the agenda for PMA president Cathy Burns when she spoke at the La Mirada, Calif.-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council luncheon April 23.

PMA president examines retail trendsAddressing retail trends, Burns said, “The U.S. is overstored.”

From 1995 to 2012, supermarket sales grew by 43%, while square footage grew by 69%.

She said non-traditional channels continue to gain prominence at the expense of traditional ones.

“Everyone’s competing for share of stomach,” she said.

It’s projected that by 2025, online shopping will account for 10.4% of sales.

High-end niche markets and price-oriented stores “will continue to win,” she said, while those in the middle will struggle to differentiate themselves.

Three major trends are shaping the consumer landscape.

“Shopping patterns are shifting,” she said.

Shoppers are trading off big-order shopping trips for smaller trips for fewer items.

There’s “a real economic divide” consisting of “selectionists,” with annual incomes over $50,000, who will account for 34% of the population by 2025, and “survivalists” who have made substantial cutbacks over the years and are looking for value, she said.

“The population is getting older, and there continues to be more and more ethnic diversity,” Burns said. “Of the 115 million households that we’ll have by 2025, 82 million will still be Caucasian,” but the growth of Hispanic, African-American and Asian populations will be “pretty significant.”

The average shopping trip has dropped to about 13 minutes, with two minutes spent “navigating,” two minutes at checkout and five minutes in the perimeter departments, including produce.

The average “full-stock” trip is about 26 minutes.

Turning to PMA’s goal of increasing consumption, Burns said, “We are losing the war as it relates to children and their health.”

“We have got to think about marketing differently to children.”

She touted PMS’s $100,000 commitment to salad bar programs, which she characterized as a “huge opportunity to change the eating habits of our kids across the country.”

She talked about PMA’s alliance with the Partnership for a Healthier America and Sesame Workshop.

Under the program, PMA members and others in the industry can use Sesame Street characters to market fresh fruits and vegetables for two years royalty free, although there is an administrative fee.

She cited on-pack possibilities, in-store options and a marketing kit that describes themed, year-round and customized promotions.

Burns said the Ad Council also has expressed an interest in joining the partnership.