“From our perspective, we’re seeing in the marketplace more than ever is two separate camps: the corporate types, who have no need for little independents like us and are more and more gobbling up businesses like us, and our camp, small companies still trying to maintain in the marketplace,” said Paul Piazza Sr., president of Minneapolis-based Minnesota Produce Inc.
Retail shopping patterns have changed, too, with this past year’s slumping economy.
“People are shying away from more expensive food items,” said Adam Gamble, general manager of the North Country Produce division of distributor Russ Davis Wholesale, Inver Grove Heights. “Some retailers are going to smaller size fruit, better price points.”
Discount retailers are gaining market share, Gamble said.
“People selling the most inexpensive produce are selling the most,” Gamble said. “We hope that trend slows down by the end of the year.”
As a wholesaler, North Country Produce has expanded its offerings to appease the demand for lower-priced items.
“We’ve had to bring in a broader range of sizes and price points of products for cost demand,” Gamble said. “We have a very broad range of customers, different categories of retailers.”