Checkout errors can be costly

11/05/2013 04:10:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Packaging such as bags or wrapped items is also available.

It depends on what retailers choose to do.

“There are all sorts of things we can do. It’s just a matter of customizing the retail unit to the wishes of the retailers,” Wowryk said.

Paul Newman, organic salesman at Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, Wenatchee, Wash., said some stores have started to use color codes for organic produce.

“Yellow has become kind of a general color ... for individual apples,” he said.

However, Newman said Safeway has started to add an another pink sticker to organic items as an additional way to prevent mistakes at the counter.

Scannable stickers are also gaining popularity.

“It just makes it a lot easier on the checkers. Even smaller grocery stores often go with a scanner,” Newman said.

The consumer side

Not all mistakes come from errors. Sometimes consumers are the culprits.

Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Frieda’s Specialty Produce, Los Alamitos, Calif., said she has heard stories of consumers who remove the organic stickers from bananas to pass them off as their cheaper conventional cousins.

Still, she said she has seen retailers be very diligent on the issue

“That’s why you might see organic product with a label that goes all the way around the product to prevent its removal,” she said.

“I think retailers are becoming pretty savvy. They know if they purchase 10% of their bananas as organic and 99% are going through the front register as conventional, it doesn’t mean the organic product isn’t selling,” Caplan said.


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