The ruling in the Fresh Del Monte versus Del Monte Food Co. case has me thinking about what belongs on the shelves in the produce department.
Does preserved, packaged fruit belong next to the fresh-cut fruits, vegetables and snack trays? What about juice? And nuts? If not in produce, where?
There was a great article in the Wall Street Journal back in October, “A Food Fight in the Produce Aisle,” that took on this subject as well. Produce is the entry point for many retailers, and many impulse buys fare better earlier in the shopping trip when the kids are still in high spirits (read: not tantruming) and the budget isn’t spent.
I talk to a lot of marketers who justify their presence in the produce department, saying their product sells better because their core consumers look to produce for items that align with a healthy lifestyle. Snack nuts, dried fruit, juice and the like fit in produce for these reasons, they say.
What about tofu and cheese substitutes? These items are in a lot of produce departments I’ve seen. I’m guessing it’s because those consumers likely are vegetarians who also buy a lot of produce? Or maybe they’re vegans who don’t want to venture into the dairy aisle for their cheese-like substitutions?
I’m not saying complementary items don’t belong in produce. Cross-promotions like bananas with those little vanilla cookies make sense for a nice feature. Vegetable dip seems an obvious pair next to some cut broccoli, carrots or cauliflower. I’ve even seen cool displays including limes, beer and charcoal, and I applaud their creativity.
And where but in produce would you stock refrigerated salad dressing?
I go back and forth on what “belongs” in the produce department, and can make a case for just about anything except maybe shampoo, though I’m sure someone out there could find a way.
What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.