Packaged produce has become a staple, but some consumers worry about plastic. The Power of Produce report provides insight into how different demographics feel about packaged produce. ( File Photo )

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Whether shoppers prefer bulk or packaged fruits and vegetables often depends on age, gender and a number of other factors, according to the newest Power of Produce report from the Food Marketing Institute.

FMI debuted its report, which combines data from Nielsen and IRI with consumer survey results, at an education session March 8 at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure.

While 37% of survey respondents prefer picking their own items, 27% prefer all items to be packaged, while 36% said it depends on the item.

Millennials, however, especially those with kids, leaned toward packaged produce.

Forty-four percent of millennials surveyed said they preferred packaged, and that number jumped to 52% for millennials with kids.

Only 20% of Gen X shoppers said they preferred packaged, as did only 19% of respondents who named a supermarket as their primary produce store.

Among those with kids at home, 40% prefer packaged, as do 37% of primary supercenter shoppers and 36% of households with an income of $75,000 or more.

Men also leaned toward packaging -- 37% said they preferred it over picking their own items, compared to just 21% of women.

Forty-one percent of women said they prefer to pick their own items, while 38% said it depends on the item.

FMI found in its survey that shoppers overwhelmingly list being able to see the product as the most important attribute of packaging.

That property is especially critical to boomers, shoppers who will switch channels, and small-town consumers, per the report.

Shelf life is another key consideration, particularly for people who are dedicated value-added buyers, people who make four or more weekly shopping trips, rural consumers, and those who buy local whenever possible.

Sustainable attributes rank lower of the list but are important for certain shopper groups.

“Packaging innovations may address shelf-life, presentation, buying/consumption/cooking ease and the ability to communicate important information to shoppers,” FMI wrote in the report. “With the growing share of fixed weight and processed produce, exploring packaging innovations in core shopper groups may bring competitive advantages.

“Packaging material choices are closely related to brand image and ultimate purchase decisions,” FMI wrote. “For instance, organic shoppers overindex for environmentally-friendly packaging — likely giving organic products with packaging using recycled plastic, recycled paper or wood products an added competitive advantage.”

For more from the report, check out the following articles, and get the full report -- which has many additional insights -- from FMI at www.fmi.org/store/

 
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