Core value-added produce shoppers — those who buy fresh-cut often or whenever possible — tend to fall into several categories important to retailers.
The Food and Marketing Institute found that 47% of core value-added shoppers have a six-figure household income, 47% make three or more shopping trips a week, and 43% order produce online, according to the 2019 Power of Produce report.
In addition, 40% of core value-added buyers are also core local buyers, and 36% are also core organic buyers.
“Core value-added shoppers are interesting to retailers, with above-average spending and weekly trips,” FMI wrote in the report. “Much like seen in organic, the presence of children is a point of entry, particularly among high-income shoppers. In urban areas, expanded assortment is likely to do well, including organic value-added assortment and kid-focused solutions.”
Two years ago, 20% of shoppers fell into that category. Now the number is 28%.
“Despite the increase in purchase frequency, there is significant room for growth, with 64% of shoppers being occasional users, at best,” FMI wrote. “Overall, value-added users skew toward higher-income shoppers, older millennials, often with young kids living at home.”
The core value-added shoppers reported several variables that would prompt them to purchase more — better prices (57%), longer shelf-life (39%), greater assortment (39%), greater variety of flavors (36%) and better organic offering (32%).
Many consumers who land in the category of sometimes buying value-added produce are Gen X (47%). Within that periphery group, 49% percent eat fresh fruits and vegetables 4-5 days a week, 47% make two trips a week, and 47% have a household income of less than $35,000.
For that shopper segment, key triggers to buy more were better prices (63%) and longer shelf-life (37%), according to the report.
Among consumers who hardly ever value-added produce, many are baby boomers (37%), limited-assortment shoppers (31%), two-person households (33%) and people who eat produce less than three times a week (35%).
In that group, 58% said better prices would prompt them to buy more, but 17% said they were unlikely to buy more regardless of changes made.
Growth on the horizon
While value-added produce has been increasingly popular, it still only accounts for roughly $2.7 billion in sales, a fraction of overall produce sales.
However, the category continues to grow, and consumers report that they plan to buy even more in the coming years.
“Up from 23% in 2017, 28% of shoppers expect to purchase more value-added produce items in the upcoming year,” FMI wrote in the report. “Purchase growth expectations are driven by current core consumers who expect to purchase even more value-added items than they do now.
“However, even 22% of periphery shoppers expect to purchase more in the coming year — signaling likely continued growth in household penetration and purchase frequency that have been fueling growth in the past few years,” FMI wrote.
Core value-added shoppers — 28% of consumers, per the report — may be willing to buy more if presented with a broader assortment, different flavors and special offerings like local and organic, according to the report.
Price is the top barrier across all shopper segments, however.
“Sales promotions, whether item-specific or meal (buy-one-get-one offers), may allow current non-buyers to experience the convenience of value-added produce, and current buyers to increase their purchase frequency,” FMI wrote.