ALEXANDRIA, Va. – On this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “Selling More Fresh Produce in Convenience Stores,” NACS hosts Jeff Lenard and Carolyn Schnare discuss what convenience stores can do to grow fresh produce sales with Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Produce Association, and Kristen Catalani Small, director of convenience store sales at Del Monte Fresh Produce.
“Consumers are looking for fresh convenience,” Stenzel said. Convenience stores that have “the ability to deliver fresh produce and other fresh foods” feed that need. Many groups have noticed a difference in what convenience stores are carrying, especially in the fresh fruit and vegetable category. NACS has partnered with United Fresh to teach retailers and distributors how to display and stock fresh produce, including ways to add value for the consumer, such as with precut selections and packaging options.
Convenience stores “are still training customers to realize that there are fresh, healthy products in a c-store—that’s still a very foreign concept to a lot of people,” Catalani Small said. The challenge is getting customers to notice the fresh produce and to buy it at a convenience store. Convenience stores need to “figure out how to bundle different products and how to sell that without creating something that’s not targeting one specific consumer,” she said.
For example, fresh-cut fruit and different size options open retailers up “to a whole new marketplace,” said Stenzel. “The industry on the produce side has risen to the occasion to really understand convenience in a different way” with these types of adjustments to selling produce.
Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. The podcast can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play and other podcast apps, and at www.conveniencematters.com. Episodes have been downloaded by listeners more than 48,000 times in more than 95 countries.