Today, freshness is one of the main driving factors for grocery store consumers. No longer will consumers be fooled by “fresh” fruits and veggies glistening from produce shelf sprinklers, or satisfied by organic labels alone. Consumers want to know the source of their food.
Business Insider identifies fresh produce as the main incentive for consumers when deciding where to shop for groceries, with 75% using this indicator as the decisive factor. Sixty percent of consumers are concerned with the freshness of their meat, poultry, and seafood, and 35% want to buy their produce and meat local.
Centering the retailer’s food story around freshness and providing tools to assist consumers in making better decisions regarding their health will go a long way with customers. And with new emerging technologies, it’s becoming easier to prove organic and local.
The current standard for determining organic produce, analyzing the stable isotope composition of nitrogen, is not without holes. Lead researcher, Monika Hohmann and her colleagues have been developing a new, more effective method known as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. In the most recent study, the research revealed stark differences between organic and non-organic tomatoes.
With accusations of fraud rampant in organic labeling, consumers have become mistrustful. New methods that certify organic, such as Hohmann’s nuclear resonance spectroscopy might just do the trick for grocers wanting to satisfy discerning customers.
Hannaford uses a star labeling system that indicates the level of nutrition in the products on their shelves. For example, three stars immediately tells the buyer that the product contains the highest level of nutritional value. Harris Teeter uses terms such as “excellent source of fiber” that tells the consumer that that product contains 20% or more of the recommended daily intake. Grocery retailers can use similar systems to denote freshness, organic, and local in their produce and meat selections.
Hannaford also makes it a point to buy local. They offer more than 50 local and organic products from 200 farms in the region with their Close to Home program. To help their customers find local products, they label their items with the Close to Home tag. Each tag provides the name of the city and state where the item was grown or made. Grocers can take it a step further by having certification papers on hand or online for those ultra-skeptical customers. This is something that Fair Trade organizations have adopted with the Fair Trade Proof site. It provides viewable documentation between the Fair Trade organization and the grower so that there is no mistaking where the items came from, or in this case, that the products are Fair Trade certified. Grocery retailers can make use of this simple technology to authenticate locality and freshness.
With the fervent call for organic among consumers (a reported tripling of global market value between 2002 and 2011) grocery retailers have needed to up their organic game or fall down a peg or two on the consumer ladder. Every year consumers have become more skeptical and more discerning, so it’s important for retailers to stay ahead of the game. With the trends and emerging technologies listed above, every grocery retailer should have the tools they need to keep their customers interested and satisfied.
If you’re looking to improve your marketing efforts around freshness, contact Eye Faster for a consultation today.