Fresh produce is a key category for every food retailer and, indeed, for every store. Often the first major category that a shopper encounters when embarking on a shopping trip, it can be a bold statement of intent or, sadly, a harbinger of forthcoming mediocrity across the rest of the store.

As a category, fruit & veg has arguably never been so important: it is vital in terms of value perceptions (see the way that discounters use a limited number of items as part of their weekly marketing); it sits at the centre of heath and wellness endeavours; it is in the crosshairs of environmental campaigns around food waste and plastic packaging; and it is one of the main drivers of shopper perceptions. Gap-ridden shelves or second-rate produce are unforgivable sins.
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