Progressive Grocer

SEP 2016

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September 2016 | | 135 themselves," explains Hilowitz. "Consumers are looking for fresh foods wher- ever they shop for groceries, as evidenced by the in- crease in sales and products in the perimeter aisles at most stores," he continues. "Our goal is to give people the freedom to eat healthier, and we want consumers to associate our brand with that desire." Ready Pac offers a host of convenient options, including its most recent introduction: Ready Pac Organic Chopped Salad kits in four flavors: Caesar, Zesty Greek, Kickin' Southwest and Sweet Kale. When it comes to increasing fresh produce sales for the back-to-school occasion and beyond, United Fresh's Coppola recommends that retailers take a two-pronged approach, working both with produce companies to partner on back-to-school campaigns and with communities to educate consumers. Fostering collaborations between supermarket produce managers, school nutritionists and school foodservice directors helps to raise awareness of the health benefits of eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables among children and their families. However, "education shouldn't end when the school bell rings," Coppola adds. Dan Crowley, VP, sales and market- ing for Well-Pict, in Watsonville, Calif., agrees that fresh produce education and information are important year-round. "In order to maximize sales of branded produce, particularly ber- ries, during back-to-school time, it is important for retailers to make clear the year-round availability," he urges. "Parents are enthusiastic about their children starting the upcoming school year right and continuing nutritious eating habits for the duration of the school year. is makes well-stocked berry displays especially important." Cross-merchandising, suggesting recipes and promoting the health ben- efits of berries can also help drive addi- tional sales across the berry category. "Branded produce, especially ber- ries, is significantly important to the fresh produce industry," says Crowley. "Although strawberries tend to see the strongest sales, co-locating strawber- ries with other types of berries in a 'berry patch'-style concept drives impulse purchases and creates a berry destination within the store." On the recipe front, Well-Pict held A Very Berry Breakfast recipe contest this past summer. Consumers were invited to submit origi- nal breakfast recipes that featured Well-Pict straw- berries and/or raspberries, for a chance to compete in the breakfast category of the 2016 World Food Championships. e contest winner will represent Well-Pict at the Championships in Orange Beach, Ala., this November. PG Connect with us to put a top performer in your healthy snacking lineup: [email protected] NATURAL PERFORMANCE *Source: Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts® *Source: Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts®

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