Progressive Grocer

JAN 2017

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January 2017 | | 89 Fresh Food Produce Munching Mania Fruit and vegetable snacking could be the key to a healthier America. By Jennifer Strailey A s consumers increasingly turn to fruit and vegetable snacking as part of a healthy lifestyle, grocers have an opportunity to boost sales with a variety of convenient products like sliced apples, easy-peel citrus, and mini tomatoes and peppers. Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, for one, has begun offering free fresh fruit to kids while they shop with their parents, who may peruse the grocery store chain's expanded selection of fruit and vegetable snacks. "In response to the grow- ing popularity of convenience-oriented produce offerings, we have introduced 'healthy snack- ing' displays within the produce departments in a majority of our supermarket locations," notes Jannah Jablonowski, Giant Eagle spokeswoman. "ese displays make it easier for customers to shop value-added and convenience items, and they have resonated well with Giant Eagle customers. Offerings in the healthy snacking section are often promoted in-store with shelf tags." Snacking Surge "Snacking trends are incredibly important to the produce industry," asserts Victoria Nuevo-Celeste, of Pasadena, Calif.-based Sun Pacific. "Accord- ing to Nielsen, fruit and vegetable snacks are the second-largest snack category." Nielsen's "Share of Snacking Product Dollars Across the Store" report found that fruit and vege- table snacks represent 24.9 percent of the category, just behind salty snacks, at 25.1 percent. "All signs point to produce snacking continuing to grow as consumers continue to lead busy, on- the-go lives, but are also more health-conscious," says Nuevo-Celeste. "Snacking is a trend that is here to stay — for so many reasons," affirms Joan Wickham, direc- tor of communications for Sunkist Growers, in Valencia, Calif. "In today's busy lifestyle, consumers are looking for convenience," continues Wickham. "More and more, people are eating smaller meals and snacks throughout the day instead of the traditional three meal parts. At the same time, consumers are also looking for ways to eat cleaner and healthier foods — fresh produce fits the bill for this." Sunkist is working to educate consumers about citrus snacking in general, and lesser-known vari- eties specifically. "Cara Cara oranges, as an example, pack a nutritious punch with 20 percent more vitamin C and nearly 30 percent more vitamin A than regular oranges," explains Wickham. "What's more, they are deliciously sweet and a pretty pink color due to the natural presence of lyco- pene, a powerful antioxidant." In response to the growing popularity of convenience- oriented produce offerings, we have introduced 'healthy snacking' displays within the produce departments in a majority of our supermarket locations." —Jannah Jablonowski, Giant Eagle

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