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Big ideas from the Big Easy

A tour of the Fresh Market in New Orleans brings some great produce merchandising ideas

It is fascinating to me to see how grocery retailers display their wares and seduce me into making a purchase. I’m one of those who actually like to go browsing in the aisles so when I was in New Orleans, passing by in a trolley car, I had to get off and check out The Fresh Market.

As I wandered around in the produce section five items caught my attention:

1. Heirloom pumpkins at $6.99 each. I have heard of heirloom apples and tomatoes but have not given pumpkin much thought.

2. A papaya halved and offered up with quarters of fresh lime overwrapped in plastic. A perfect way for someone to purchase one when they aren’t ready to commit to a full- size papaya - they often are so large. The succulent flesh one made this one look delicious. 

3. Generous vegetable grilling kits including asparagus, sliced red onion, quartered peppers, squash, zuchinni, portabello mushroom and a marinade of sorts.

4. Kiwifruit being sold by weight versus by piece.  I’ve been peddling kiwifruit since the mid-80s when I was a junior account executive at a public relations agency in Toronto.  They were so very expensive at the time and they were sold by the piece.  They still are being sold by the piece. Sometimes I think one has to relook their pricing strategies so I found it refreshing to see that they were selling kiwifruit by weight.

5.Self-branded wooden crates being used to build the displays. The wood just speaks to me of sustainability and reliability – “we are going to be here for a long time” is what I see.

    The Fresh Market’s beautiful white-washed building first caught my attention as we were passing by on the trolley car. Then was when I spied, off in the distance, the produce outside.

    It was time for me to go and check it out, much to the reluctance of the person I was travelling with, who was keen on going to the cemetery we are aiming for. The Garden District of New Orleans has many gorgeous buildings with deep historic roots.  This used to be a Border book store prior to it becoming a grocer and it had that old south charm to it.  I took quick peek on Yelp and saw that most people were giving The Fresh Market  four or five stars (five stars being the highest rating).  Many compared the Fresh Market to a smaller version of a Whole Foods store.

    Inside it was warm, welcoming and I very much enjoyed exploring this two level store.

    For more photos, check-out this online

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