Key ways to win with produce, even in tight spaces

Consultant Chris Yli-Luoma highlights how to boost sales in your produce department

With an increasing focus on fresh food, produce is a grocer’s chance to shine, said consultant Chris Yli-Luoma, speaking at the Grocery Innovation Canada conference in Toronto last week.  “Fresh produce is all about delighting the senses,” she told attendees. “The best produce displays get me thinking about having a dinner party.”

Providing examples from produce sellers around the world, Yli-Luoma highlighted some key ways to boost sales in your produce department, even when space is at a premium.

Get a second opinion: have someone outside of the department take a walk through your produce section to give you their impressions; you’ll be amazed at the things you never noticed.

Put your best fruit first: make sure your best quality items are front and centre to entice shoppers, and have staff dedicated to culling and replenishing displays often.

Commit to quality: offer to replace or refund a customer for any produce they deem substandard to show your commitment to freshness; partner with a good supplier that understands what you want to achieve.

Take a multi-level approach: stacking your produce vertically can help you display more produce in tight spaces; baskets of varying sizes on various levels are another way to fit more (when you get bored of them, fill and package them as gift baskets).

Opt for visual appeal: Provide colour contrasts such as lemons with dill or mushrooms with parsley; display your herbs in bunches instead of packages for texture and a further sense of freshness; switch things up with burlap and paper bags to hold produce, or use something as simple as tissue paper.

Let them try before they buy: Even in a small space, offer trays or bowls of your tastiest products for sampling (make sure there are toothpicks and a garbage nearby).

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