Retail branding gives your customers something to remember you by. While the fresh produce industry hasn’t always put a lot of emphasis on creating retail brands, this is changing rapidly. In fact, branded produce sales in the fresh produce sector are expected to reach almost US$7 billion by 2018 (a growth of $1.4 billion from 2013). So why the shift and why now?
The fresh produce industry is growing, and to meet this demand, more fresh fruit and vegetable providers are entering the market. To stand out, companies and growers are turning to branding to communicate value to their customers and differentiate themselves in a crowded market.
There are also a number of demographic and societal factors that are changing the way consumers shop for products. In this article we explore four consumer trends that are driving fresh produce suppliers to differentiate themselves from their competitors, as well look at the Rockit Apple story to see how their particular brand strategy helped expand their consumer base to a number of different countries.
1. Healthy eating
Consumers are getting more and more health-conscious, and they’re putting a lot of consideration into what they put into their bodies. As we make the shift towards healthier eating, fresh produce has overtaken processed foods as the first choice of consumers, and are even marketing themselves in spaces that are normally dominated by junk and fast food. Consumers are also willing to pay a premium for better quality produce and organic.
Even though consumers are demanding healthier food options, it doesn’t mean they are ready to do so at the expense of convenience.
In the past, food that was considered ‘convenient’ was often processed, but with more and more of us ditching the snack food for fruit and vegetables, there’s a huge amount of value being placed on produce that is already packed, ready to go. These convenience items are commanding significant price premiums too, costing anywhere from 25 – 200% more than related bulk items.
Consumers expect the same availability of fruit and vegetables as they would with any fast-moving consumer good – and that means fresh produce providers need to be able to supply their product 365-days a year, whether it be in season or not.
Availability is important for produce providers to drive business – if a brand can’t provide consumers with produce, they risk losing them to another brand or produce type entirely.
4. Safety and provenance
Consumers want to know that the produce they are buying is safe, especially as globalization sees produce being transported across the world to meet the consumer trend for availability. This is a big opportunity for branded produce, as they can clearly label the origin of the produce and guarantee the safety of the produce to maintain , protec and enhance its brand promise.
While the safety and provenance trend is the biggest opportunity for a fresh produce supplier, it can also be the biggest risk if a supplier fails to meet that brand promise.
Rockit Apple uses consumer trends and branding to solidify their place in the market
It’s no secret the way we are buying food is changing, in all sectors. We all have different reasons for choosing one grower’s products over another’s – often based on freshness, taste, quality, consistency, availability.
Rockit Apple knew that to stand out in a crowded market, they needed to provide consumers with additional value that other packhouses were not. By answering consumer demand for fresh, healthy food that was also convenient, Rockit Apple was able to find their niche in a crowded market.
They began packaging fresh, prewashed apples in a convenient tube that shoppers could grab in a hurry and eat straight away. Better yet, their apples are snack-size, sweet and have a distinctive bright red coloring, small core and fantastic crunch. By answering consumer demand, Rockit Apple gained brand recognition and was soon asked for by name by consumers looking for a healthy snack option on the go.
Since its inception, Rockit Apple has experienced significant growth (250% in one year). And as with any premium brand, delivering on their brand promise is a top priority.
To ensure they deliver a consistent, quality product 365-days of the year, Rockit Apple uses Compac inspection and sorting technology to grade each apple to ensure it meets the standard to be packed into a Rockit tube.