The future of fresh.Supermarket operators have bet their money, and in many cases, their future survival on fresh foods. With few exceptions, supermarkets are trying to differentiate themselves and give shoppers the image of quality fresh products. Even Wal-Mart, through its supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, is trying to portray more of a fresh food image to heighten height·en
v. height·ened, height·en·ing, height·ens
1. To raise or increase the quantity or degree of; intensify.
2. To make high or higher; raise.
v.intr. its appeal for the company's core customers, as well as to attract a new cadre (company) CADRE - The US software engineering vendor which merged with Bachman Information Systems to form Cayenne Software in July 1996. of fresh food-oriented consumers.
Will the reliance on fresh food merchandising work? Can the majority of supermarket companies really present shoppers with quality fresh foods that are any different from other retail alternatives? There comes a time when even a fresh statement can become old hat. The first few supermarket companies in an area to adopt a fresh foods approach pique the interest of the area's consumers, but by the time the second or third tier operators finally get into the fresh foods game, all the cachet cachet /ca·chet/ (ka-sha´) a disk-shaped wafer or capsule enclosing a dose of medicine.
An edible wafer capsule used for enclosing an unpleasant-tasting drug. is gone, even for the market leaders. Sooner or later the pendulum may swing back to where shoppers may go running to the store that offers the greatest variety of canned soup Canned soup is soup that comes packaged in a can. It can be condensed, in which case it is prepared by adding water (or sometimes milk), or it can be ready-to-eat, meaning that it only needs to be warmed. Canned soup can be prepared by heating in a pan or in the microwave. or sells laundry detergent detergent (dētûr`jənt, dĭ–), substance that aids in the removal of dirt. Detergents act mainly on the oily films that trap dirt particles. for 10 cents less.
Fresh foods can be a great way to differentiate a retail operation, but the operator has to keep working very hard at it. It's a quality issue and a creative issue. It's a matter of creative merchandising as well as careful product selection. It needs a constant education process as well as impeccable customer service. These are all crucial elements of a successful fresh foods market. In order to thrive, the operation must offer shoppers the highest quality fresh products possible. Even if the operation is more of a value-oriented, or price-driven store, the quality of the fresh products has to be high. This may mean trading off on a low price point or not offering certain products that can't be sourced at a high quality for the desired price. The retailer still has to offer the best quality possible at the given price point. Product selection in terms of what the store carries can help a value-oriented grocer to maintain a high quality fresh food department without losing the value image.
Running a successful fresh food operation requires a great deal of creativity. Beyond the quality and the product selection, the products that the retailer produces in its bakery or foodservice operations, and the way in which they are presented, merchandised and promoted has to get the consumer interested. The same is true with the selection and merchandising of products in all the fresh food sections, from the dairy case to the meat case to the produce department.
Creativity is the spark that ignites the consumer's imagination. Fresh food is sold through the customer's senses--it's the sight, color, aroma and imagery of the products that sells fresh food. The brain reads labels in the grocery section or looks at the price as a first point of contact with a new center store or nonfoods item. But it's the eyes, nose and even the feel of the fingers that make first contact with a new fresh food.
There are two essential communications elements that help sustain success in a fresh foods environment. Go into any retailer that has a great reputation for fresh foods--whether it is a supermarket chain, or independent, or even a smaller food retailer--and you'll see the staff interacting with the customers. Whether its Wegman's, Whole Foods, West Point Market or Dean and Deluca, all these food retailers have built their businesses around customer service and around educating the customer about the products they sell and how best to enjoy them.
There's a definite positive correlation Noun 1. positive correlation - a correlation in which large values of one variable are associated with large values of the other and small with small; the correlation coefficient is between 0 and +1
direct correlation between a customer's enjoyment of high-quality fresh foods and her craving craving Psychology A strong desire to consume a particular substance–eg of abuse, or food; craving is a major factor in relapse and/or continued use after withdrawal from a substance of abuse and is both imprecisely defined and difficult to measure. for information about those products. Beyond the information and basic customer service, many fresh food customers enjoy having a relationship with their favorite retailer and the people who work there. Whether it is a neighborhood market or a store that draws from a large trading area, the patrons want to be able to ask the produce clerk which melon melon, fruit of Cucumis melo, a plant of the family Curcurbitaceae (gourd family) native to Asia and now cultivated extensively in warm regions. There are many varieties, differing in taste, color, and skin texture—e.g. is ripe for that night's dinner, or deal with a butcher who knows how to cook a roast, or a deli clerk who knows how they like their ham sliced and can offer catering suggestions.
Customer service is the essential ingredient in the fresh food operation. Any point of contact between the store staff and the fresh food customer is an opportunity for the retailer to cement the relationships, and any extra effort in these contacts is an investment in building a long-term customer.