Rising demand for fresh-cut fruit presents opportunities for regional processors
Consumer interest in healthy lifestyles presents a great opportunity for produce processors, particularly in the growing market for fresh-cut fruit. Driving the increased demand among consumers is a desire for consistency, convenience and reduced waste. Knowledgeable regional processors are uniquely positioned to meet growing demand.
A successful fresh-fruit program focuses on a product line with items that address a region’s tastes. Those products are sourced, handled and cut in a way that maximizes quality, taste and texture while being visually appealing. Products are presented in attractive packaging and moved in a distribution system that addresses a retailer’s specific needs in bringing products to market expeditiously. Some retailers can benefit from a direct-store-delivery system while others may have their own distribution system that can bring products to market quickly.
Retailers who we work with have found significant benefits in purchasing fresh-cut fruits from regional processors, especially for the consistency of the product. Our ability to deliver consistent product enables retailers to maintain sufficient stock for consumers.
The challenge for a regional processor, however, is to offer a program to larger retailers who require a national program. Over the years, we have carefully developed a network of regional processors that offer consistent and national coverage to retailers with a national footprint while maintaining a regional product line focus and delivery service performance.
Some retailers who cut products themselves in the “back of the store” have reported that for their produce department employees cutting and packing fruits is secondary to receiving, stocking and maintaining shelves with whole produce. As a result, availability of packed, fresh-cut product, especially during busy times of the year or before holidays when fresh-cut sales opportunities are greatest, is inconsistent.
In those cases, a retailer’s fresh-cut capacity and competencies combined with a program from a quality regional processor with certain specialties may be a good fit.
Ultimately, a successful regional processor will know their market’s tastes and should be in a good position to develop and maintain a product line that offers maximum appeal to their region’s customer base.