“This trend is really about traditional items presented differently,”Pitsikoulis explains. “Grapes in stand-up pouches, different sizes and weights for bulk, and prepacked and ready-to-eat are all part of it. These help retailers differentiate their offerings from competitors and meet the wants of their core customers.”
Consumers want fresh, local (when possible), and convenience as needed, but they also want environmentally-friendly packaging and higher-quality produce at reasonable prices. “We see some consumer confusion, because they want pesticide-free, organic produce, but they will buy it in a plastic bag,” Gosselin contends. “However, more and more, consumers are demanding that packaging is made from recycled materials, and can be recycled after use.” Currently, she notes, “There are also compostable packages made from corn.”
A number of positively-themed, widely distributed advertising campaigns have contributed to increased consumption of fruits and vegetables in the region. The QPMA’s “I Love 5 to 10” fresh produce-serving initiative is still going strong after a decade.
“We’ll continue the campaign for another year, and are considering what the next campaign might be,” states Gosselin, who says the organization has been concentrating on its website and social media initiatives, including its Facebook page. She notes QPMA is also working on raising consumer awareness about fresh fruits and vegetables through direct-to-consumer surveys that discuss various food items and healthy eating habits.