When consumers are asked what’s most important to them when shopping for produce, one of the most frequent responses you’ll hear is freshness. Our own consumer research showed this, as we asked 1,000 self-identified apple eaters for the most important traits they look for when shopping for apples. Neck-and-neck for the lead was freshness and overall look (which is also a sign of freshness).
Not only is freshness quite possibly the most important motivator for consumers when it comes to selecting produce, but the demand for fresher fruits and veggies continues to climb even higher. A great example of retailers recognizing this trend is Walmart’s recent announcement that they’ll offer a fresh produce guarantee – any U.S. consumer not happy with the freshness of their produce can receive a full refund, no questions asked!
Some other chains, such as Safeway, offer similar guarantees, but Walmart’s is particularly notable as they’re the largest grocery retailer in the world. For a company whose produce department makes around $15 billion in annual sales, this is a massive commitment. It’s not one they’d make lightly, and it doesn’t stop there. They’ve also pledged to enact weekly third-party quality checks, initiate a new produce training program for 70,000 of their employees, develop quality guides and reduce transit time.
Clearly there’s an insatiable demand for the freshest produce possible. It’s the reason that consumers put the appearance of fruit above all else and a big part of the reason up to 30% of produce never even makes it off the farm, never mind what’s lost through handling along the supply chain and at the retail level.
No matter the taste, volume or nutrition of a fruit or veggie, it won’t get purchased if it doesn’t look fresh and enticing. That’s one of the reasons that nonbrowning Arctic® apples can have such a large impact on both consumers’ willingness to buy apples, and on apple producers’ bottom lines by significantly reducing food waste. These benefits both support OSF’s paramount goal – to get more people eating more apples!