Leverage Trends To Make Summer Produce Feel New Again

As summer lazily meanders into fall, it feels like the bounty of vibrant, plump, and fresh-smelling fruits and vegetables are enough to entice shoppers to eat more. Corn grilled on the backyard barbecue, pear chutney as a side to pork tenderloin, fresh berries with a touch of whipped cream for dessert – just the suggestion makes our mouths water. But the ongoing challenge for retail dietitians is to make the annual bounty of seasonal produce feel new again to shoppers.

While fruits and veggies have their seasons, food and nutrition trends are continually evolving, creating opportunities to encourage shoppers to add one more fruit to the cart or one new vegetable side dish to dinner in new ways and with new messaging. Consider these ideas for tying trends to summer-into-fall produce for higher retail purchases and consumer consumption.

Forage The Grocery Store Campaign
The act of getting out in nature hunting for local greens and berries is increasingly popular. Classes are being offered. Restaurant pop-ups featuring foraged foods are all the rage. Two commonly discussed benefits are increasing the diversity of foods eaten and consuming fruits and vegetables grown locally. Turn this trend into a grocery store campaign by highlighting produce items that are locally sourced and suggesting new varieties of a fruit or veggie that consumers may not purchase as frequently, which drives towards increased consumption diversity. While the Mushroom Council indicates button mushrooms are the most common, for example, showcase recipes and demos on how to use lesser known varieties like porcini, enoki, or shiitake.

Fermenting Summer Produce Classes
Virtual classes continue to perform well in driving shopper engagement and food purchases. Add a class or a series of sessions to your offerings this summer on a continuing consumer trend – fermenting. The class can feature ways to pickle favorites like cucumbers, green beans, and beets to use as holiday gifts later in the year or fermenting sauerkraut or kimchi for the probiotic health benefits. A new twist could be a yogurt-making class. Take time at the end of each class to highlight products and brands in your store that carry the same benefits and remember to include food safety tips as a part of your session.

Produce-Spice Pairings
Subtle spices that build like harissa, warm spices like cardamon and nutmeg, culturally-fused seasonings such as gochujang – flavor exploration is spicing up the home kitchen in 2023. Work with your spice vendors to create perfect pairings with seasonal fruits and veggies to help your shoppers build new consumption habits and go beyond the basic additions. Consider chili lime spice on everything from oranges and watermelon to carrots and corn on-the-cob. Give Cowboy Caviar a Thai twist with thai chili flakes, crushed red pepper, fish sauce, and lime. Suggest savory spice options like rosemary, tarragon, and thyme with sweet fruits like pears. The options are only limited by your own creativity.

A New Kind Of BOGO
While buy-one-get-one offers are common in the retail space, we’re suggesting a new kind of BOGO – buy-one-give-one for canned foods. Work with your merchants, canned fruit and veg suppliers, and philanthropic arm of your retailer to develop the campaign where for every canned fruit or vegetable purchased, your retailer will donate one to a local food pantry to stock their shelves for the fall months. Add recipes and tips created by your RD team and promote the offer through social and digital.

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