It is time to accept the fact that the consumer has no more idea about how to choose fruits and vegetables.
Housewives haven’t got the same supports to make the right choice as they had up to one or two generations ago.
On the contrary, we can almost say that what once helped, now causes confusion.
Taste: you cannot taste the produce at superstores.
Colour: new varieties are developed to have attractive colours that do not necessarily have a correlation with quality.
Aroma: many fruits don’t smell.
Seasonality: Most consumers have no idea about the real seasonality of fruits and vegetables, while producers are trying to extend seasons.
Tips: only few specialized fruit sellers have the right expertise to help consumers in their choice.
Another element causing confusion is that the price has no correlation with quality.
When a product is in the middle of the season it is often at the best of its quality and at the minimum of its price. On the contrary, a product with questionable quality (e.g. because too early harvested) can be offered at higher prices because of the low availability.
A consumer who can pay high prices for high quality products is never completely sure that this is the right strategy.
So, the consumer walks perplexed among the shelves, he looks, he thinks, but in the end he doesn’t know how to choose.
Why do we keep on showing produce only in the fruit and vegetable department, as if this could support the consumer to choose?
All consumers buy eggs, pasta, soft drinks, milk, cheese without watching the product. They look at packaging, brand, graphics, nutrition information. And that’s enough.
Why is it enough?
Because they trust the brand. They know that Barilla, Galbani and Coca-Cola will not disappoint them.
Because they find the information they are looking for on the packaging, not inspecting the product.
It is time for fruit and vegetables sellers (producers and retailers) to take on their own responsibilities and completely guarantee product quality.
The consumer should not be spoilt for choice. We have to give him a product so guaranteed that he can feel free to buy it like a pig in a poke. And when, satisfied, he comes back to the store, he will find quicker what he’s looking for.
In addition, we will have the opportunity to enrich the packaging with pictures of places where the fruit grows, producers who have harvested it and colours that talk to the consumer.
Or simply make something new, beautiful, funny, original, attractive, different.
Originally published on Linkedin on 03/08/2017.
Selene Caragnano · 30 September 2017