Pre-bagged produce proves popular during pandemic
Products that were surefire sellers three weeks ago are suddenly unpopular as the threat of coronavirus temporarily rewrites what many consumers think of as convenient — and even safe — to buy. Fresh produce sales have been impacted by coronavirus fears, leading retailers to focus on promoting hermetically sealed alternatives.
Promotion is down as a whole, but those retailers that are promoting produce are pushing pre-bagged products, according an article written by Tom Karst, editor-in-chief of The Packer. Mr. Karst identifies some probable drivers of the promotional shift, including grocers recognizing that customers:
- Perceive pre-bagged options to be more convenient — appealing to a customer desire to reduce the number of grocery trips and buy in bulk, rather than bagging individual fruits and vegetables;
- Believe the products to be safer — due to concerns over coronavirus-infected staff picking fruit and vegetables or product being in the vicinity of sick customers in the store.
In keeping with this trend, produce supplier Stemilt reported an increase in the popularity of its bagged apples and pears, in particular larger bags, with the onset of the coronavirus epidemic, according to Supermarket Perimeter. A representative notes that the bagged items are branded to meet a grab-and-go need, which may be especially appealing to first-time online grocery shoppers. Pre-bagged produce also offers advantages to store staff as they allow for quicker restock of displays and quicker scanning at checkout.
This is not the first instance in which the unusual parameters imposed on shoppers by the coronavirus pandemic have led to noteworthy shifts in buying behavior.
Most obviously, from the outset of the pandemic, online grocery shopping and curbside pickup have experienced increased adoption.
Outside of grocery, chains including Best Buy have experienced surges in customers ordering supplies and technology as social distancing requirements have led to a huge increase in people working from home, reports The Verge. White goods that allow for food storage likewise have experienced a spike in sales due, presumably, to people needing places to store amassed food.
- Strange days in retail promotions: bagged produce winning – The Packer
- Stemilt sees shift to pre-bagged produce amid COVID-19 – Supermarket Perimeter
- Best Buy moves to curbside pickup only as it sees surge in orders for home office equipment – The Verge
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think the current popularity of bagged fruits and vegetables will continue to grow after the coronavirus pandemic has ended? What other types of products are likely to become more popular with American consumers post-pandemic than they were before?