With COVID-19 and local social distancing restrictions, summer this year may feel a bit different. In order to help understand consumer sentiment and how it may impact the produce aisle, Frieda’s Specialty Produce commissioned consumer research to help predict shopper behavior and aid retailers in their planning this summer.
The May 2020 survey shows that 56% of consumers say they plan to vacation less and feel less excited about summer than in the past because of social distancing requirements. So, what will consumers be doing to cope?
“Based on our research, we predict that consumers will be looking for small moments of fun and escape, as the new normal takes hold,” says Cindy Sherman, Frieda’s director of marketing. “We like to call these #microescapes. You may not be able to go on vacation, or even out to dinner, but you can turn an afternoon in the backyard into a Polynesian escape with a fresh coconut.”
During times of economic uncertainty, consumers are likely to avoid big expenditures like new cars, but small splurges like a latte or smoothie help keep spirits up. And, grilling at home and picnicking will be in full force, as consumers look to get outside in small social circles and as they have a little extra time on their hands to kick things up a notch.
What does this mean for the grocery store and the produce aisle? Now—more than ever—a variety-driven assortment is key. A treasure-hunt mentality will be strong this summer, as shoppers look for unique items to make their picnics and grilling extra special. Grilling shishito peppers and jackfruit pods, and pairing them with cocktails by the backyard kiddie pool, is the new beachside dining. In lieu of sampling, retailers may want to use a hands-off approach this summer and instead use signage to make these items inviting to try.
Consumers are also turning to tropicals to help them #microescape. Fruit and cheese platters with dragon fruit, rambutan and lychee bring a slice of the exotic to any picnic or kitchen table. Frieda’s recommends taking advantage of this by making sure your tropicals tables are bountiful and enticing to encourage these impulse sales.