About 85 percent of Americans have changed their food habits since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, according to a survey from The International Food Information Council. Among those shifts has been a growing preference for cooking at home instead of dining out (60 percent) and a shift toward healthier eating options (43 percent). Combined, these changes in behavior have driven an increase in demand for produce that has remained consistently higher than the year prior. As back-to-school season comes around, now is the ideal time to bolster produce sales. With timely strategies, retailers can keep this trend going – while also supporting families facing new challenges.
Pineapple sales during the Covid-19 pandemic
Thanks to its vitamin C content, often associated with boosting the immune system, pineapple has enjoyed a boom in sales. Despite a significant drop in orders coming from the food service sector, pineapple producer Chestnut Hill Farms noted a strong increase in purchases from individuals and families. “We saw pineapple sales increase once everyone started spending more time at home,” said Director of Program Sales Jake Kamysz. “People are eating more than just dinner at home, and with children out of school there’s a bigger focus on healthy snacks. There was a significant lift in produce items that are high in vitamin C, which is a category that our pineapples fall into, as well as new-found creativity in the kitchen.”
As American families enter a new phase of the pandemic, with August bringing the return to school for many children, retailers can take steps to keep this focus on healthy eating and home cooking top-of-mind for shoppers.
Make eating healthy at home easy
To emphasize the health benefits of produce like pineapple, retailers can take advantage of helpful signage as well as strong social media campaigns. Chestnut Hill Farms partnered with Walmart Canada and Costco to share infographics about pineapple’s high vitamin C content. With National Fruits and Vegetables Month coming up in September, there are ample opportunities to feature this tropical fruit with educational materials, including tips to select the perfect pineapple, methods for chopping it up, and its range of nutritional benefits.
Offer storage solutions
Although fresh produce has seen an increase in demand year-over-year, the frozen sector is currently outpacing them at 27.8 percent – despite frozen foods commonly being sold out or more limited in availability. Retailers can offer fresh fruits and vegetables as an alternative, encouraging shoppers to buy and freeze their own fruit for smoothies and desserts or to meal prep freezable items like stir fry and slow cooker options. Not only does this offer the shelf stability buyers are seeking, but it also can be a more efficient use of time – something that’s vital right now for busy families as children begin to return to school.