It is no secret that consumer shopping behaviors have changed tremendously in the past year due to the effects of the pandemic on everyone’s day-to-day lives. CarrieAnn Arias of Naturipe Farms offers her perspective on these changes, how Naturipe has responded to them, and the company’s expectations for 2021.
Trends: Health-conscious and snacking
The two main trends observed by Arias and Naturipe are those of increased interest in the snacking category, as well as a bigger emphasis on health and nutrition. Arias explains: “In 2020, we saw a dramatic increase in consumer demand for snacks. Specifically, we saw them become more reliant on the health benefits of nutrient-packed snacks. As a result, we expect the produce snacking category to continue to grow.”
“The consumer focus on health stretches far beyond just the snacking category and is more prevalent now than ever before. Consumers expect their favorite brands and retailers to provide more of the nutritious, immunity-boosting foods they need. The inherent nutritional value and health benefits of fresh produce gives it an edge over other industries. We are seeing sales of fresh fruits and vegetables increase as consumers are more health conscious. With that being said, companies will need to continue to innovate and deliver new offerings to remain competitive in the market,” Arias shares
The new normal for 2021
One of the most important factors currently influencing the retail space is that of the sustained growth of ecommerce. “This trend has accelerated over the last year and consumers are increasingly relying on online applications to grocery shop,” Arias says, adding: “We expect this trend to be the new normal in 2021 and beyond.”
Without the benefit of beautiful and colorful in-store displays to appeal to shoppers and increase purchase intent, marketing fresh produce has become a unique challenge. “Consumers’ physical shopping experience is changing when purchasing produce; there is less exposure to the sensorial experience of fresh fruit and vegetables because they’re shopping in-store less frequently. This physical experience impacts their purchasing decisions and the produce industry relies on this to drive sales. Retailers will rely on continued adjustments to their strategies to drive sales without the physical experience,” Arias explains.
Naturipe in 2021
For Naturipe, specifically, innovation is in the pipeline this year. “We’re always innovating to meet retailer and consumer demand. We have several new initiatives and products in the pipelines for 2021 that we’re extremely excited about. We will continue to expand our berry varieties this year and offer new products in the snacking category. We’re also working to ensure our products are more available for online shoppers. At Naturipe, our number one priority is to offer more of what our retailers and consumers want and need – whether it is additional snacking options or more of the fresh, high-quality and nutritious berries they know and love,” says Arias.
As for their usual berry line-up, the company is expecting solid, steady volumes this year. “The volumes of our berries continue to be as strong as we’ve typically seen in previous years. We expect to see our regular peak seasons for all our berries to continue as normal in the remainder of 2021,” Arias concludes.
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