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Interview with Serena Marilungo and Andrea Cialone of the Dem chain

The fruit and vegetable department determines consumer preference for the store and drives the sales

The shelf placement of fruit and vegetables in the shops, as well as the key role played by innovation to increase consumption, are some of the topics that emerged from the interview of FreshPlaza to Andrea Cialone, marketing manager of Dem Supermarkets, Serena Marilungo, fruit and vegetable manager at the Ciliegie shop of Dem Supermarkets.

"An innovative, well-thought-out, well-conceived fruit and vegetable department, with fruit and vegetable products presented like pieces of art, is something that makes a positive impression on the consumer. According to an analysis of purchasing habits, customers pay a lot of attention to the fruit and vegetable department and, based on how it is presented, they choose their preferred supermarket. To win them over, therefore, our code words are freshness of the product, communication and innovation,' stresses Andrea Cialone.

Serena Marilungo (pictured below) adds: 'The customer needs fresh produce and is often very careful about the sell-by dates on the bags of the ready-to-eat references, because the shopping experience has changed, and many are not able to do it every day. So, in addition to guaranteeing fresh produce, we try to enhance the fruit and vegetables by creating retail displays and placing them in strategic locations in the sales outlet.

"In addition to participating in contests that suppliers often organize, we propose new installations on a weekly basis linked to the seasonality of the product, to anniversaries. We promote products by telling the customer about lesser-known aspects of that product, such as its origins and how it has been grown. We don't make set-ups to sell products that otherwise would not have been sold."

"Serena, with retail displays that are real pieces of art," explains Cialone, "tries to intrigue the customer by proposing the fruit and vegetable references in an innovative and unusual way. When customers choose these products several times a day, placing them in their shopping trolleys, Serena rearranges the displays to keep them tidy at all times. We are certainly not the only ones in the industry to offer such choreographies inside the shop, but the ones we offer are the result of the hard work and creative genius of our operators. Our retail displays provide a service to the customer, because they often describe the origins of a given product, highlight and enhance it, suggest its use in the kitchen, and in this way inform and enable us to interact with it.”

These types of displays, in short, are a peculiarity of Dem Supermarkets. But what is their inspiration?

Serena responds as follows: "Every display created in Dem shops is the result of the work of the operators who produce it. For example, with the melannurca Campana Igp, I was inspired by the apple tree, which tells the story of the particular ripening process of this fruit, while with the Melinda brand apple I was inspired by Fellini's film 'La Dolce Vita', which is linked to the concept of the sweetness of the fruit. Among other things, I also try to propose combinations with other foodstuffs or with other fruit and vegetable references and spices in my displays."

Serena Marilungo, who has a cultural and artistic background, concludes by saying: "I have been creating fittings for about six years now in the Dem di Ciliegie shop, and I do this with a lot of love and passion, thanks also to the support of a company that is like a family. It takes into account the wellbeing of its workers, takes care of and values its human resources, and this is not taken for granted in companies of a certain scale, like the one I work for. It is this serene and constructive environment that motivates and encourages us to do more and more for the growth of our retail group. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the owners.”

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